Fundamentals of environmental sampling and analysis

Fundamentals of environmental sampling and analysis 

Chunlong Zhang 

Chichester, UK: John Wiley | 2007 | 436pp | ?55.95 (HB) | ISBN 9780471710974 

Reviewed by Steve Hill

This is an interesting and somewhat unusual book in that it attempts to convey a ’know why’ rather than a ’know how’ approach to environmental sampling and analysis. It provides an overview of analytical techniques used for environmental analysis: qualitative and quantitative absorption spectroscopy, atomic absorption and emission, some chromatographic and electrochemical methods and an introduction to mass and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. 

These are preceded by chapters covering sampling design, sampling techniques and a very brief introduction to basic analytical and organic chemistry, some statistics, hydrogeology and even environmental regulations, although this latter section is geared towards the US market.  

To make this wide breadth of material accessible, the author writes in the first person plural which gives the book a rather chatty style that works reasonably well. Reference to real-life case studies also helps put the material in context and some chapters have a ’practical tips’ section, which is a useful feature. However, the book fails to provide very much depth in some areas because of the breadth of material it covers. The reference lists quote other books, instrument company literature and web site material rather than using the primary literature. 

This book is clearly aimed at the undergraduate market. It uses ’Questions and Problems’ sections after each chapter to evaluate the reader’s understanding. It also includes 15 laboratory experiments in the final section - these are well presented and include post-laboratory assignment exercises. There is also a useful series of appendices covering common abbreviations and acronyms, the structure and properties of some organic pollutants, preservation techniques and a few statistical tables. 

Overall it is a useful book, but more advanced readers may be frustrated by the lack of depth and seek a more detailed text.