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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 4 No. 3, p. 347-350
    Received: Nov 5, 1974

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Comparison of Methods for the Determination of Total Phosphorus in Waters Containing Particulate Material1

  1. P. W. O'Connor and
  2. J. K. Syers2



Perchloric acid digestion compared favorably with Na2CO3 fusion for the determination of total P in a range of waters containing varying concentrations of both P and particulate material. The recovery of particulate P by persulfate digestion tended to decrease with increasing particulate material concentration in both natural unfiltered samples and in filtered samples to which particulate material was added. Recovery of added soil particulate P by persulfate digestion also decreased with increasing particle size. Low recovery of P by persulfate digestion was caused by the incomplete extraction of P occluded within oxides and hydrous oxides of iron. Between 58 and 86% of the P not recovered by persulfate digestion was in the inorganic form. Persulfate digestion is not recommended for the determination of total P in waters containing particulate inorganic materials of soil origin. Perchloric acid digestion is considered to be a more suitable method for such samples.

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