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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Wet-Combustion Apparatus and Procedure for Organic and Inorganic Carbon in Soil1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 24 No. 1, p. 36-40
    Received: May 26, 1959
    Accepted: July 24, 1959

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  1. L. E. Allison2



A quantitative wet-combustion method for determining organic carbon in soils is described which employs a simple apparatus and a rapid procedure of analysis. All units of the purifying system are mounted on a compact panel which facilitates assembly and storage of the equipment.

Evolved CO2 in a carrier stream is passed successively through traps containing KI, Ag2SO4, concentrated H2SO4, zinc and anhydrone, after which the CO2 is absorbed on Mikohbite in a Nesbitt bulb and determined by weighing. The method determines total (organic plus inorganic) carbon unless any carbonates present in calcareous soils are previously destroyed. A rapid pretreatment for removing carbonates is described which permits the direct determination of organic carbon.

The method works satisfactorily on saline soils containing high concentrations of Cl salts and also on extracts that can be evaporated to dryness such as Na-dispersed organic matter extracts.

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