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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 35 No. 4, p. 603-606
    Received: Nov 17, 1970
    Accepted: Mar 1, 1971

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Rapid Analysis of Soil Nitrate with Chromotropic Acid1

  1. James R. Sims and
  2. Grant D. Jackson2



Colorimetric analysis of nitrate in soil extracts using chromotropic acid (CTA) was studied and compared to the results obtained by the phenoldisulfonic acid (PDA) method. Extracting solutions of 0.5M MgSO4, saturated CaSO4, and a 0.2% Ca(OH)2 suspension were investigated. The three extractants were equally effective in recovering NO3-; however, the clearest extracts were obtained with Ca(OH)2. Soil-to-extractant ratios of 1:2.5, 1:5, and 1:10 were studied. The 1:5 ratio effectively extracted NO3- and resulted in appropriate NO3- concentrations for color development. A shaking time of 15 min was adequate to extract a maximum of NO3-. In a NO3--N recovery study, equivalent amounts of NO3- were recovered by the CTA and PDA methods. Results of nitrate analyses by the two methods were significantly correlated (p = .01). Nitrate determined by the chromotropic acid procedure was positively correlated (p = .05) with the yield of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and was negatively correlated (p = .01) with response of winter wheat to N fertilizer additions. The new procedure has the advantages of rapidity, simplicity, sensitivity, and relative freedom from interference.

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