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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 5, p. 772-777
    Received: Jan 26, 1972
    Accepted: May 9, 1972

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The Determination of Quinone Groups in Humic Substances1

  1. M. Schnitzer and
  2. R. Riffaldi2



The reduction of quinone groups in humic substances by acid SnCl2 solution was found to be unsatisfactory. The experimental conditions are drastic, the systems are heterogeneous, favoring adsorption or complexing of the reducing agent by the humic materials, and so leading to excessively high quinone values.

Reduction of humic substances by SnCl2 and Fe2+-triethanolamine in alkaline solution at room temperature and atmospheric pressure appeared to be more suitable for the determination of quinone groups in these materials. There was good agreement between quinone groups determined by the two methods on seven humic and one fulvic acid. The quinone group content of the humic acids analyzed ranged from 1.4 to 2.2 meq/g, that of the fulvic acid was < 1.0 meq/g.

No correlation was found between quinone groups and the free radical content of the humic materials. The results suggest that quinone groups in humic substances form part of complex chemical structures and not of simple compounds.

The determination of quinone groups in humic substances is difficult because of the presence of substantial amounts of CO2H, OH, and ketonic C=0 groups, some or all of which may interfere. Thus, it is advisable to check each analysis by at least two different methods.

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