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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Comparison of a Laboratory and Commercial Block Digester for Plant Analysis1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 42 No. 4, p. 661-664
    Received: Jan 5, 1978
    Accepted: Apr 27, 1978

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  1. M. Prasad and
  2. T. M. Spiers2



The design of a block digester fabricated in the laboratory is presented. The digester was capable of attaining 380°C in about 1 hour. Variation of temperature in different parts of the block was about 2°C greater compared to the Technicon block digester (BD-40) at 328°C. Nitrogen, P, and K, and Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Mn, and Cu values from either block were in good agreement for all crops studied using H2SO4 + Se digestion, and HNO3 + HCIO4 digestion. Precision was good from both blocks using either digestion method although the Technicon block generally gave a slightly higher precision for HNO3 + HCIO4 digestion. In addition, when one sample was placed in six or eight different positions on the block for the H2SO4 digestion in order to maximize differences between replicates, a slightly higher C. V. was recorded with our digester. The construction cost of the latter which has a somewhat smaller capacity and no automation was only about 20% of the purchase price of the Technicon digester.

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