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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 47 No. 6, p. 1167-1170
    Received: Mar 18, 1983
    Accepted: June 10, 1983

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Determination of Total Sulfur and Chlorine in Plant Materials by Ion Chromatography1

  1. L. M. Busman,
  2. R. P. Dick and
  3. M. A. Tabatabai2



A simple and precise ion chromatographic (IC) method for simultaneous determination of total S and Cl in plant materials has been developed. It involves combustion of a plant sample (20–100 mg) in a Schoniger-type oxygen flask containing 25 mL of deionized water. The SO2-4 and Cl- formed in the aqueous solution (the S and Cl gases produced are absorbed by water) are determined by using a Dionex Model 10 IC. The IC method is based on separation of the anions by a separator column containing Dionex low-capacity anion exchange resin in the HCO-3 form and on converting the various anions to their corresponding acids by a suppressor column containing a strong acid cation exchange resin in the H+ form. A solution 3.0 mM NaHCO3 + 1.8 mM Na2CO3 is used as the eluent, and electrical conductivity is used as the mode of detection. Results obtained for total S in a variety of plant materials by the IC method agreed closely with those obtained by the methylene blue method after digestion with NaOBr. The average total S values of 15 plant samples by the two methods were 0.255 and 0.259%, respectively. Comparison of the results obtained for Cl by the IC method and by a colorimetric method involving the use of mercuric thiocyanate and ferric ammonium sulfate showed that the averge Cl values for the plant samples were 0.380 and 0.377%, respectively. The recovery of total N and P was not quantitative. A single operator can perform about 40 analyses in a normal working day.

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