ASTM’s International’s Committee on Water has developed a new standard that will help calculate the amount of Nitrogen in water samples more efficiently.
The test method will aid in measuring the amount of total nitrogen and total dissolved nitrogen in surface water, groundwater, seawater, wastewater, and more. The standard measures total nitrogen as a single number using high-temperature oxidation followed by detection of luminescence resulting from a chemical reaction such as the oxidation of luciferin in fireflies.
Significantly, the test method speeds up the analysis process, giving total nitrogen results every five minutes. In addition, it requires smaller water samples and only one reagent (dilute HCl).
According to William Lipps, vice chairman of the committee and environmental marketing manager at Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, the new method, D8083, Test Method for Total Nitrogen, and Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) by Calculation, in Water by High-Temperature Catalytic Combustion and Chemiluminescence Detection, will help laboratories that analyse total nitrogen, organic nitrogen, or total kjeldahl nitrogen.
“Publicly owned treatment works may find the method useful for process control and calculating nitrogen removal,” said Lipps. “Other methods that analyse total nitrogen, particularly those that use wet chemical oxidation, may suffer from incomplete recoveries due to chloride interference. This new method was tested with seawater matrices and no interference was detected.”
Nitrogen is essential for all living things, including animals and plants, but too much nitrogen in the water can result in costly and challenging environmental problems. Nitrogen, together with phosphorus, support the growth of algae and aquatic plants, but too much causes algae to grow faster than ecosystems can handle; these algae blooms can severely reduce or eliminate oxygen in the water and can also produce elevated toxins and bacterial growth that can make humans very ill if they come into contact with the polluted water, eat tainted fish or shellfish, or drink contaminated water. Nitrogen pollution can result in serious environmental and human health issues, as well as impacting the economy.
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