A Digestion Procedure for the Simultaneous Determination of Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus in Pond Water Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract— Total phosphorus and total nitrogen often are measured in studies of pond water quality. A laboratory study was conducted to test a digestion procedure for the simultaneous determination of total nitrogen and total phosphorus in pond water. Seventy water samples were collected from channel catfish ponds. Samples were digested in two ways. One digestion followed the standard protocol of persulfate digestion in an acidic environment for total phosphorus analysis, and total phosphorus was then measured with the ascorbic acid procedure. The second digestion was done by the procedure used for determining total nitrogen which involves persulfate digestion in an alkaline environment. The total nitrogen digestion procedure followed by phosphorus determination provided results similar to those obtained in the standard persulfate digestion for phosphorus. The slope of the regression line did not differ from 1.0 (P < 0.05) and the Y intercept did not differ from 0 (P < 0.05). Spike recovery averaged 99.1% (range 85–112%) in the total nitrogen digestion procedure; it averaged 98.4% (range 88–113%) in the standard total phosphorus digestion. The results of this investigation indicated that a single digestion can be used to obtain a digest suitable for measurements of total nitrogen and total phosphorus.

publication date

  • January 1, 1998