Free Access
Volume 26, Number 9, November 1998
Qualite de l'air
Page(s) 347 - 351
Section Original articles
Analusis 26, 347-351 (1998)
DOI: 10.1051/analusis:1998183

Rapid spectrophotometric determination of nitrates and nitrites in marine aqueous culture media

A.P. Carvalho, L.A. Meireles and F.X. Malcata

Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, Portugal

The spectrophotometric determination of nitrate in sea water broths for cultivation of, say, microalgae is complicated by the frequent presence of nitrite. Two methods - sulphamic/perchloric acid method (also known as Cawse method) and sulphamic acid method - both claimed to be able to eliminate nitrite interference, were tested using a set of standards, but statistical treatment of the results proved their limitations in nitrate quantification. An improved method, based on former published methods for quantification of nitrite and coupled determination of nitrate and nitrite, was designed and tested. This improved method was compared with the reference method (based on use of a cadmium column) using several standards and biological samples of two culture media for microalgae, in different phases of their growth curve. The results thus obtained have demonstrated that there is no statistically significant difference between them at the 5% level. The precision of the method was tested by repeating determinations with three sets of standard mixtures containing nitrate and nitrite. The method proposed has advantages over conventional methods in reduced time of analysis, as well as high precision and accuracy, so it may be a good alternative for determination of nitrite and nitrate in marine aqueous media.

Key words: Enriched sea water microalgae broth / nitrate quantification / nitrite quantification / spectrophotometry.

© EDP Sciences, Wiley-VCH 1998