Improved Diffusion Methods for Nitrogen and 15Nitrogen Analysis of Kjeldahl Digests

W. Bart Stevens, Richard L. Mulvaney, Saeed A. Khan, Robert G. Hoeft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Simple methods are described that permit the use of either H3BO3 indicator solution or acidified filter disks to collect NH3 liberated by treatment of Kjeldahl digests with NaOH. These methods incorporate modifications to improve reliability, analytical capacity, and convenience. A semimicro digest was diluted to 25 mL with deionized water, and a 10 mL aliquot, containing up to 4 mg N (150 μg N for diffusions into acidified disks), was transferred to a shell vial, which was placed inside a 473 mL (1 pint) Mason jar containing 10 mL 10N NaOH. The NH3 liberated by overturning the vial was collected after 12 to 48 h at ambient temperature, or after 4 h at 45 to 50°C on a hotplate, for quantitative and/or isotope-ratio analyses. With either H3BO3 indicator solution or acidified filter disks, recovery of diffused N was quantitative. Isotope-ratio analyses of diffused N from 15N-labeled chemical, plant, and soil samples were within 3% of analyses using steam distillation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1039-1046
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of AOAC International
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Food Science
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Pharmacology

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