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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 11 Issue 1 (2006) pp 38-40

Analysis of the Micronutrients Copper and Zinc in a Commercial Orchard and Vineyard by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy: A Modern AAS Laboratory Exercise

Kathleen M. Wilson and Dr. Robert M. Granger, II*

Department of Chemistry, Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA 24595,
Received July 18, 2005. Accepted November 18, 2005.

Published online: 23 January 2006

Abstract. This manuscript describes a modern atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) laboratory experiment that measures the concentration of the micronutrients copper and zinc in a commercial agricultural site. The laboratory provides students the opportunity to complete an analysis from the sample-collection step all the way through to the generation of a report suitable for a nonscientist (the farmer). Furthermore, students can participate in a long-term ongoing analysis of a commercial site, interpreting the effects certain actions have on the availability of micronutrients in the soil from year to year. This laboratory exercise can be easily adapted to the instrumental environments of other schools. For instance, there are six micronutrient and three macronutrient elements that can be identified by AAS; therefore, a school can adapt this laboratory to suit the lamps it has on hand. Moreover, it would take little effort to modify it for use on an ICP/MS instrument.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; analytical chemistry; quantitative analysis; laboratory instruction; atomic spectroscopy

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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Issue date: February 1, 2006

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