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31/7/2008

NATIONAL MAJOR UNIVERSITY OF

SAN MARCOS

FLUORIDE ANALYSIS IN PLANTS

Colorimetric Analysis
Cspedes, Stuart Campos, Walter Mallma

Teacher: Nrida Falconi Falconi

University of San Marcos


Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................. 1
FLUORIDE EFFECTS ON PLANTS ..................................................................................................... 2
SPECTROPHOTOMETRY FUNDAMENTALS..................................................................................... 3
THE BEER-LAMBERT LAW .......................................................................................................... 3
QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS .......................................................................................................... 3
THE SPECTROPHOTOMETER...................................................................................................... 4
QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS ............................................................................................................. 4
SIGNIFICANCE AND USE ............................................................................................................ 6
PLANT MATERIAL ...................................................................................................................... 6
SYSTEM OPERATION.................................................................................................................. 6
PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION......................................................................................................... 6
INTERFERENCES ......................................................................................................................... 7
APPARATUS ............................................................................................................................... 8
STANDARDS AND SOLUTIONS ................................................................................................. 10
REAGENTS FOR ASHING AND ALKALI FUSION OF PLANT ........................................................ 10
CALIBRATION AND STANDARDIZATION .................................................................................. 11
PROCEDURE............................................................................................................................. 11
Preparation of Plant Tissues for Analysis ............................................................................ 11
Procedure for Ashing and Alkali Fusion of Plant Tissues .................................................... 12
Procedure for Automated Analysis of Samples................................................................... 13
CALCULATION .......................................................................................................................... 15

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CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................... 17

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INTRODUCTION

The element fluorine is widely distributed in nature, and is a common


constituent of most soils and rocks. It is also present in plant and animal
tissues, but is not considered essential for the normal growth of plants. It is,
however, essential for animals.

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Since World War II, increasing attention has been focused on the role of
industrially polluted air as a major source of fluoride found in plant and
animal tissues. The fact that animals may be detrimentally affected by
eating forage containing 50ppm or less of fluoride, whereas several or many
times this concentration may be tolerated by the forage plants themselves,
emphasizes the reason for the wide interest in fluoride content of
vegetation by livestock producers.

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Preliminaries

Preliminaries

FLUORIDE EFFECTS ON PLANTS


Fluorine accumulates in the foliage of plants throughout the growing season.
Plants are able to absorb nutrients and toxic agents through the leaf when such substances are
present in water, especially important with sprinkle irrigation. Leaf absorption takes place
through the stomatal pores as well as through the waxy cuticular layers. The waxy cuticle
contains channels that allow penetration of compounds through the cuticle into the
intercellular spaces and then through active uptake involving energy into cells. Translocation
throughout the plant may occur through the vascular system.
Under conditions of abnormally high fluoride concentrations in the growing medium or the air,
or in acid soils of moderate fluoride content but low in available calcium, the amount of
fluoride accumulated may be toxic and symptoms of injury may appear.
Foliar symptoms of fluoride injury vary somewhat from species to species, but fall into two
general types: marginal necrosis (sometime referred to as a tip burn, scorching or lesions) and
interveinal chlorosis. Marginal necrosis is the most common symptom of fluoride toxicity,
having been observed on many domestic plants. Injury usually appears first at the margins or
tips of the leaves and moves inward and/or downward until a large part of the leaf is affected.
Although fluoride toxicity symptoms are relatively characteristic, a number of other factors,
such as excessive salts, extreme moisture stress, and certain mineral deficiencies , will produce
similar symptoms. For this reason, visual diagnosis must usually be confirmed by chemical
analysis of the leaves or other plant tissues.
Results of an experiment in which plants were sprayed weekly for one month with 4ppm
fluoride or 4ppm fluoride + 30g soil/liter of tap water (0.3ppm F) are illustrated in Table A.
Plants accumulated up to 36ppm F (dry weight), but a significant amount of this could be
removed by washing the leaves (distilled water rinse).

Table A. Fluoride content in leaf tissue after foliar


application of 4ppm fluoride in the spray solution

Alfalfa

Water only
Water + soil
4ppm F solution + soil
4ppm F solution only
4ppm F solution, water
only last 2 days
Water only
Water + soil
4ppm F solution + soil
4ppm F sol., water only
4ppm F sol., water only
last 2 days

Corn

ppm fluoride (dry weight)


Unwashed
Washed
9.4
5.8
8.3
5.0
36.0
13.3
23.6
13.9
24.2
16.0
4.3
4.3
23.8
25.2
24.1

5.5
4.0
16.0
15.8
12.8

Spray treatment

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Plant

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SPECTROPHOTOMETRY FUNDAMENTALS
Molecular absorption spectroscopy in the ultraviolet (UV) and visible (VIS) is concerned with
the measured absorption of radiation in its passage through a gas, a liquid or a solid. The
wavelength region generally used is from 190 to about 1000nm, and the absorbing medium is
at room temperature; however, in some cases measurements at temperatures above (e.g. in
enzyme assays) or below room temperature may be advantageous or necessary. This
document is restricted to the conventional means for measuring UV/VIS spectra as a function
of wavelength.
The UV/VIS absorption spectrum of a molecular species is normally represented as a graph of
some characteristic for the radiation absorbed as a function of wavelength. The graph is
representative for that species, solvent, concentration and temperature. If a linear energy
scale for the abscissa is preferred, then wavenumber, is used instead of wavelength, .

THE BEER-LAMBERT LAW:

where

is the monochromatic radiant power transmitted by the absorbing medium,

monochromatic radiant power incident on the medium,


molar absorption coefficient,
the absorbance.

is the transmittance

is the amount concentration,

is the
, is the

the absorption path length and

The Beer-Lambert law holds only if the absorbing species behave independently of each other,
and if the absorption occurs in a uniform medium. Further, the incident radiation must be
parallel, monochromatic and there should be no measurable saturation effect.

QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS
A known analyte can be determined by measuring the absorbance at one or more wavelengths
and using the Beer-Lambert law and the molar absorption coefficient to calculate its amount
concentration. Concentrations can also be determined from an analytical function or analytical
calibration curve where the latter is obtained by plotting the measured absorbance of different
reference solutions (or gases or solids) against their known concentrations. A graph of
absorbance against concentration is a straight line passing through the origin if the BeerLambert law applies.

Fig A. Transmittance (T) and

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Absorbent
solution of c
concentration

absorbance (A) definitions.

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THE SPECTROPHOTOMETER
The basic parts of a spectrophotometer are a light source (often an incandescent bulb for the
visible wavelengths, or a deuterium arc lamp in the ultraviolet), a holder for the sample, a
diffraction grating or monochromator to separate the different wavelengths of light, and a
detector. The detector is typically a photodiode or a CCD. Photodiodes are used with
monochromators, which filter the light so that only light of a single wavelength reaches the
detector. Diffraction gratings are used with CCDs, which collects light of different wavelengths
on different pixels. Spectrophotometer diagrams can be seen on Figures B and C.

Figure B.
Schematic representation of the
DuPont 400 Photometric Analyzer.

Figure C.
Optical Diagram of the Bausch & Lomb
Spectronic-20 spectrophotometer.

An ultraviolet-visible spectrum is essentially a graph of light absorbance versus wavelength in a


range of ultraviolet or visible regions. Such a spectrum can often be produced directly by a
more sophisticated spectrophotometer, or the data can be collected one wavelength at a time
by simpler instruments.

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Calibration curveIs a general method for determining the concentration of a substance in an


unknown sample by comparing the unknown to a set of standard samples of known
concentration. In visible absorption, this consists on a graphic of absorbance versus
concentration (Figure E) which is measured in the highest sensitivity wavelength recorded in a
transmittance percentage versus wavelength curve (Figure D). This curve is affected by pH
value as shown in Figure E.

QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

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Figure D.
Spectral sensitivity curves for
representative photomultiplier
tubes (From literature of
Hamamatsu Corporation).

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Figure E.
A three dimensional plot of
the absorption spectra of
benzeneazodiphenylamine.
In part S, the vertical axis
measures absorbance as a
function of pH (left-right
axis) and wavelength
(oblique axis). F and L are
two-dimensional modes of
representing the same data.

Principal

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Principal

EXPERIMENTAL METHODOLOGY
SIGNIFICANCE AND USE
These test methods may be used for determining the fluoride content of particulate matter
and gases collected from the atmosphere by passive and active means, including plant tissues.
The user is warned that the fluoride content of passive collectors (including plants) give only
qualitative or semiquantitative measurement of atmospheric fluoride content.

PLANT MATERIAL:
The plant material including leaf samples, washed or unwashed, is dried, and ground, then
dissolved with perchloric acid and diluted to 50mL with water. In the case of leaf samples, an
appreciable amount of fluoride may be deposited on the external leaf surfaces. This fluoride
behaves differently physiologically from fluoride absorbed into the leaf and it is often desirable
to wash it from the surface as a preliminary step in the analysis. Details of a leaf-washing
process are described in Calibration and Standardization.

SYSTEM OPERATION:
The dissolved digest is pumped into the polytetrafluoroethylene coil of a microdistillation
device maintained at 170C. A stream of air carries the acidified sample through a coil of TFEfluorocarbon tubing to a fractionation column. The fluoride and water vapor distilled from the
sample are swept up the fractionation column into a condenser, and the condensate passed
into a small collector. Acid and solid material pass through the bottom of the fractionation
column and are collected for disposal. Acid and solid material pass through the bottom of the
fractionation column and are collected for disposal. In this method (colorimetric), the distillate
is mixed continuously with alizarin fluorine blue-lanthanum reagent, the colored stream passes
through a 15mm tubular flow cell of a colorimeter, and the absorbance measured at 624nm.
Details of construction of the microdistillation device are described in Apparatus.

PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION:
The absorbance of an alizarin fluorine blue-lanthanum reagent is changed by very small
amounts of inorganic fluoride.

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Distillation SystemSince HF has a high vapor pressure, it is more efficiently distilled than the
other acids previously mentioned. The factors controlling efficiency of distillation are
temperature, concentration of acid in the distillation coil, and vacuum in the system. Large
amounts of solid matter, particularly silicates, will also retard distillation. Accordingly, the
smallest sample of vegetation consistent with obtaining a suitable amount of fluoride should
be analyzed. The aforementioned conditions must be carefully controlled, since accurate
results depend on obtaining the same degree of efficiency of distillation from samples as from
the standard fluoride solutions used for calibration.

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Temperature control is maintained within 6 2C by the thermo-regulator and by efficient


stirring of the oil bath. Acid concentration during distillation is regulated by taking plant
samples in the range from 0.1 to 2.0g and by using 100 10mg of CaO and 3.0 0.1g of NaOH
for ashing and fusion of each sample. Vacuum in the system is controlled with flowmeters and
a vacuum gage. Any marked change in vacuum (greater than 0.7kPa or 0.2inHg) over a short
time period indicates either a leak or a block in the system. Distillation should take place at the
same vacuum each day unless some other change in the system has been made. It is also
essential to maintain the proper ratio between air flow on the line drawing liquid and solid
wastes from the distillation coil and on the line drawing HF and water vapor (Fig. 1) from the
distillation unit. Occasional adjustments on the two flowmeters should be made to keep this
ratio constant and to maintain higher vacuum on the line drawing HF vapor so that little or no
HF is diverted into the liquid and solid waste line. (See Description of Air Flow System for
description.)

INTERFERENCES
Since the air that is swept through the microdistillation unit is taken from the ambient
atmosphere, airborne contaminants in the laboratory may contaminate samples. If this is a
problem, a small drying bulb filled with calcium carbonate granules can be attached to the air
inlet tube of the microdistillation unit.

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Silicate, chloride, nitrate, and sulfate ions in high concentration can be distilled with fluoride
ion and will interfere with the analysis by bleaching the alizarin fluorine blue-lanthanum
reagent. Phosphate ion is not distilled, and therefore does not interfere. Metals such as iron
and aluminum are not distilled and will not interfere with the analysis. Maximum
concentrations of several common anions at which there was no detectable interference are
given in Table 1. The sulfate concentration shown is the amount tolerated above the normal
amount of sulfuric acid used in microdistillation. A number of materials cause changes in
absorbance at 624nm. Potential interfering substances commonly found in plant tissues are
metal cations such as iron and aluminum, inorganic anions such as phosphate, chloride,
nitrate, and sulfate, and organic anions such as formate and oxalate. Fortunately, metal
cations and inorganic phosphate are not distilled in this system, and organic substances are

If the polytetrafluoroethylene distillation coil is not cleaned periodically, particulate matter will
accumulate and will reduce sensitivity.

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destroyed by preliminary ashing. The remaining volatile inorganic anions may interfere if
present in a sufficiently high concentration because they are distilled as acids. Hydrogen ions
bleach the reagent which, in addition to being an excellent complexing agent, is also an acidbase indicator. To reduce acidic interferences, a relatively high concentration of acetate buffer
is used in the reagent solution despite some reduction in sensitivity.

Multichannel Proportioning Pump, with assorted pump tubes, nipple connectors, glass
connectors, and manifold platter.
Pulse Suppressors, for the sample and alizarin fluorine blue-lanthanum reagent
streams are each made from 3.05m lengths of 0.89mm inside diameter polytetra
fluoroethylene standard wall tubing. They are both an effective reagent filter and a
pulse suppressor. Discard them after one month of use. The outlet ends of the
suppressor tubes are forced into short lengths of (0.081in.) inside diameter silicone
rubber tubing, that is then connected to the reagent pump tube, and the other end
then slipped over the h fitting which joins the sample and reagent streams.
Automatic Sampler, with 8.5mL plastic sample cups.
Voltage Stabilizer.
Colorimeter, with 15mm tubular flow cell and 624nm interference filters.
Rotary Vacuum and Pressure Pump, with continuous oiler.
Recorder.
Range Expander.
Microdistillation ApparatusA schematic drawing is shown in Fig. 2. Major
components of microdistillation apparatus include the following:
o Reaction Flask, 1000mL, with a conical flange and cover (Fig. 2 A).
o Reaction Flask Flange Clamp (Fig. 2B).
o Variable Speed Magnetic Stirrer (Fig. 2D).
o Thermometer-Thermoregulator, range 0 to 200C (Fig. 2 C).
o Electronic Relay Control Box.
o Immersion Heater, 500 W (Fig. 2F).
o Flexible Polytetrafluoroethylene, TFE tubing, 4.8mm outside diameter, 0.8mm
wall. A 9.14m length is coiled on a rigid support of such a diameter that the
completed coil shall fit into the resin reaction flask. Care must be taken to prevent
kinking of the tubing.
o Flowmeter, with ranges from 0 to 5L/min, with needle valve control.
o Vacuum Gage, with a range from 0 to 34kPa (254torr).
o Microdistillation Column, (Fig. 2G, also see Fig. 3).

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APPARATUS

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o Distillate Collector (Fig. 2I and Fig. 3).


o Water-Jacketed Condenser (Fig. 2H).
o Heat Exchange Fluid, for reaction flask.
7.11 Mechanical Convection Oven.
7.12 Wiley Cutting Mill.
7.13 Crucibles, 40mL, nickel, platinum or inconel.
7.14 Muffle Furnace.

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Alizarin Fluoride Blue-Lanthanum ReagentThe reagent is a modification of that reported by


Yamamura1, et. al.. Mix the following quantities of solutions in the order listed to make 1L of
alizarin blue-lanthanum reagent: 300mL of acetate buffer, 244mL of reagent water, 300mL of
acetone, 100mL t-butanol, 36mL of alizarin fluorine blue, 20mL of La(NO3)36H2O, and 40 drops
of wetting agent. Just prior to using reagent, place under vacuum for about 10min to remove
dissolved air. Unused working reagent is stable at 4C for at least 7 days.

STANDARDS AND SOLUTIONS


Standard Fluoride SolutionsDissolve 0.2207g of dry reagent grade NaF (that had been stored
in a desiccators prior to use) in reagent water and dilute to 1L. The stock solution will contain
100g F/mL (100ppm).
Sodium Fluoride Solution (10ppm)Dilute 100mL of the 100ppm NaF solution to 1L.
Working StandardsPrepare working standards by taking suitable aliquots to eight final
concentrations of 0.2, 0.4, 0.8, 1.0, 1.6, 2.4, 3.2, and 4.0gF/mL. Plant analysis shall contain 6g
NaOH and 20mL HClO4 for each 100mL of solution in order to compensate for the amounts of
these substances used in alkali fusion of the ashed plant samples. Standard solutions for
fluoride analysis of water samples or of air samples absorbed in water are made up in reagent
water. Store stock solutions in clean polyethylene bottles in the cold. Since, as will be seen
later, plant tissue samples are diluted to a 50mL volume before analysis, the standard
containing 0.20g/mL of fluoride is equivalent to a sample of plant material containing 10.0g
of fluoride (0.20g/mL 50mL).
Perchloric Acid, concentrated, (70%) (HClO4, sp. gr. 1.66).
Perchloric Acid, (1+1 Solution)Dilute 250mL of concentrated HClO4 to 500mL with reagent
water.
Tetrasodium Ethylenediamine Tetraacetate (Na4EDTA), 1% (weight per volume) Dissolve 1g
of Na4EDTA in 99mL of reagent water.
Plant Tissue SolutionDissolve 0.5g of detergent and 0.5g Na4EDTA in reagent water to make
1L solution.

REAGENTS FOR ASHING AND ALKALI FUSION OF PLANT


Samples:

Yamamura, S. S., Wade, M. A., and Sikes, J. H., Direct Spectrophotometric Fluoride Determination, Analytical
Chemistry, Vol 34, 1962, pp. 13081312.

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Calcium Oxide (CaO), with a known, low fluoride content.


Cheesecloth.
Ethanol or Propanol.
Hydrochloric Acid, (4N)Dilute 342mL of concentrated hydrochloric acid (HCl, sp. gr.
1.19) to 1L.
Kraft Paper Bags.

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Phenolphthalein Solution (1%) Dissolve 1g phenolphthalein in 50mL of absolute ethanol


or isopropanol. Add 50mL of reagent water.
Polypropylene Bags, with moisture seal.
Sodium Hydroxide Solution (10%)Dissolve 10g of NaOH in water, cool, and dilute to
100mL.

Effect of Storage:
The acetate buffer and Brij 35 solutions are stable at room temperature. Stock solutions of
alizarin fluorine blue and lanthanum nitrate are stable indefinitely at 4C. The alizarin fluorine
blue-lanthanum working reagent is stable at 4C for at least 7 days. Diluted NaF solutions shall
be stored in the cold in polyethylene bottles and are stable in the presence of NaOH. Tightly
covered ashed and fused plant samples appear to be stable indefinitely. All reagents except for
the concentrated acids and alkalies, and the organic solvents, may be stored in a laboratory
refrigerator. Warm the solutions to room temperature before use.

CALIBRATION AND STANDARDIZATION


Transfer portions of each calibration fluoride solution (0.2, 0.4, 0.8, 1.0, 1.6, 2.4, 3.2, and 4.0g
F/mL) to 8.5mL sample cups. Place the calibration sample cups through the sample tray in a
random order. Proceed with the analysis as described in Procedure for Automated Analysis of
Samples. A calibration curve should precede and follow each days set of samples.
After calibration solutions have been analyzed and the peaks plotted by the chart recorder,
draw a straight line connecting the baseline before and after the analysis. Record the
absorbance of each peak and subtract the absorbance of the baseline. Compute the regression
of net absorbance versus g/mL of fluoride by the method of least squares.

PROCEDURE
Preparation of Plant Tissues for Analysis:
This procedure is used to remove fluoride from surface tissues without altering the internal
concentration of fluoride. Whether vegetation samples are to be washed will depend on the
intended use of the population of plants the sample represents. For example, in foliage crops
or other vegetation intended for consumption by herbivores, fluoride on foliar surfaces as well
as that within leaves is important and should be included in the analysis. For other kinds of
vegetation, fluoride deposited on the surface of leaves may be unimportant with respect to
the plant, and it may be desirable to wash it from the surface prior to analysis.

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ProcedureFresh tissues are placed in a cheesecloth square, the ends of the square folded up,
and the whole washed in a polyethylene container filled with the plant tissue wash solution for

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CriteriaA standard washing procedure should meet several washing criteria: it should be
simple and gentle; it should remove surface fluoride quantitatively with a minimum of leaching
of internal fluoride; it should not leave residues that might interfere with subsequent analysis;
and, in the event that the tissue is to be analyzed also for nutrient status, it should not leach
other internal elements.

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30s with gentle agitation. The cheesecloth containing the tissue is removed and allowed to
drain for a few seconds, and then rinsed for 10s in each of three containers of reagent water.
Dry the tissue by blotting it with dry paper towels.
The washed and partially dried tissue is then placed in a labeled Kraft paper bag and dried in
the mechanical convection oven at 80C for no less than 24h.
Grind dried tissues in a semimicro Wiley mill to pass a 40mesh sieve. The sieved material is
collected and placed in a polyethylene container with a moisture seal.

Procedure for Ashing and Alkali Fusion of Plant Tissues:


Mix the dried sample thoroughly and carefully weigh from 0.1 to 1.0g of plant tissue,
depending on the fluoride content, into a clean crucible.
Add 100 10mg of CaO, sufficient reagent water to make a loose slurry, and 2 drops of
phenolphthalein. Mix thoroughly with a polyethylene policeman. The final mixture will be
uniformly red in color and will remain red during evaporation to dryness.
Place crucibles on a hot plate and under infrared lamps. Turn on infrared lamps (do not turn on
hot plate) until all liquid is evaporated. Turn on hot plate and char samples for 1h.
Transfer crucibles to a muffle furnace at 600C and ash for 2h. (WarningTo avoid flaming,
place crucibles at front of muffle furnace with door open for about 5min to further char
samples. Then position crucibles in the furnace.)
After ashing, remove crucibles (not more than eight at one time), add 3 0.1g of NaOs pellets,
and replace in the furnace with door closed for 3min. (Warning Watch out for creeping of
the molten NaOH. Discard the sample if it has crept from the crucible.) Remove crucibles one
at a time and swirl to suspend all particulate matter until the melt is partially solidified. Allow
crucible to cool until addition of small amount of water does not cause spattering. Wash down
inner walls of crucible with 10 to 15mL of reagent water.
After crucibles have cooled to room temperature, stir the melt with a polyethylene policeman
and transfer to a 50.0mL plastic cylinder, using reagent water. Rinse crucible with 20.0mL of a
1+1 70% HClO4 and add to the tube. Make sample to 50.0mL volume with water.
Run several blank crucibles (about one blank for each 10 samples) containing all reagents
through the entire procedure.

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Cleaning of CruciblesClean the crucibles as soon as possible after use. Soak inconel crucibles
in 10% NaOH overnight. Follow by washing with hot water and scouring with a soap-free steel
wool pad. Rinse three times with water followed by three rinses with reagent water. Then
immerse them in 4N HCl (8.7.4) for 1.5h, rinse them three times in tap water followed by three
times in reagent water. Perform a blank analysis on the crucibles before use to check on
contamination.

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Procedure for Automated Analysis of Samples:


DistillationRefer to Figs. 1-3. All flow rates given are nominal values. Standard fluoride
solutions, ashed and alkali-fused samples, or impinged air samples are placed in 8.5mL plastic
cups in the sampler module. The sampler is actuated, and the sample is pumped from the cup
at a net rate of 3.48mL/min with air segmentation of 0.42mL/min after the sampler crook
(3.90mL-0.42mL=3.48mL) and is pumped into the microdistillation device through the sample
inlet (Fig. 2J). Fifty % H2SO4 is pumped at 2.50mL/min through the acid inlet (Fig. 2K). Acid and
ashed solids drop into the waste flask (Fig. 2I) and are discarded after the run. Distillate is
pumped from the sample trap at 2.50mL/min through 1.35mm inside diameter
polytetrafluoroethylene tubing (Fig. 2M), and air segmented with 0.42mL/min air. Air enters
the system at the inlet (Fig. 2N) and leaves the system at the top of the sample trap (Fig. 2O).

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Description of Air Flow System (Refer to Fig. 1) Air is drawn through the air inlet tube (a)
before the polytetrafluoroethylene microdistillation coil (b). Air sweeps through (b) to the

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Colorimetric AnalysisSee Fig. 4. The sample stream is then resampled at 0.32mL/min and
the remainder of the sample stream goes to waste. The resampled stream is mixed with
diluent solution at 0.80mL/min and air segmented at 0.42mL/min. The mixed stream passes
through a polychlorotrifluoro-ethylene mixing coil and alizarin fluoride blue lanthanum reagent
is added at 0.97mL/min by pumping the reagent with a 1.20mL/min silicone tubing and
resampling through a 0.23mL/min silicone tubing. Pass the alizarin fluoride blue-lanthanum
reagent through an inline filter prior to mixing with the sample stream. The two liquid streams
are combined and passed through a second polychlorotrifluoroethylene coil for time delay,
proper mixing, and color development. The reagent stream then passes through a debubbler
fitting where a small portion of the sample stream is removed (along with any air bubbles) and
passes to waste. The remainder of the sample stream passes through a 15mm tubular flow cell
of the colorimeter, and the absorbance is measured at 624nm. The sample stream is drawn
through the flow cell and a glass pulse suppressor with a silicone tubing at 1.40mL/min. Results
are plotted on a chart recorder. The lag time from sampling to the appearance of a peak on the
chart recorder is about 5min.

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fractionation column (c) where the air stream is diverted through the water-jacketed
condenser (d) and sample trap (e) to waste bottle (f). The air then passes through a 3.2mm
inside diameter glass tube directed against the surface of concentrated H2SO4 contained in
waste bottle (g). The partially dehydrated air passes through a gas-drying tower (h) containing
450g of indicating silica gel. Air leaving the outlet of the drying tower passes through a T-tube
(i) to which a vacuum gage (j) (0 to 34kPa) is connected, through a flow meter (k) (0 to 5L/min),
and then to the vacuum pump (l).
Start-Up ProceduresTurn on the water to condenser. Turn on the colorimeter. Engage the
manifold on the proportioning pump and start the pump. Turn on the vacuum pump and set
flow rates. Turn on the stirring motor in the microdistillation unit. Connect the lines to the
H2SO4 solution, to the alizarin blue-lanthanum reagent, to the diluent solution and to the
reagent water bottles. Place the sampling tube of the sampler unit in the water reservoir.
Allow the apparatus to equilibrate until the oil bath in the microdistillation unit has reached
170C. Be sure that all tubing connections are secure. Adjust flowmeter that controls
distillation (Fig. 1k) to 4L/min. Distillate should now fill the sample trap. Readjust the
flowmeter (Fig. 1k) to give a reading on the vacuum gage of 17 to 20kPa (127 to 150torr).
Determine satisfactory setting for each instrument by trial and error. Once a satisfactory value
is determined, it is important that this setting be maintained each day. No air bubbles should
be in the analytical system beyond the point where the alizarin fluorine blue-lanthanum
reagent and distillate streams are joined. Turn on the chart recorder, adjust the baseline to the
desired level, and run a baseline for several minutes to assure that all components are
operating properly. Transfer standard fluoride solutions to 8.5mL plastic cups and place in
sampler. Separate the last standard sample from unknown samples with one cup containing
reagent water. Program the sampler for 20samples/h with 1:3 sample to wash ratio. Turn the
sampler on. Analyze calibration solutions before and after each days set of samples.

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Irregular fluctuations in the baseline may result from the following: excessive surge pressures
in the liquid streams; air bubbles passing through the flow cell in the photometer; or bleaching
of the reagent by excess sulfuric acid carryover during distillation or insufficient buffer in the
reagent. Excessive pulse pressures may be due to faulty pump tubes, the absence of surge
suppressors, or the presence of surge suppressors that are improperly made or placed. Air
bubbles in the photometer flow cell may be due to the absence of a debubbler bypass, a
blockage in the reagent pump tube, or a periodic emptying of the sample trap. The last
condition will result if the air flow to the distillation trap becomes too great. Excessive sulfuric
acid carryover can be caused by too high a temperature in the oil bath, improper sulfuric acid
concentration, or too high a vacuum on the system. Large fluctuations or imbalances in
vacuum or air flow rates in the distillation or waste systems will also produce baseline
irregularities. An improper flowmeter setting, trapped air in the tubing, or a leak or block in the
system should be sought as the probable cause of this type of difficulty.

14

TroubleshootingSince no method for determining g quantities in an overwhelming excess


of other materials is free of occasional problems, suggestions on how to recognize the
difficulties and systematically locate the problems may be of value. Fortunately, most of the
potential problems in distillation and fluoride analysis are manifested by obvious irregularities
on the chart recorder.

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Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Asymmetrical peaks, double peaks, or peaks with shoulders may result from: baseline
irregularities, interfering substances from the sample or impure reagents, inadequate buffer
concentration, or excessive amounts of solid material in the distillation coil. The presence or
accumulation of excessive solids may be due to insufficient flow of H2SO4, too large a sample,
excessive amounts of calcium oxide or sodium hydroxide in the sample, inadequate suspension
of particles in the samples, or lack of proper air segmentation in the sample tubing.
Poor reproducibility can be caused by improper sample pickup; by faulty pump tubes; by
inadequate washout of the distillation coils between samples: by large deviations in acid
concentration temperature, or air flow in the distillation coil; or by changes in vacuum on the
waste systems.

CALCULATION
Calculate the fluoride content of the sample as follows:

where:
FT = concentration of fluoride in sample, ppm(v),
FS = concentration of fluoride in unknown sample as taken from the calibration curve, g/mL,
VS = volume of the unknown sample, usually 50mL,
D = dilution factor used when fluoride in unknown sample exceeds the standard curve. For
example, if the original sample is diluted from 50mL to 100mL, D will equal 2, and
WS = mass of sample taken for analysis, g.
NOTE 1All dilutions of plant samples should be made with a solution containing 6g of NaOH
and 40mL of 1+1 70% HClO4 per 100mL. If the unknown sample is not diluted, drop D from the
calculations.
Atmospheric SamplesDetermine the concentration of fluoride in g/mL from the calibration
curve generated. Calculate the atmospheric fluoride concentration by calculating the amount
of fluoride in the original air sample, and dividing by the volume of air sampled, corrected to
standard conditions, as follows:

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15

where:
Fa = fluoride concentration in the atmosphere, g/m3,
FS = fluoride concentration in the sample solution, g/mL,
VS = volume of air sample, corrected to 101.3 kPa (760mm of Hg) and 25C, and
1000 = factor to convert L to m3.

Analysis

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Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Analysis

RESEARCH PAGE
In the presence of fluoride, the wine-red chelate formed at pH 4.5 between alizarin
complexone (1,2-dihydroxyanthraquinonyl-3-methylamine-NN-diacetic acid) and lanthanum is
converted into a stable blue ternary complex. The complex whose structure has been
investigated by Langmyhr et al. (1971) apparently contains fluoride and lanthanum alizarin
complexone in a 1:1 molar ratio. Highest absorbances, measured around 622nm, are obtained
at a pH of about 4.50. There is a linear relantionship between fluoride content and absorbance
up to ca. 25g of F. The calibration curve must be corrected for the salt error due to the
presence of magnesium.
The same pattern previously described is expected to work with alizarin blue complexone (3amino-ethylalizarin-N,N-diacetic acid).

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Alizarine blue complexone


molecule

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Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

CONCLUSION

This method is applied only for semiquantitative purposes (for


concentrations lower than 1g/mL of F, this is due to deviations from
Lambert-Beers Law)
In normal use, the procedure can detect 0.1g/mL of F. The normal range of
analysis is from 0.1 to 1.6g/mL of F. Higher concentrations can be analyzed
by careful dilution of samples with reagent water.

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The best procedure is to analyze a smaller aliquot of the sample. Most


accurate results are obtained when the fluoride concentration falls in the
middle or upper part of the calibration curve.

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Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Methods of Seawater Analysis. Klaus Grasshoff, Klaus Kremling, Manfred Ehrhardt, Lief G. Anderson.
Wiley-VCH, 1999. 3rd edition.
Principles of Instrumental Analysis. Douglas A. Skoog, F. James Holler, Stanley R. Crouch.
Brooks Cole. 6th ed. 2006
Anlisis Instrumental. Judith F. Rubinson, Kenneth A. Rubinson
Pearson Publications Company, 2001
2006 Annual Book of ASTM Standards. American Society for Testing and Materials. Section 11,
Volume 11.03, Atmospheric Analysis; Occupational Health and Safety; Protective Clothing.
Philadelphia: American Society for Testing and Materials, October 2005.
Diagnostic Criteria for Plants and Soil. Homer D. Chapman.
University of California. Division of Agricultural Sciences. 1966
Fluoride Accumulation in Higher Plants. GW Miller, JL Shupe and OT Vedina Logan.
Research Report. Utah, 1999.

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Instrumental Methods of Chemical Analysis. Galen W. Ewing.


McGraw-Hill, 5th edition. New York, 1985.