DETERMINATION OF ORGANIC CARBON IN SOIL

I. OXIDATION BY DICHROMATE OF ORGANIC MATTER IN SOIL AND PLANT MATERIALS

Authors


Abstract

The organic carbon contents of a range of soils and of various organic materials (mostly of plant origin) were determined by the titrimetric methods of Tinsley and Walkley and Black, and the results compared with those obtained by Shaw's wet combustion method. Tinsley's method gave more reliable results with soils than Walkley and Black's method, but neither is satisfactory for precise work. Both give high results with organic materials less oxidized than elemental carbon and low results with organic materials more oxidized, although this effect is masked with materials which do not react completely under Walkley and Black conditions. Quantitative results were obtained on a range of whole plant materials with both Tinsley's and Walkley and Black's methods. The latter thus provides a very rapid method for the determination of carbon in plants. The carbon contents, determined by Tinsley's method, of a range of pure organic compounds agreed with the predicted values. Tinsley's method does not give quantitative results with certain soils, partly because of the oxidation level of the organic matter in these soils and partly because oxidation is incomplete.

Ancillary