Abstract: Sulfur is one of the essential macronutrients required for plant growth, aiding the formation of amino acids and proteins, as well as chlorophyll formation. Sulfur deficiencies can cause chlorosis in new leaf formations, as well as stunted growth and higher plant mortality rates. Initiatives to reduce sulfur emissions have led to less sulfur being deposited in soil, causing an increased use of sulfur-containing fertilizers and an increased demand for sulfur determination. The current method for sulfur determination, AOAC Method 980.02, is a labor-intensive, gravimetric technique that requires the use of hazardous materials. An alternative technique, developed in cooperation with the AOAC Fertilizer Expert Review Panel (ERP), determines sulfur content by high-temperature combustion. Total sulfur combustion instruments utilize a high-temperature resistance furnace to achieve complete decomposition of fertilizers. Sulfates present decompose to sulfur dioxide, SO2, while elemental sulfur, sulfides, and organic sulfur species are oxidized to form SO2. The combustion products are swept through 2 reagents and carried to infrared detectors, where SO2 is measured and converted to a quantiable 2 concentration based upon sample mass. This poster presentation will cover the optimization of LECO total sulfur instruments for the analysis of fertilizers. Data will be examined that was obtained from the AOAC Fertilizer ERP Round Robin sample suite, which included fertilizers containing elemental sulfur, sulfates, sulfides, and organic sulfur species.Summary: The primary objective of this work was to demonstrate the analytical performance and application capability of an S832DR instrument that has been optimized for the analysis of sulfur in fertilizers. The method parameters selected allowed for all fertilizer matrices to be analyzed under the same method.
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