EM Quant® Nitrate Test, Catalog No. 10050, 10020
Test strips and reagent for the detection
and semi-quantitative determination of nitrate ions
The EM Quant® Nitrate Test
provides a very simple, rapid, semi-quantitative means of determining
nitrate in all aqueous media. There are many potential applications in
the testing of drinking water, industrial water, aquarium water and
waste water. High levels of nitrate in drinking water indicate that it
is contaminated. A figure of 50mg/l (ppm) must not be exceeded in
drinking water. In fresh water aquaria a level of 100mg/l (ppm)
nitrate should not be exceeded.
Nitrate-containing additives are frequently
incorporated into dairy products and processed meats; as anti-swelling
agents in cheese and as curing salt in meat products.
Farm produce and fruit and vegetable juices
often contain excessive amounts of nitrate because too much fertilizer
has been applied to the crop. Apart from affecting quality and keeping
properties, high concentrations of nitrate in foods can damage health.
Hydroculture, agriculture and horticulture: In
hydroculture, plants are fed with special fertilizers which provide a
steady supply of nitrogen. The Nitrate Test can be used to check
whether the supply is adequate. Also, the test can be used to measure
nitrogen levels in the soil according to the mineralized nitrogen (NMIN)
Principle of the Method
A reducing agent reduces nitrate to nitrite. In
the presence of an acid buffer, the nitrite is converted to nitrous
acid, which diazotizes an aromatic amine. Coupling with
N-(1-naphthyl)ethylenediamine produces a red-violet azo dye.
0 - 10 - 25 - 50 - 100 - 250 - 500mg/l (ppm) NO3–
- Remove a test strip and close the container
- Immerse the test strip in the sample
solution for 1 second, so that the reaction zones are thoroughly
- Remove the test strip, gently shake off
excess liquid, wait 1 minute and compare the reaction zones with the
There are two reaction zones on the test strip.
The one furthest away from the tester's hand indicates both nitrate
and nitrite, while the other indicates only nitrite. A pink to
red-violet color appearing on the latter zone indicates the presence
of interfering nitrite.
The pH of the sample solution must be between 1
Strongly acidic solutions (pH <1) must be
buffered with sodium acetate, strongly solutions (pH >12) with
Ten mg NO3 is equivalent to 2.3 mg
The Nitrate Test is not a wholly satisfactory
way of testing sea water, as the high salt concentration will produce
Use in Water Analysis
The nitrate ion concentration in unpolluted
natural waters does not generally exceed 3mg/l. Polluted water
contains 50-150mg/l NO3 or more.
Nitrate is the end product of nitrification. It
results from the decay of plant and animal organisms containing
nitrogen. High nitrate levels may also point to fecal contamination.
Simultaneous tests for nitrite and ammonium will confirm or discount
suspicions of this type of contamination. If the ammonium and nitrite
concentrations are not found to be raised, the water is capable of
mineralizing organic matter. The Nitrate Test is thus an ideal means
of checking the effectiveness of sewage treatment processes and of
testing aquarium filters.
Use in the Testing of Foods
The Nitrate Test plays an important role in the
testing of foods such as milk and other dairy products, whey, brine,
meat, potatoes, spinach and various other vegetables and vegetable
juices. Meat products are cured with nitrate, while anti-selling
agents containing nitrate are added to cheese.
Testing potatoes for nitrate is simple. Make an
incision in the potato, insert a test strip and squeeze the potato.
Remove the strip after a few seconds, wait 1 minute and compare with t
he color scale. Potatoes with levels of nitrate above 100mg/l have
been over-dressed (i.e. over-fertilized). Such potatoes have inferior
cooking and keeping properties. Over-dressing also reduces the starch
content. Nitrate can be measured almost as easily in other types of
produce, too. Chop a sample into several small pieces with a knife and
squeeze in an onion or garlic press. Pipette off a defined volume of
juice (e.g. 1-2ml) and dilute 10-fold or more with distilled water.
Use a test strip to determine nitrate in the diluted juice. Multiply
the result by the dilution factor. This gives the nitrate content in
mg nitrate per kg of produce.
Use in Agriculture and Hydroculture
Use the Nitrate Test to measure the NMIN (mineralized nitrogen)
requirement of the soil. Mix 10 g of a representative sample (collected
with a core sampler from 30, 60 and 90cm below the surface) with 100ml
of distilled or deionized water and stir vigorously to give a homogeneous
mass without any lumps. Filter through a coffee filter or allow to settle,
immerse a test strip in the filtrate or supernatant, and record the nitrate
value shown on the scale. The nitrate value recorded is approximately
equivalent to the value kg N/ha and 30cm soil later (ha = hectare). For
example a value of 25mg/l NO3 read from the scale is equivalent to 25kg
N/ha and 30cm soil layer. Farmers, market gardeners, vineyard owners,
etc. can therefore apply fertilizer more discriminately. Apart from reducing
their costs, they will also lessen the risk of ground water becoming polluted.
Hydrocultures are fed with special fertilizers
which ensure that the plants receive a steady supply of nitrogen. A
Nitrate Test can be used to check whether the supply of nutrient is
Periodic checks can be performed on crops, e.g.
cereal crops, to monitor the current nitrogen supply situation.
Equipment needed consists of a garlic press, a pipette and a small
calibrated vessel, which is used to dilute the juice with distilled
water (see also "Use in the testing of foods"). Fragments of
the plant may also be brought into direct contact with the nitrate
zone to measure the nitrate content at the contact surface.
To determine nitrate in fodder crops, proceed as
- Comminute the material with scissors or a knife to give pieces with
a stalk length of approximately 1cm. Make sure that representative specimens
are taken from all parts of the plant.
- Weigh out 50g of comminuted sample and reduce to pulp in an electric
blender or mincer.
- Transfer pulp and juice to a beaker, rinse
with 150ml of water and make up to exactly 500ml with warm water.
- Leave the pulp to stand for 10-15 minutes,
- Briefly dip a Nitrate Test strip in the
supernatant or filtrate (filtered through a coffee filter) and
assess the reaction zone color after 1 minute.
- Calculate the nitrate content of the crop:
mg NO3/g crop =mg/l / 100
Conversion to dry mass: mg NO3/g
crop x 5 or 6 (5 for normal fodder crop with a dry substance content
of approximately 20%; 6 for young crop with a dry substance content of
Nitrate determinations in fodder should be
performed, in particular, during spring and autumn. This is because
intensive dressing of green fodder followed by a drop in temperature
may cause a several-fold increase in their nitrate content. Bulk
storage of green fodder for protracted periods may have the same
Influence of Anions
As little as 0.5mg/l of nitrite produces a
false positive reaction.
The determination is not disturbed by less than
Cl–, ClO3–, ClO4–,
CN–, F–, I–,
Mo7O246–, N3–, OCN–,
PO43–, SO42–, SeO42–,
WO42–, acetate, ascorbate, citrate, oxalate,
succinate or tartrate.
In the presence of more than
25mg/l S2–, 100mg/l SCN–, 500mg/l SO32–, 250mg/l S2O32–
100mg/l S2O42– or 250mg/l
S2O52– the nitrate concentration
indicated is less than that actually present.
Oxidizing anions turn the reaction zone light
brown to orange brown.
Interference is caused by more than
||CrO42–, 100mg/l Fe(CN)63–, 500mg/l IO3–,
10mg/l MnO4, 100mg/l S2O82–
or 25mg/l VO3–
Influence of Cations
The determination is not disturbed by less than
||Al3+, As3+, Ba2+,
Be2+, Ca2+, Co2+, Cr3+,
Cu2+, K+, Li+, Mg2+,
Mn2+, Na+, Ni2+, Pb2+,
Rb+, Sb3+, Sn2+,Ti+,
The color becomes weaker in the presence of more than
|| Fe2+, 250mg/l Fe3+,
50mg/l VO2+ or 500mg/l Zn4+
More than 50mg/l Ag+, 50mg/l Hg+
or100mg/l Hg2+ interfere by turning the reaction zone
Elimination of Interference
Elimination of interfering nitrite: Add 5 drops
of 10% aqueous amidosulfuric acid solution to 5ml of sample solution
(pH 10), shake several times and test for nitrate after 1 minute as
described. This method allows as little as 10mg/l nitrate to be
detected in the resence of 1000mg/l nitrite.
Nitrate standard solution, 500ml.
10050 EM Quant® Pack of Nitrate Test
25 test strips
10020 EM Quant® Pack of Nitrate Test
100 test strips
Purchase Nitrate Test Strips 10-500 ppm EM Quant (1 PK of 25)
Gallade Part#: 100501
Mfr Part#: 10050-1
Brand: EMD Chemicals EM Science
Container: 1 PK of 25 Strips
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