Determination of total fluorine in vegetables and plants by open-flame ashing and microdiffusion : Comparison with furnace ashing and oxygen-flask combustion
Njenga, Lydia W
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The sample is ashed in a nickel crucible over an open flame with calcium hydroxide as the fixative; fluoride is separated by micro-diffusion and measured with a fluoride-selective electrode. The calcium hydroxide fixative permits a temperature of 800–850°C during the final ashing, so that insoluble silicates are decomposed and fluoride is converted to an acid-soluble form. Other advantages over furnace ashing at 600°C are less contamination and more rapid ashing (20 min compared to 6 h). The interference of aluminium and silica on microdiffusion was studied: perchloric acid was found to be preferable to sulphuric acid as medium. A new way for preparing calcium hydroxide suspension, low in fluoride, is described. The values found by the proposed method generally compare well with those obtained by oxygen flask combustion. Direct diffusion (i.e. without ashing) gave much lower values than the ashing methods, except for tea leaves.