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Interference by Iron in the Determination of Boron by ICP-OES in Mehlich-III Extracts and Total Element Digests of Tropical Forest Soils

Turner, Benjamin L., Bielnicka, Aleksandra W., Dalling, James W., Wolf, Jeffrey A.
Communications in soil science and plant analysis 2016 v.47 no.21 pp. 2378-2386
boron, databases, forest soils, iron, spectroscopy, tropical forests, wavelengths, Panama
Boron detection in soil extracts by inductively-coupled plasma optical-emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) can be influenced by iron interference, particularly in strongly weathered tropical forest soils. Boron concentrations in Mehlich-III extracts of 230 soils under lowland tropical forest in Panama were markedly overestimated at the most sensitive ICP-OES wavelength (249.772 nm) compared to a less sensitive but interference-free wavelength (208.957 nm) due to iron interference. Hot-water extracts contained insufficient iron to interfere in boron detection, but boron quantification in total element digests was affected strongly by iron interference at 249.772 nm. The relationship between boron overestimation and iron was used to correct a database of 300 Mehlich-III extractable boron measurements made at 249.772 nm for soils from a large forest dynamics plot. We recommend that boron measurements in tropical forest soils by ICP-OES should use the less sensitive 208.957 nm wavelength to avoid interference by extracted iron.