Milling plant and soil material in plastic tubes over-estimates carbon and under-estimates nitrogen concentrations

Stuart W. Smith*, A. H. Jean Robertson, Andrew A. Meharg, Robin J. Pakeman, David Johnson, Sarah J. Woodin, Rene van der Wal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Milling of plant and soil material in plastic tubes, such as microcentrifuge tubes, over-estimates carbon (C) and under-estimates nitrogen (N) concentrations due to the introduction of polypropylene into milled samples, as identified using Fourier-transform infra-red spectroscopy.

This study compares C and N concentrations of roots and soil milled in microcentrifuge tubes versus stainless steel containers, demonstrating that a longer milling time, greater milling intensity, smaller sample size and inclusion of abrasive sample material all increase polypropylene contamination from plastic tubes leading to overestimation of C concentrations by up to 8 % (0.08 g g(-1)).

Erroneous estimations of C and N, and other analytes, must be assumed after milling in plastic tubes and milling methods should be adapted to minimise such error.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-513
Number of pages5
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume369
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

Keywords

  • Carbon
  • Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy
  • Grinding
  • Microcentrifuge tubes
  • Milling
  • Nitrogen
  • ORGANIC-CARBON
  • SEEDLINGS
  • MEDIA

Cite this

Smith, S. W., Robertson, A. H. J., Meharg, A. A., Pakeman, R. J., Johnson, D., Woodin, S. J., & van der Wal, R. (2013). Milling plant and soil material in plastic tubes over-estimates carbon and under-estimates nitrogen concentrations. Plant and Soil, 369(1-2), 509-513. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-013-1599-y