What is the impact of analysing Nitrate + Nitrite past the recommended hold time?

Created by: Andrew White

Modified on: Wed, 30 Jan, 2019 at 9:58 AM


Nitrite (NO2) is chemically less stable than nitrate (NO3). Nitrite will oxidize and be converted to nitrate resulting in an underestimation of nitrite and a subsequent overestimation of nitrate. 

The short holding time is a known issue, and the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) have acknowledged this issue by stating: 

“Three day hold times may not be practically achievable, particularly for samples from remote locations. Laboratories should commence analysis as soon as possible but within 48 hours of receipt. Exceedance of hold time increases the uncertainty of test results, but does not necessarily imply that results are compromised”.



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Andrew is the author of this solution article.

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