Rapid and precise determination of dissolved oxygen by spectrophotometry: Evaluation of interference from color and turbidity

Roland, Fabio, Nina F. Caraco, Jonathan J. Cole, Paul del Giorgio

Limnol. Oceanogr., 44(4), 1999, 1148-1154 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.1999.44.4.1148

ABSTRACT: Several researchers have proposed spectrophotometric modifications of the Winkler titrimetric method for measuring dissolved oxygen (DO). These modifications, although simple, are not widely used because of concern about accuracy, calibration, and possible sources of interference. Here we show, using natural samples from lakes and rivers as well as samples manipulated in the laboratory, that the spectrophotometric method can provide accurate and very precise measurements of DO over a wide range of concentrations (4 to ~13 mg O2 liter-1). Further, interference from dissolved organic carbon (color) and turbidity are minor. We propose corrections for both color and turbidity, where necessary, that can be easily incorporated into the measurement design. Because of the speed and simplicity of the spectrophotometric method, it is easy to replicate measurements and thereby increase precision without greatly increasing analytical time. In 10 min of effort, we were able to achieve a coefficient of variation (CV) within one bottle of 0.09%, or 0.8% among different bottles. With n = 7 bottles, one can easily distinguish changes in DO of 0.05 mg liter-1 with this method, which makes it useful for metabolic studies in many environments. To achieve a comparable CV by conventional titration would require about 100 min of effort.

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