Rapid and accurate analyses of silicon and phosphorus in plants using a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer

Reidinger, Stefan, Ramsey, Michael and Hartley, Susan (2012) Rapid and accurate analyses of silicon and phosphorus in plants using a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer. New Phytologist, 195 (3). pp. 699-706. ISSN 1469-8137

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The elemental analysis of plant material is a frequently employed tool across biological disciplines, yet accurate, convenient and economical methods for the determination of some important elements are currently lacking. For instance, digestion-based techniques are often hazardous and time-consuming and, particularly in the case of silicon (Si), can suffer from low accuracy due to incomplete solubilisation and potential volatilization, whilst other methods may require large, expensive specialised equipment.

Here, we present a rapid, safe and accurate procedure for the simultaneous, non-consumptive analysis of Si and phosphorus (P) in as little as 0.1 g dried and ground plant material using a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (P-XRF).

We used certified reference materials from different plant species to test the analytical performance of P-XRF and show that the analysis suffers from very little bias and that the repeatability precision of the measurements is as good as or better than that of other methods.

Using this technique we were able to process and analyse 200 ground samples a day, so P-XRF could provide a particularly valuable tool for plant biologists requiring the simultaneous non-consumptive analysis of multiple elements, including those known to be difficult to measure such as Si, in large numbers of samples.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Silicon, phosphorus, herbage, elemental analysis, portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (P-XRF)
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry > QD0071 Analytical chemistry
Q Science > QK Botany > QK0900 Plant ecology
Depositing User: Michael Ramsey
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2012 15:54
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2012 15:54
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/41754

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