Sequential injection microcolumn extraction (SI-MCE) based on the implementation of a soil containing microcartridge as external reactor in a sequential injection network is, for the first time, proposed for dynamic fractionation of macronutrients in environmental solids, as exemplified by the partitioning of inorganic phosphorous in agricultural soils. The on-line fractionation method capitalises on the accurate metering and sequential exposure of the various extractants to the solid sample by application of programmable flow as precisely coordinated by a syringe pump. Three different soil phase associations for phosphorus, that is, exchangeable, Al- and Fe-bound and Ca-bound fractions, were elucidated by accommodation in the flow manifold of the 3 steps of the Hietjles-Litjkema (HL) scheme involving the use of 1.0 M NH4Cl, 0.1 M NaOH and 0.5 M HCl, respectively, as sequential leaching reagents. The precise timing and versatility of SI for tailoring various operational extraction modes were utilised for investigating the extractability and extent of phosphorous re-distribution for variable partitioning times. Automatic spectrophotometric determination of soluble reactive phosphorous in soil extracts was performed by a flow injection (FI) analyser based on the molybdenum blue (MB) chemistry. The 3σ detection limit was 0.02 mg P L-1 while the linear dynamic range extended up to 20 mg P L-1 regardless of the extracting media. Despite the variable chemical composition of the HL extracts, a single FI set-up was assembled with no need for either manifold re-configuration or modification of chemical composition of reagents. The mobilization of trace elements, such as Cd, often present in grazed pastures as a result of the application of phosphate fertilizers, was also explored in the HL fractions by electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry.
Analytica Chimica Acta, 2006, Vol 570, Issue 2, p. 224-231