Effect of nitrate on the determination of iron concentration in phytoplankton culture medium by liquid scintillation counting (LSC) method using 55Fe as radioisotope tracer
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Liquid scintillation counting (LSC) method using a radioisotope tracer has several advantages such as simple procedure, high sensitivity and low detection limit, and has been used for the determination Fe concentrations in water samples. Several factors such as nitrate concentration, pH, chelating ligand affect the efficiency of this method in the determination of iron (Fe) in waters. In this study, the effect of nitrate in phytoplankton culture medium on the determination of Fe concentration by LSC method using 55Fe radioisotope tracer was evaluated. The measured Fe concentrations in the medium were lower than its added concentration (1.5 μM) when liquid samples contain nitrate. Fe concentrations decreased exponentially as nitrate concentrations increased up to 2.64 mM, reaching a constant value of 1.31 μM Fe at nitrate concentrations higher than 2.64 mM. A correction factor (f = 1.14) was calculated from the decrease rate of Fe concentrations at different nitrate concentrations in the phytoplankton culture medium. This correction factor can be used to correct the measurement values of Fe concentrations in phytoplankton culture medium obtained from LSC method. Our results showed that up to 94 % of the added Fe can be determined by LSC using 55Fe radioisotope tracer. The remaining 6 % was probably bound to the walls of the culturing vessel. This method is also applicable for the measurement of Fe size-fractionation in phytoplankton culture medium.