Publication Date

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Analytical Chemistry

First Advisor

Walter Henne, Jr., Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Joong-Won Shin, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Karen D'Arcy, Ph.D.


The phosphorus moiety that exists in both inorganic and organic molecules has significant importance. Phosphorus serves as nutrient, a plant building block, a control agent for pests (both plant and insect), and can be an inadvertent cross contaminant in herbicide production, and is often seen as an environmental pollutant. As a cross contaminant, samples suspected of containing the phosphorus moiety are traced to the source of manufacture. Upon suspicion of the source, serious consequences for the manufacturer can develop including loss of relationships, heavy fines and legal matters. Quantitation of phosphorus is not straightforward. Phosphorus can be present in the environment and in samples in either the organic or inorganic form. Segregation of organic and inorganic phosphorus plays a role in the issues that surround reliable quantitation. Both sources are often times simultaneously quantified as total phosphorous and can lead to exaggerated or erroneous results. It is the purpose of this paper to investigate the challenges that exist in quantifying phosphorus as phosphate moieties, in the range of one to ten μg ml-1, using a Perkin Elmer Optima 8000 inductively coupled plasma using optical emission spectrometer, owned by Nufarm Inc. using an existing methodology while investigating a new strategy for quantitation and addressing some of the challenges found in the current method.