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Open-Source Photometric System for Enzymatic Nitrate Quantification

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Status
This OSAT has been designed but not yet tested - use at own risk.
This OSAT has been modeled.
This OSAT has been prototyped.
This OSAT has been verified by: MOST, NECi.

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Source

Abstract

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Nitrate, the most oxidized form of nitrogen, is regulated to protect people and animals from harmful levels as there is a large over abundance due to anthropogenic factors. Widespread field testing for nitrate could begin to address the nitrate pollution problem, however, the Cadmium Reduction Method, the leading certified method to detect and quantify nitrate, demands the use of a toxic heavy metal. An alternative, the recently proposed Environmental Protection Agency Nitrate Reductase Nitrate-Nitrogen Analysis Method, eliminates this problem but requires an expensive proprietary spectrophotometer. The development of an inexpensive portable, handheld photometer will greatly expedite field nitrate analysis to combat pollution. To accomplish this goal, a methodology for the design, development, and technical validation of an improved open-source water testing platform capable of performing Nitrate Reductase Nitrate-Nitrogen Analysis Method. This approach is evaluated for its potential to i) eliminate the need for toxic chemicals in water testing for nitrate and nitrite, ii) reduce the cost of equipment to perform this method for measurement for water quality, and iii) make the method easier to carryout in the field. The device is able to perform as well as commercial proprietary systems for less than 15% of the cost for materials. This allows for greater access to the technology and the new, safer nitrate testing technique.

Bill of Materials

Cost breakdown of the photometer case and electronics (Digikey part # unless externally referenced).

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Electronic Schematics

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How to use it

NECi Superior Enzymes
OS spectrometer being used to test soil with simplified nitrate test kit.

NECi's Nitrate Test Kits are enzyme based unlike other nitrate test kits commercially available. Enzymes are proteins, biologically derived, meaning that they are safe to handle and dispose of. These kits are easy to use and are excellent educational tools for learning about enzymatic activity, water quality, biochemistry, agriculture, and more. Ask about our "education discount" for classroom use. No laboratory training is required, and results are ready within 30 minutes.

Compact and lightweight kit design allows for easy instant on-site nitrate determination in the field. The US EPA and many states sponsor programs for citizens to monitor water quality in their community (More information from the EPA here). These kits will measure nitrate in both fresh and salt water.


In all cases you can get a rough estimate from the color chart - but to get precise readings as you would from a professional lab you need to use the open source photometer.

For more information on the test kits, contact NECi Superior Enzymes at 888.NITRATE or visit nitrate.com.

Water Instructions

You can use NECi colorimetric test kits with the photometer to measure nitrate content in:

  • Well water, drinking water, agricultural water, pond water
  • Streams, lakes, rivers, oceans, wetlands, and other environmental watersheds
  • Wastewater, industrial manufacturing effluent, and more
  • Aquarium, Hydroponic, Aquaculture, and Aquaponic water

Specifics:

Soil Instructions

For high crop yield, enough Nitrate needs to be available in the soil, while over-application results in wasted fertilizer. Make best use of manures in NMP compliance, practice good environmental stewardship to prevent groundwater nitrate runoff. Use this kit for pre-sidedress Soil Nitrate Testing for appropriate nutrient application.

The NECi kit will detect 0 ppm - 50 ppm Nitrate-N (50 ppm Nitrate-N = 250 lb N/acre)

Plant Petiole Nitrate Test Instructions

Use this kit to test for nitrate levels in plants and hone in on appropriate fertilizer application. Test corn and cotton stalks or the sap from petioles of leafy crops to monitor nitrate level fluctuations. For best results, refer to a Certified Crop Advisor for plant sampling advice. Refer to the Petiole Sap Nitrate Guidelines under Related Information for testing crop petioles.

This kit will detect 0 ppm - 1000 ppm Nitrate-N. (1000 ppm Nitrate-N = 5000 ppm Nitrate)

Green Forage Nitrate Test Instructions

The NECi Nitrate Test Kit for Livestock Feed is used to prevent livestock toxicity from excess nitrate, often caused by drought conditions.

See also

In the news

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