In order to find the most efficient digestion method for the total elemental recovery in peat, ten samples were subjected to different techniques and analysed for Ca, Mg, Fe, AI, Na, K, Mn, P, Zn, Cu, Li, Cd, Co, Ni, Pb and Si using atomic-absorption spectrophotometry. The most satisfactory procedures were dry ashing followed by hydrofluoric acid treatment and wet digestion using a mixture of hot nitric, perchloric and hydrofluoric acids. The wet digestion offers the advantage of a single decomposition method for the determination of Ca, Mg, Fe, AI, K, Na, Mn, Cu, Li, Zn and P. An alkaline fusion technique was required for the determination of Si. Hydrogen peroxide was used to separate the peat into its organic and inorganic components, leading to the total recovery of the elements for both fractions.
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Comparison of digestion methods for total elemental analysis of peat and separation of its organic and inorganic components