An improved fast and high throughput method for the sequential measurement of nitrate and nitrite in water samples

Summary of the technology

We have developed an improved fast and sequential protocol that permits the determination of low concentrations of nitrite and nitrate in aquatic samples using small volumes. It is ideal to analyse large sets of samples with different characteristics, since it is enough a small amount of water the volume and cost of reagents and consumables are reduced.

Description of the technology

This fast and efficient method to determine sequentially the levels of nitrite and nitrate in water samples in low concentrations (<0.05 - 30 μM ). The application of this method would render possible the design of portable measuring units to determine the concentrations of nitrite and nitrate in water samples. Its owner offers the license to those able to develope commercial or industrial applications of this scientific result.


Comparison of the patented method with the established cadmium column method using samples from a variety of salinities and environments (fresh water reservoir, sediment pore water, estuarine water samples and samples from an acid mine drainage impacted reservoir) showed good agreement between the two methods (paired t-test , t = -0736, p = 0.472, n = 17). Proving that the vanadium reduction method using spectrophotometry does not bias the results.

Main advantages of its use

  • Allows the analysis to be performed in small sample volumes (≤1 mL) for the determination of both NO3- and NO2- thus reducing incurred costs
  • Allows to measure first nitrite and then nitrate in the same volume of sample
  • Has a detection limit <0.05 µM for the determination of NO3- + NO2- concentrations lower than 30 µM.
  • In its standard form allows analyzing efficiently large batches (~60 samples) in less than one hour
  • Is efficient in samples from a variety of environments (fresh water reservoir, sediment pore water, estuarine water samples and samples from an acid mine drainage impacted reservoir).


  • A portable measurement kit for the determination of nitrate and nitrite in the same sample can be developed.
  • As a result of this adaptation a new module for an nutrient autoanalyser system could be produced reducing sample and reagent costs to half.

Related Keywords

  • Marine Environment
  • Measurement and Detection of Pollution
  • Electronic measurement systems
  • Marine Science
  • Mining Technologies
  • Industrial Water Treatment
  • Soil and Groundwater Pollution
  • Chromatographs and related laboratory equipment (including spectrometers)
  • Other analytical and scientific instrumentation
  • Water treatment equipment and waste disposal systems
  • Test Facilities Methods
  • chemical testing
  • Scientific instrumentation
  • Water analysis equipment
  • nitrate
  • nitrite
  • water samples
  • water pollution
  • NO3-
  • NO2-

About Universidad de Cádiz

The university of Cadiz is a state university with 4 campuses and more than 2,000 lecturers. It is located at South Spain and it is one of the nine state universities in Andalusia, Spain. We have in our portfolio more than 100 patents for licensing, looking for potential investors.

Universidad de Cádiz

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