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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005-1436

An Evaluation of a Field-Based Method to Prepare Fresh Water Samples for Analysis of Sulfite and Thiosulfate by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)

Published 2006
Online only
Version 1.0

By Anne L. Bates, William H. Orem, Harry E. Lerch, Margo D. Corum and Marisa Beck


This study provides an evauluation of a high-performance liquid chromatrograph method for analyzing sulfite and thiosulfate in fresh water field samples. Unlike other methods used for the analysis of sulfite and thiosulfate, this technique offers the advantage of being suitable for analysis of samples collected in the field far from a laboratory. Sulfite and thiosulfate are stabilized in the field by fixation with a derivatizing agent. The sulfite- and thiosulfate-derivative complexes are then stabilized on C-18 syringe cartridges. The cartridges are transported to the laboratory for analysis at a later date.

This study attempts to reproduce the results reported in the literature and to adapt this method to the equipment available in our laboratory and to the fresh surface water and pore water samples collected in south Florida.

Results of recovery experiments indicate that the thiosulfate-derivative complex is fully recovered and stable with a maximum error of 15 % at the lowest concentrations for thiosulfate. The sulfite-derivative complex is fully recovered, however, the sulfite-derivative peak areas increase with time. In order to quantify sulfite, a peak enhancement correction factor must be applied, which increases the error to 15 % to 20 % at lower concentrations of sulfite.


This report is available in Adobe Reader format.

Open-File Report 2005-1436 [385-KB PDF].

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For scientific questions or comments concerning this report, contact Anne L. Bates.

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