Evaluation of the Single Dilute (0.43 M) Nitric Acid Extraction to Determine Geochemically Reactive Elements in Soil

Jan E. Groenenberg*, Paul F.A.M. Römkens, André van Zomeren, S.M. Rodrigues, Rob N.J. Comans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Recently a dilute nitric acid extraction (0.43 M) was adopted by ISO (ISO-17586:2016) as standard for extraction of geochemically reactive elements in soil and soil like materials. Here we evaluate the performance of this extraction for a wide range of elements by mechanistic geochemical modeling. Model predictions indicate that the extraction recovers the reactive concentration quantitatively (>90%). However, at low ratios of element to reactive surfaces the extraction underestimates reactive Cu, Cr, As, and Mo, that is, elements with a particularly high affinity for organic matter or oxides. The 0.43 M HNO3 together with more dilute and concentrated acid extractions were evaluated by comparing model-predicted and measured dissolved concentrations in CaCl2 soil extracts, using the different extractions as alternative model-input. Mean errors of the predictions based on 0.43 M HNO3 are generally within a factor three, while Mo is underestimated and Co, Ni and Zn in soils with pH > 6 are overestimated, for which possible causes are discussed. Model predictions using 0.43 M HNO3 are superior to those using 0.1 M HNO3 or Aqua Regia that under- and overestimate the reactive element contents, respectively. Low concentrations of oxyanions in our data set and structural underestimation of their reactive concentrations warrant further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2246-2253
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2017


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