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Comparison of Methods

for Ammonium Determination


of Drinking Water Using Spectrophotometry UV-Vis
1*
Ashadi Sasongko ,
1Kalimantan

2
3
Rista Wahyu Nugroho , Dini Mulyani

Institute of Technology, Balikpapan, Indonesia; 2Diploma Program, Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia; 3Balai Pengujian Mutu Barang, Jakarta, Indonesia

* ashadisasongko@itk.ac.id
Background
People choose bottled water for a variety of reasons including aesthetics (for example, taste) and health concerns.
Bottled drinking water must be tested in laboratory based on certain criterias before sold to consumers. One of
parameter, based on Indonesian Health Minister Regulations, is the level of ammonium not exceed 1.5 ppm. National
Standardization Agency of Indonesia (BSN) had issued two standard methods for ammonium analysis, Nessler method
(SNI 01-03554-1998) and phenate method (SNI 01-03554-2006) [1]. Both can be examined and compared to find out
which one is better.

Aims
To compare the methods in ammonium determination, technically (ease of handling) and statistically.

Experimental Approach
Ammonium determination was performed using spectrophotometer. Small amount of ammonium was determined by
standard addition (0.3863 ppm). Results of the analysis were statistically processed to provide a description of
differences between two methods including linearity, precision, accuracy, and significance test.
Nessler method (SNI 01-3553-1998)
1. Nessler reagent was prepared by mixing 25 g
HgI2 and 17.5 g KI in 250 mL water contained
12.5 mL NaOH 8 mol L-1
2. Sample was added by 2 mL of reagent
3. Yellow solution was measured at 420 nm

Phenate method (SNI 01-3553-2006)


1. Sample was added by 1 mL phenol, 1 mL sodium
nitroprusside, and 2.5 mL sodium hypochlorite
2. Blue solution was measured at 640 nm [2]

NH4 + 2[HgI4] + 4 OH HgO.Hg(NH2)I + 7I + 3H2O


+

Results
The table below show comparation of linearity, precision anda accuracy of two methods. The values could accepted
statistically[3]. The F-test determines if the variances of two data sets are the same. Based on the results of the F-test,
the t-test can be used to determine if the means of two data sets are the same.
Linearity

precision

Accuracy

(correlation coefficient, r)

(% Relative Std. Dev.)

(% Recovery)

Nessler method

0.9995

3.41

101.05

0.4131

Phenate method

0.9995

3.64

105.63

0.3951

Comparation

Mean

F calc

1.040

F tab

4.284*

1.99x10-4

t calc

2.362

2.07x10-4

t tab

2.45*

Variance,

s2

Nessler method was more simple than phenate one, because the preparation was only by adding the Nessler reagent
into the sample. Whereas in phenate method, addition of phenol, sodium nitroprusside, citrate and sodium
hypochlorite should be prepared freshly into the sample because the reagent was not stable. But this method was
more sensitive.
Fcalc was less than Ftab, so the variances of two methods were not significant different, and of tcalc was lower than ttab,
so different methods of ammonium analysis didnt affects the results at the 95% confidence level*.

Conclusions
The Nessler method was simple, but the phenate method was more sensitive. Whereas based on statistical analysis,
there was no significant difference of two methods, so that both were still valid and interchangeable.
Acknowledgement
Thanks to Laboratory of Food and
Beverage, Balai Pengujian Mutu
Barang (BPMB) Jakarta for
providing chemicals and
instruments for analysis

References
[1] Standar Nasional Indonesia. 2006. SNI 01-3553-2006. Jakarta : Badan Standardisasi Nasional
[2] Hasri and Mudasir. 2002. Study of The Effect of Ethanol Addition And Solution Heating on The
Determination of Ammonia in Water by Indophenol Method, Indonesian Journal of Chem, Vol. 2(2): 97-101
[3] Harmita. 2004. Petunjuk Pelaksanaan Validasi Metode dan Cara Perhitungannya. Jakarta : FMIPA-UI