Green Chemistry for Total Phosphorus: Lab and Test Kit Methods

Environmental Sensors and Instrumentation
Oral Presentation

Prepared by E. Campbell, B. Campbell, T. Kinnunen-Skidmore, A. Marceau, PhD
NECi Superior Enzymes, 334 Hecla St, Lake Linden, MI, 49945-1323, United States

Contact Information:; 906-296-1000


NECi developed an enzyme-based method for detection of phosphate in water under grants from the SBIR program of the USDA and NSF. The concept had been established in biomedical research but not for environmental or agricultural matrices. NECi created a recombinant version of the enzyme Purine Nucleoside Phosphorylase (PNP) based on its ability to attach orthophosphate to the substrate MESG (7-Methyl-6-thioguanosine). Detection is at 360nm. The reaction is fast and the assay is simple. USDA funding focused on orthophosphate detection in soil extracts (open access publication, Campbell et al, The assay has been validated in house for waste and ground water samples. NECi developed a low cost handheld, Bluetooth-enabled double beam photometer and simplified versions of the method for use by citizen scientists and farm managers. More recently, NECi developed simple method for Total Nitrogen using a home pressure cooker: (also open access, Studt et al, This presentation describes application of alkaline persulfate hydrolysis for Total N to Total P, showing that NECi’s enzyme-based methods are compatible with the hydrolysis reagents. Lab and test kit variations are validated. The overarching goal of this work is to enable anyone to set up a lab for N and P species that yields high quality data on environmental and agricultural samples at low cost for users at any skill level.