02 Sep 2022
Total phosphorus (TP) is the measurement of all phosphorus within a sample and whether Phosphorus is dissolved or particulate. Composed of orthophosphate, polyphosphate and organic Phosphorous, the test measures both dissolved and suspended orthophosphate as the sample is not filtered.
Water Total Phosphorus is examined after all forms of phosphates converted to orthophosphate and is commonly expressed as milligrams of phosphorus per litre of water (mg/L of P).
The EPA (Environmental Protection Administration) established a recommended limit of 0.05 mg/L for Total Phosphates in streams that enter lakes and 0.1 mg/L for total phosphorus in flowing waters.
As phosphates are chemical compounds containing Phosphorous, a key nutrient for both plants and animal growth. Whilst phosphate is essential for plants and animals, too much of it can cause a form of water pollution known as Eutrophication.
Eutrophication also referred to as “nutrient-induced increase in phytoplankton productivity” can lead to depletion of dissolved oxygen in water and decreased biodiversity.
In the nitrogen cycle with sufficient oxygen, ammonia nitrogen can be converted into nitrite and nitrate, which may cause cancers in the human body. Dissolved ammonia can also be toxic to fish, animals and humans.
Reactive Phosphorus combines with Molybdate in an acid medium to form a phosphomolybdate complex. Vanadium, contained in Molybdovanadate Reagent, reacts with the complex to form Vanadomolybdophosphoric acid. Intensity of the resulting yellow colour is proportional to the concentration of reactive phosphorus.