Journal of
Soil Science and Environmental Management

  • Abbreviation: J. Soil Sci. Environ. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2391
  • DOI: 10.5897/JSSEM
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 314

Full Length Research Paper

Optimization of the analytical method for the determination of organic matter

Zeyede Aregahegn
  • Zeyede Aregahegn
  • Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Researches, P. O. Box 2003, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 24 September 2019
  •  Accepted: 31 January 2020
  •  Published: 29 February 2020


Soil organic matter represents the remains of roots, plant materials, dead organisms in varies stages of decomposition and synthesis and is variable in composition. Walkley-Black method for the determination of organic matter is the most common method; however, it requires a lot of reagents and chemicals including potassium dichromate which is toxic especially when it is in a hexavalent form. It is very important to be able to reduce the amount of chemicals used during the analysis of organic carbon and it is also very important to reduce environmental pollution since the chemicals released to the environment becomes toxic. As the weight of sample decreases from 1 g (a Walkley-Black recommendation) proportionally with volume of reagents, there is no significant difference shown on the value of organic matter. Using orthophosphuric acid during organic matter determination did not have an impact on the results; however, it helps to observe a sharp endpoint. When the volume of diphenylamine indicator reduces from 15 to 4 drops, the result of organic matter has no significant difference.

Key words: Organic matter, optimization, analytical method, Walkley-Black, potassium dichromate.