The cobaltinitrite method, in the volumetric form here described in detail, enables known amounts of potassium to be accounted for quantitatively, independently of the presence of alkaline earth sulphates, or phosphates, provided that the amount of potassium is not varied over too great a range. The factor 0·000830 gm. K2O per c.c. N/10 KMnO4 suits the procedure described over a range of about 3 to 50 mg. K2O. Outside this range, or for highly accurate work within it, it may be desirable to calibrate the method.
The method may be applied, in plant-ash analyses, indifferently to the original extracts containing other bases and phosphates, or to the mixed sulphates weighed for sodium and potassium together. It is applicable to small-quantity work upon soils with greater exactness and speed than is the perchlorate method. Citric acid extracts can be handled, with a relatively short manipulation, to give satisfactory results.
Some analyses of ammonium chloride extracts have been unsatisfactory, and attention is called to the desirability of setting exchangeable potassium determinations upon a firmer analytical basis, by investigation of methods of freeing the extracts from ammonium salts.