(1) It is proposed to estimate the amount of organic carbon in soils by determining the amount of sulphur dioxide produced in the ordinary Kjeldahl digestion. The gaseous products of reaction are passed through standard iodine solution, and the excess iodine titrated with standard sodium thiosulphate. Details of the method are given.
(2) The results obtained with a number of soils of differing character and origin are compared with the figures obtained for organic carbon by dry combustion. The sulphur dioxide method gives results which average 89.6 ±1.03 per cent, of the combustion figures. It is proposed therefore that the percentage of organic carbon found by this method should be corrected by the factor 100/89.6 = 1.116.
(3) The percentage recovery of carbon indicated by the proposed method is rather higher for pure substances but still falls short of 100 per cent.
(4) The proposed method is applicable to carbonate soils without the necessity for any correction for inorganic carbon.
(5) It is likely that soils containing inorganic reducing substances such, as sulphides will give high results by the proposed method.
(6) Absorbing the sulphur dioxide in 25 per cent, sodium bichromate, it is possible to determine the carbon dioxide by passing the gases through standard baryta in a Reiset tower. The organic carbon thus indicated agrees with that by the sulphur dioxide method.
(7) From data with certain peats, it appears that the factor 1.724 for converting organic carbon to organic matter is too low.