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Analyst. 1990 Jul;115(7):959-63.

Nitriles and isonitriles as interferents in cyanide determination in polluted waters.

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  • 1Departament de Química Analítica, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.


The interference of nitriles and isonitriles in cyanide determination was studied using the pyridine-barbituric acid direct spectrophotometric method or the same method after distillation of the sample, a microdiffusion-potentiometric (ion-selective electrode) also being used. Phenylacetonitrile, benzonitrile, acrylonitrile, iminodiacetonitrile and acetonitrile were tested as nitriles. Benzyl isocyanide butyl isocyanide and 1-[(isocyanomethyl)sulphonyl]-4-methylbenzene were assayed as isonitriles. It can be concluded that both nitriles and isonitriles should be considered as interferents in all the methods of cyanide determination studied. The level of interference generally increases with the ratio of interfering compound to cyanide and is greatest for low cyanide concentrations.

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