Through the cycling of nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, and other elements, the maintaining of homeostasis occurs. Homeostasis is the stability of organismsí environments needed in order to sustain conditions appropriate for their lives. Nitrogen makes up 78% of air; however, it is not in a condition that is useable due to its atmospheric condition. Consequently, it is cycled so that it can be in an efficient, useful form. The nitrogen cycle relates to the water testing of nitrates, through which, the water cycles through a similar concept in comparison with nitrogen. The nitrogen that is released eventually makes its way into the water by plants and animals, the same procedure that the nitrogen cycles through.

Atmospheric nitrogen converts into nitrogen-containing compounds that are useful for living things. The cycle begins with storm clouds, and thus, the lightening gives off nitrates to the plants. The plants then modify this into molecules that include nitrogen. At this point, herbivores, which are plant-eating animals, eat the plants which are converting the nitrogen-containing plant proteins into nitrogen-containing animal proteins. Lastly, when the animal dies, it restores the nitrogen into the atmosphere by its decaying.

Nitrates are a form of the element nitrogen. Nitrates, a major component in farm fertilizers, are essential for the production of crops. After it rains, different amounts of nitrates wash from the farmlands to nearby waterways. Other ways for nitrates to get into waterways come from lawn fertilizer run-off, leaking septic tanks and cesspools, manure from farm livestock, animal wastes, and discharges from car exhausts. Nitrates accelerate the growth of plankton and waterweeds that provide food for fish and consequently increases the fish population. But if algae grow too rapidly, oxygen levels decrease and the fish will die.


RANGE 0.2 - 1.0 ppm
  1. Fill test tube (0844) to 2.5 mL line with sample water.
  2. Dilute to 5 mL line with *Mixed Acid Reagent (V-6278). Cap and mix. Wait 2 minutes.
  3. Use the 0.1g spoon (0699) to add one level measure (avoid excess) of *Nitrate Reducing Reagent (V-6279). Cap and invert 30-40 times in one minute. Wait 10 minutes.
  4. Mix and remove cap. Insert test tube into the Nitrate-N and Phosphate comparator (3120) with the Axial Reader (2071). Match the sample color to a color standard. Record as ppm Nitrate-N.
To convert result to nitrate, multiply reading by 4.4. Record as ppm Nitrate.