Journal of Polymers and the Environment

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 634–637 | Cite as

A Simple Assay for Monitoring Cellulose in Paper-Spiked Soil

  • Terrence R. Green
  • Radu Popa
Original Paper


We describe a simple method for measuring cellulose in soil. We used this method to measure the recovery of shredded office paper and pure medium fiber cellulose added to a Helvetia silt loam clay soil. This method consists of solvating cellulose from soil with 77% H2SO4 and analysis of the cellulose recovered by the phenol-sulfuric acid carbohydrate assay. Unlike previous related methods the modifications we propose allow good recovery of cellulose (~99%) and eliminate the need to autoclave the samples. We verified this method on soil spiked with up to 12% cellulose and found a good linear relationship between the amounts of cellulose added relative to that recovered. With proper fragmentation and dilution of the acid-treated soil samples, higher concentrations can be easily measured. We propose this technique as a robust and high throughput means to monitor the degradation of cellulose in paper spiked soil.


Cellulose Soil Method Phenol-sulfuric acid 



We thank Portland State University and Bokashicycle LLC for support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TGA LLCLake OswegoUSA
  2. 2.Biology DepartmentPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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