Determination of trace amounts of molybdenum (or tungsten) in water by polarography

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"Molybdenum is an essential trace element for plant growth. Since it occurs in natural waters only in trace amount, a very sensitive method of determination is needed. Using the following polarographic method, it is possible to determine 5·10-10 mol/L resp. 50 ng/L.
The principle of the method is based on the reaction between the molybdate ion MoO42- and the complexing agent 8-hydroxy-7-iodo-quinoline-5-sulfonic acid (H2L) to form a MoO2L22- complex, which is adsorbed on the mercury electrode. The adsorbed Mo(VI) is reduced electrochemically to the Mo(V) complex. The hydrogen ions present in the solution oxidize Mo(V) again spontaneously to form the Mo(VI) complex, which is thus newly available for electrochemical reduction. This catalytic reaction is the reason for the high sensitivity of the method.
Tungsten W(VI) exhibits practically the same electrochemical behavior as molybdenum, but is not described in detail in this Application Bulletin."