An Experimental Demonstration of a Multi-element Flame Photometer: Determination of Salt Concentration in Soy Sauce

  •  Hiu Chu    
  •  Spencer Taylor    


The routine determination of some group 1 and group 2 metals is important because of their biological, physiological and industrial relevance. Flame atomic emission spectrometry, or flame photometry (FP), is well-suited to the determination of several alkali and alkaline earth metals which are easily ionized in a gas flame. Here, we consider the application of flame photometry as a simple but sensitive analytical method which is normally restricted to the determination of one element at a time. We have demonstrated the use of a new multi-element instrument for the simultaneous determination of four cations, namely Li+, Na+, K+ and Ca2+ in six different brands of soy sauce currently available in the UK. The Na+ concentrations are compared with quoted nutrition values given on the product labels, and found to be in very good agreement for “low-salt” soy sauce, but some departures were noted in the higher salt products, the present results indicating higher salt content than the supplied data. Li+ concentrations were below the detection limit (i.e., <1 mg/L under the conditions used in this study). This demonstration study has shown multi-element flame photometry to be a straightforward means of analysing water-based products that could be more widely adopted for many different applications. Typical maximum concentrations for the direct analysis of aqueous solutions were found to be 50 mg/L (Li+), 200 mg/L (Na+, K+) and 1000 mg/L (Ca2+). Although not the primary goal of this study, we noted some variance between the present results and values quoted on some of the products. This may relate to the use of indirect methods for estimating salt (sodium) concentrations. The use of flame photometry, however, would provide a rapid measurement of important cations in a wide range of applications.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9698
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9701
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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