When using a bomb calorimeter to combust meat, do I need to work out the sulphur content for meat?
March 15, 2011 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Will the amount of sulphur in waste meat greatly affect the amount of energy produced from combusting waste meat?

I have been working on a graduate project of the combustion of waste meat using a bomb calorimeter.

I'm aware that I may need to compensate for the amount of sulphur that's in the meat due to its affect on the energy; but is it enough to make a difference or can I just class it as a negligible amount?
posted by sockpim to Science & Nature (2 answers total)
The analytical chem answer is yes. It shouldn't be hard to spike a couple of samples with an appropriate sulpher compound and see if it makes a noticeable impact. I f needed you could probably find out the amount by combustion analysis, as it can do CNOS.

Bomb cal is very sensative, I once had an experiment not work as the data was obscured by the jitter in the micropipette I was using, though the bomb cal was accurate/precise enough to measure that value.
posted by Canageek at 9:40 AM on March 15, 2011

I'm under the impression that most of the sulfur dioxide in/on meat is basically sprayed on as a topical preservative. This stuff washes off.

But sulfur is a critical component of two amino acids, and far heavier any other element in said molecules, so there's going to be a decent mass of it in any given sample of meat. For example, the single atom of sulfur in cysteine accounts for about 26% of its molecular weight.

I don't really know what you're trying to do here, but depending on your specific application, this may be something you want to account for.
posted by valkyryn at 11:40 AM on March 15, 2011

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