Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen

What is it?

The Kjeldahl process measures the amount of nitrogen that a water sample contains in the form of ammonia and in biological forms.

Why is it important?

The presence of ammonia in the water can be a cause of excessive plant growth which may prove harmful to the health of aquatic ecosystems. While ammonia in water is naturally converted to nitrate, this conversion removes oxygen from the water, which may cause an adverse impact on fish and invertebrates.

What does it mean?

While it’s difficult to say what a normal Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen (TKN) value is, the higher it is, the more likely you have a problem. Typically the higher the level, the algae blooms, less water clarity, and less oxygen there will be in the water. If you see a sudden spike in this value, or have noticed more plant growth or algae blooms, it could indicate a problem with sewage treatment, agriculture, urban developments, paper plants, industrial waste, recreation, or mining (blasting residuals).

Water Rangers Protocol

We do not currently include a test for this in our kit; this is a lab test done by some of our professional partners. If you know a test that is accurate, affordable and easy-to-use, let us know!

Contributing to the community!

Water Rangers is citizen-scientist led. So, if you have any questions, ideas, or notice any errors related to conductivity, please tell us!