Importance of Iron Element in Body of Human

Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・Chemistry ・APA ・3 Sources

Iron is a key component nutritionally required in the human body, especially in the blood cells. The deficiency of the iron is fatal as it leads to anaemia which impacts a number of blood processes. The processes being affected encompass erythropoiesis and haemoglobin production. In this regard, iron as an element forms the nucleus of the iron-porphyrin ring termed as haeme. Being an vital component of our diet, iron is mostly determined in cereals in which case our bodies pharmacokinetically responds to it. The experiment used to be carried out basing on a number of chemical techniques really worth the discussion in this report. The analysis and determination of the composition of the iron in the cereals demands the use of a several analytical chemistry techniques, which depends on the analyte in question (Shrivas & Dewangan, 2015).

The cereal used follows a number of processes depending on the photochemical properties derived from the analyte. This in turn will direct on the analytical technique used, the technique used for this experiment is U-V Visible Spectrometry. The technique always involves a series of steps, which are sampling, preparation, chemical analysis of the analyte, defining the reference standards of the technique, and interpretation of the results displayed by the technique used. Considering the U-V Visible Spectrometry technique, the method is deemed fit due to the characteristic colour of the mass of iron in the sample cereal. This is determined by the reddish brown colour of a chemical compound called hexathiocyanatoferrate (III) iron (Yu et al., 2016). The spectrophotometer is used to give the readings in terms of absorbance of the analyte, which is comparatively matched with the prepared standards.

The relationship between absorbance, concentration, and transmittance is found using Beers law, A = abc = log (100/%T) 2 - log %T


A = absorbance, a = absorptivity, b = light path of the solution (cm), c = concentration, %T = percent transmittance.

Sample preparation, entails ashing process where the unwanted organic matter present in the cereal. In this process, combustion is applied where the inorganic material in the iron which turns to iron (III) oxide. The resulting oxides are digested by using acids, to form a complex, [Fe (H2O)6]3+/[Fe (H2O)6]2+. Also, the chemical analysis, the complexes are converted into the red component, hexathiocyanatoferrate (III) iron, [Fe (SCN)6]3- which is easily measurable using U-V Spectrometry. This is done using the following equation;

[Fe (H2O)6]3+ + 6SCN- → [Fe (SCN)6]3- + 6H2O. However, different thiocyanate complexes are formed, each of them has its own wavelength in the maximum intensity region, λmax.

Pertaining the reference standards, known concentrations of Fe2+ and Fe3+ are always used as stocks, diluted, and incorporated with a specific amount of the acid, thiocyanate, and the oxidant. This is done so as to ensure the analyte mixture is emulated. λmax and absorptivity coefficient for the mixture are the major determinants. Therefore, through these values, a working range in accordance with the transmittance value is determined. The same stock solution is used in the analysis of the sample of the cereal together with the blank sample.

In this consideration, the sample used was multigrain banana, apricot cereal sachet. Which is a source of iron. The sample was treated chemically, however a number of limitations crop up in using the technique in analysis of the concentration of iron in the sample. For instance, during ashing and digestion most of the iron was not oxidized in the cereals. Additionally, not all the unwanted organic matter may have been successfully removed from the analyte and this may affect the analysis of iron in the cereals. (Yu et al., 2016)

The experiment was aimed at determining qualitatively the quantity of iron in the cereal and matched to the quoted amount of iron on the cereal packaging.


In carrying out this experiment, a number of reagents and apparatus were used. A defined procedure was also followed to achieve the results.

The Apparatus and Reagents

The apparatus used include; 100ML conical flasks, dispenser, measuring cylinders, beakers, weighing balance, source of heat, porcelain dishes, volumetric flask, droppers, and UV Spectrometer equipment. Also, the reagents used are; Concentrated Hydrochloric acid, deionized water, 3M Nitric acid, 0.5M Potassium thiocyanate, 0.2M Potassium persulfate, stock solution of 30 mg L-1 Fe3+ or Fe2+, and multigrain banana, apricot cereal sachet as a sample.

Experimental Procedure

The experiment was carried out in two steps and each step occurred in a period of one week. During the first week, ashing took place, where 3g of multigrain banana, apricot cereal sachet sample was weighed and its mass recorded. The mass was transferred to the furnace and heated to a temperature of about 550oC. When ashing was done, standard solution preparations begun.

The ash in a 100ML conical flask was added 2ML of concentrated Nitric acid followed by 2ML of concentrated hydrochloric acid. The resulting mixture was given time to stand for about 5 minutes in a fume chamber. The mixture was then added 5ML of water in small portions and then swirled and boiled gently in a fume hood for 10-15 minutes. The solution was not allowed to boil off, 3M HCl, was added to prevent this effect. The solution was cooled and filtered to remove solid materials. The liquid collected was transferred into a clean sample bottle. In doing this, deionized water was used to rinse the solution into a bottle. This solution was labelled using student name, ID, and original mass of the sample (Maciel et al., 2014).

The second step/part was used to find the right concentration range of standards. This was done by using a provided stock solution containing 30mg L-1 Fe3+ or Fe2+, its accurate concentration was recorded. 5mLof the stock was transfer to a 50mL volumetric flask using a pipette. Furthermore, 30mL of 0.5M potassium thiocyanate (KSCN), 3.3mL solution of 3M Nitric acid, and 5mL of 0.2M potassium persulfate was added using a cylinder. The volume of the volumetric flask was then made to mark using deionized water. The solution was mixed well by shaking and left to equilibrate for 15 minutes. A blank was also prepared into a 50mL flask with all the reagents except Fe2+/3+, a plastic dropper pipette was then used to transfer the solutions into two plastic 1cm cuvettes which were inserted into the UV Spectrometer. The instruction pertaining the use of the equipment was followed and the wavelength that gave maximum absorption (λmax) for a spectrum of Fe3+ solution was determined and recorded. The instrument was set as per the determined value of λmax and the absorbance of the solution was determined. The transmittance of the solutions was used to calculate a number of parameters (Maciel et al., 2014).

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