Determination of Vitamin C by Redox Titration with Iodine
This method determines the vitamin C concentration in a solution by a redox titration using iodine. Vitamin C, more properly called ascorbic acid, is an essential antioxidant needed by the human body (see additional notes on the pdf below).
As the iodine is added during the titration, the ascorbic acid is oxidised to dehydroascorbic acid, while the iodine is reduced to iodide ions.
ascorbic acid + I2 --> 2 I- + dehydroascorbic acid
Due to this reaction, the iodine formed is immediately reduced to iodide as long as there is any ascorbic acid present. Once all the ascorbic acid has been oxidised, the excess iodine is free to react with the starch indicator, forming the blue-black starch-iodine complex. This is the endpoint of the titration.
The method is suitable for use with vitamin C tablets, fresh or packaged fruit juices and solid fruits and vegetables.
NB: This method is more straight forward than the alternative method using potassium iodate, but as the potassium iodate solution is more stable than the iodine as a primary standard, the alternative method is more reliable.
Method for junior school students
We recommend that junior school students who wish to carry out this type of analysis for a science fair project use the method published by CSIRO here. It is much more simple and can be easily followed, though is not as accurate as the senior school method on this page.)
To download a printable version of the method use the link below:
Vitamin C Titration with Iodine (PDF 182Kb)
Please note that Outreach support for these experiments is limited to NZ school students and teachers, and we are unable to answer queries from overseas.