For the purpose of clay examination, a new one-step method for the removal of organic matter was developed using sodium peroxodisulphate combined with different buffers such as sodium hydrogen carbonate, disodium hydrogen phosphate and disodium tetraborate. From an early Cretaceous black shale from the Apennines with a high organic carbon content, the <2 mu m clay fraction was separated and contained 10.9 wt% organic carbon. To prevent decomposition of the clay layers, the period of oxidation was short (25-60 min) and the pH was kept between 5 and 9.5. Up to 98% of carbon was removed by this method.

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