How well a particular plant or a crop performs is very dependent on the fertility of the soil. For a complete picture, parameters like carbon, nitrogen, and nitrate, but also certain metals need to be assessed. On the other hand, contaminants must be avoided. Bruker’s spectroscopy solutions enable a rapid analysis in the lab or in the field.
XRF is a fast, nondestructive technology for elemental analysis of macro-nutrients, micro-nutrients, and heavy metals of the entire plant system, including seeds, soil, irrigants, fertilizers, the root system, and the shoot system. Bruker’s Elemental Analyzer portfolio includes high-throughput lab-based ED-XRF and WD-XRF, point-and-shoot handheld XRF, micro-XRF, and ultra-trace analysis TXRF spectrometers.
Bruker offers both FT-IR and FT-NIR spectrometers widely used for soil analysis applications. FT-NIR spectroscopy offers a fast and cost-effective tool for analyzing total carbon and total nitrogen in soil, two parameters that help to better understand and manage the effects of fertilization.
Infrared spectroscopy is increasingly being used as a supplement and alternative to conventional soil testing methods for the estimation of many soil functional properties and plants properties.
NIR allows measurement of larger sample volumes and is less demanding in terms of sample preparation. While MIR requires grinding to fine particles, it often achieves more accurate calibrations and is useful for a greater number of parameters.
Examples of parameters which can be monitored:
Although FT-NIR spectroscopy is mainly used for the analysis of organic substances, it can also be utilized to determine the concentration of minerals, since they have an influence on the shape of the water absorption band. Thus, in e.g. a granulated NPK fertilizer total nitrogen, total phosphorus and water-soluble potassium content can be determined. In addition to the sum parameters (e.g. total nitrogen), the individual components such as ammonium nitrogen or nitrate nitrogen, etc. can also be determined. Moreover, the determination of added minerals or elements such as calcium or magnesium can be possible, depending on the matrix and concentration.
Several measurement points are advisable for a production of granulated fertilizer in order to test the composition of the raw material before it enters the process as well as the final product after mixing or granulation ensures optimum product control. These measurement points can be monitored using multichannel process FT-NIR spectrometry.
Portable Elemental Analysis for Healthy Plants and Soils