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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Potential of Spectroscopic Methods for the Rapid Analysis of Soil Samples

Authors
item Reeves Iii, James
item McCarty, Gregory
item Follett, Ronald
item Kimble, J - NRCS

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 21, 2004
Publication Date: July 19, 2006
Citation: Reeves III, J.B., Mccarty, G.W., Follett, R.F., Kimble, J.M. 2006. The potential of spectroscopic methods for the rapid analysis of soil samples. In: Lal, L., Cerri, C.C., Bernoux, M., Etchevers, J., Cerri, E., editors. Carbon Sequestration in Soils of Latin America. New York, NY: The Haworth Press. p. 423-442.

Interpretive Summary: Near- and mid-infrared spectroscopy used light beyond the visible range of humans to determine the composition of materials containing organic matter. Due to an interest in both removing carbon from the atmosphere and placing it in soil (C-sequestration) and in finding more rapid means to analyze soil samples, great interest has been shown in using these methods for soil analysis. Results using a variety of data sets have demonstrated that near- and mid-infrared spectroscopy (DRIFTS) show great potential for the determination of soil composition, especially soil C. While mid-infrared calibrations for soil C appear to be more accurate and robust, the use of DRIFTS for quantitative analysis is not nearly as developed as is NIR and may be more difficult to make field portable. With reasonable input of resources, spectroscopy has the potential to generate the extensive data bases on soil properties needed for generating spatial structure maps for soil properties that can then be used for site-specific management of agricultural lands. Results have also shown that accurate calibrations can be developed using near- or mid-infrared spectra for the determination of a number of compositional parameters including total C, total N, pH, and many measures of biological activity as reflected by enzyme activities and measures of biologically active N. While efforts at determining the robustness of mid-infrared calibrations indicated that mid-infrared soil calibrations generally perform in a manner similar to NIR calibrations, differences found indicate that the basis for mid-infrared calibrations may at times be different.

Technical Abstract: Results using a variety of data sets have demonstrated that near- and mid-infrared spectroscopy (DRIFTS) show great potential for the determination of soil composition, especially soil C. While mid-infrared calibrations for soil C appear to be more accurate and robust, the use of DRIFTS for quantitative analysis is not nearly as developed as is NIR and may be more difficult to make field portable. With reasonable input of resources, spectroscopy has the potential to generate the extensive data bases on soil properties needed for generating spatial structure maps for soil properties that can then be used for site-specific management of agricultural lands. Results have also shown that accurate calibrations can be developed using near- or mid-infrared spectra for the determination of a number of compositional parameters including total C, total N, pH, and many measures of biological activity as reflected by enzyme activities and measures of biologically active N. While efforts at determining the robustness of mid-infrared calibrations indicated that mid-infrared soil calibrations generally perform in a manner similar to NIR calibrations, differences found indicate that the basis for mid-infrared calibrations may at times be different.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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