Trace metal characterization of soils using the Optima 7300 DV ICP-OES

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Courtesy of PerkinElmer, Inc.

Soil testing helps diagnose soil health and guides in the development of soilspecific and crop-specific remedies. It is an indispensable tool to assure national food safety, nutritional accuracy, maintenance of soil health and enhancement of soil fertility. Based on this analysis, farmers may be advised on soil fertility to make agriculture more productive and sustainable. Micronutrient analysis in soil is becoming increasingly important, as soils across the globe are found to be deficient in one or more micronutrients. Availability and proportion of micronutrients in the soil ensures higher farming productivity. Soil analysis tests primarily focus on elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium etc. In drier areas, micronutrients such as iron, zinc, manganese, and copper are often measured, since deficiencies of these elements are more frequently associated with soils from such areas, while excessive or toxic levels of some elements like sodium may exist. Apart from micronutrient analysis, there is a concern about environmental pollution. As a result of increased industrial activities and waste disposal, soils available for cultivation and farming are nowadays becoming increasingly contaminated with toxic heavy metals. These metals include cadmium, chromium, lead etc. which are not required for the healthy growth of crops. Hence there is a need to monitor the presence of toxic heavy metals in soils available for farming.1-3

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