Add Products to the Cart to Obtain Instant Discounts!

Agriculture: Quick soil test aims to determine nitrogen need

August 27, 2019

Agriculture: Quick soil test aims to determine nitrogen need

Healthy soil contributes to healthy crops. Farmers know this, so they do what they can to ensure their soil is in good shape. They send samples of their soil for lab testing to find out if it is low in any important nutrients. If it is, they can take steps to improve the health of their soil. These might include adding fertilizers or growing cover crops that feed the soil.

One of the essential nutrients for vigorous crop production is nitrogen. Yet most routine tests done in commercial soil testing labs do not measure available nitrogen in the soil. Tests for nitrogen exist, but for a variety of reasons they cannot be done quickly and cost-effectively. As a result, farmers may be left guessing about the health of their soil. They may apply more or less nitrogen fertilizer than is actually needed.

Palintest Soil Test Kit

There are a couple of reasons this is not a good practice. One is the cost. Nitrogen fertilizer is one of the more expensive soil inputs, so farmers may be spending money they do not need to spend. Another reason is the environment. When more nitrogen is added than plants can use, it can run off the land and cause problems for bodies of water downstream.

The lack of a rapid, cost-effective test for soil nitrogen is clearly a problem. Soil scientists at The Ohio State University and Cornell University think they have found a solution. They have shown that a test originally developed for extracting a particular protein in soil is actually a good test for a variety of proteins. Proteins are by far the largest pool of available organic nitrogen in soil. A good, quick test for protein in the soil could also be used as a test for available nitrogen.

The process measures a protein known as glomalin. Glomalin is generally believed to be produced by a common soil microorganism that has a beneficial relationship with plant roots. The tongue-twisting name for this organism is arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi.

An earlier study suggested that the glomalin extraction method might actually extract proteins from other sources. Steve Culman and his research colleagues decided to test that idea. They added a variety of sources of protein to soil samples. They used leaves from corn, bean, and common weeds (plant sources), chicken and beef (animal sources), and white button mushroom and oyster mushroom (fungi).

They applied the so-called glomalin protocol to these soil samples and found that proteins from all of the sources were extracted via this method. The procedure was not, in fact, limited to extracting proteins produced by mycorrhizal fungi.

The researchers, therefore, recommend adoption of new terms such as soil protein, rather than glomalin, to more accurately describe the proteins extracted through this method.

This soil protein extraction procedure is a cost-effective, rapid method that could readily be adopted by commercial soil testing labs. It is possible, however, that some specific protein types may not be recovered by this method. More research on that point would be useful.

"We don't have many rapid ways to determine how much nitrogen a soil can provide and store over a growing season," said Culman. "This test is one way that might help us quickly measure an important pool of soil nitrogen. More work is needed to understand soil protein, but we think it has the potential to be used with other rapid measurements to assess the soil health of a farmer's field."

 

You can read the original article @ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180718082235.htm

You may want to check these field soil test kits:

Palintest SK 300 Soil, Hydroponics and Irrigation Product Range

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Blog

How does a cooling tower work ?
How does a cooling tower work ?

March 02, 2021

Common applications include cooling the circulating water used in oil refineries, petrochemical and other chemical plants, thermal power stations, nuclear power stations and HVAC systems for cooling buildings. The classification is based on the type of air induction into the tower: the main types of cooling towers are natural draft and induced draft cooling towers.

View full article →

How does the cooling tower startup work?
How does the cooling tower startup work?

March 01, 2021

The primary goal of effective water treatment is to provide and maintain clean heat transfer, piping, and other water contact surfaces.  Even before cooling tower start-up, surfaces are exposed to the elements of air and water, and that has an impact on four main areas:

View full article →

Peracetic acid - the new hero in hospitals
Peracetic acid - the new hero in hospitals

February 08, 2021

Unlike bleach (sodium hypochlorite), it does not linger on surfaces. PAA components are completely biodegradable to its base elements of hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid.  In comparison to bleach, which requires rinsing after use, PAA does not need to be rinsed off surfaces. When used correctly, it can be used to sanitize surfaces, vessels, closed systems and equipment safely, ensuring surfaces remain sanitized until required.

View full article →