Soil testing for heavy metals

Soil testing for metal contaminants is a continually evolving process aimed at improving the assessment of environmental and human health hazards associated with heavy metals in soils and plants. A number of challenges present themselves before accurate, reliable and precise contaminant hazard assessment criteria for soils and plants can be made. These include: sampling, extraction and analytical obstacles associated with the determination of trace levels of metals in environmental media; quality assurance and quality control issues associated with both extraction and analytical procedures (especially for metals where non‐compliance with regulatory standards may be penalised); and confounding environmental effects (e.g. rooting depth, soil salinity, Eh, pH, plant species, metal species) which limit the usefulness of the relationship between the current tests and actual hazards. [1]

Soil Testing to Predict Phosphorus Leaching

Subsurface pathways can play an important role in agricultural phosphorus (P) losses that can decrease surface water quality. This study evaluated agronomic and environmental soil tests for predicting P losses in water leaching from undisturbed soils. [2]

Environmental Soil Testing for Phosphorus

Many soils in the USA have extremely high soil test P levels from long-term fertilization and manuring. Sediment-bound and soluble P in runoff from these soils may contribute to eutrophication of surface waters. A field rating system, the “P index,” has been developed to assess the potential for soil P to contribute to nonpoint source pollution. [3]

Soil Testing Scenario in India and Its Significance in the Balanced Use of Fertilisers

Soil testing is employed for quick characterisation of the inherent fertility status of soils and predicting the nutrient requirements of crops. Soil testing is guiding the farmers regarding the balanced and judicious use of the fertilisers, which ultimately reduces the overall costs and finally mitigate the consequences of the global warming. Proper soil sampling techniques must be demonstrated to the farmers for having more meaningful results by adopting which more desirable results will be achieved. Soil sampling will be the ultimate gadget which surely improves the livelihoods of the farmers by reducing the dose of fertilisers as we have to feed the crop but not the soil. [4]

Testing Selected Soils from Bamyan Center Agricultural Research Farms for Initial Macro and Micro Nutrients with Focus on Phosphorus Availability 

Phosphorus (P) and micronutrients deficiencies are common in alkaline soils. Alkaline soils make up some of the most productive agricultural lands in the Bamyan center of Bamyan province in central Afghanistan and little is known about the phosphorus fertility status of these soils. The objectives of this study were to determine the soil fertility status of 4 soils collected from the four research farms in Bamyan center and also to conduct P incubation studies on these soils to determine the fixation and availability of added P. The experimental design was a randomized complete block with 3 replications of each treatment. [5]


[1] McLaughlin, M.J., Zarcinas, B.A., Stevens, D.P. and Cook, N., 2000. Soil testing for heavy metals. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 31(11-14), pp.1661-1700.

[2] Maguire, R.O. and Sims, J.T., 2002. Soil testing to predict phosphorus leaching. Journal of environmental quality31(5), pp.1601-1609.

[3] Sims, J.T., 1993. Environmental soil testing for phosphorus. Journal of Production Agriculture6(4), pp.501-507.

[4]  Meena, H. M., Sharma, R. P. and ., R. (2018) “Soil Testing Scenario in India and Its Significance in the Balanced Use of Fertilisers”, International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, 22(3), pp. 1-7. doi: 10.9734/IJPSS/2018/39962.

[5] Zaki, M. and Hashami, S. (2017) “Testing Selected Soils from Bamyan Center Agricultural Research Farms for Initial Macro and Micro Nutrients with Focus on Phosphorus Availability”, International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, 14(4), pp. 1-6. doi: 10.9734/IJPSS/2017/31892.

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