Rapid determination of soil organic matter quality indicators using visible near infrared reflectance spectroscopy.

St. Luce, M., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J., Grant, C.A., Tremblay, G.F., and Gregorich, E.G. (2014). "Rapid determination of soil organic matter quality indicators using visible near infrared reflectance spectroscopy.", Geoderma, 232-234, pp. 449-458. doi : 10.1016/j.geoderma.2014.05.023  Access to full text

Abstract

Assessment and monitoring of soil organic matter (SOM) quality are important for determining and developing management practices that will enhance and maintain the productivity of agricultural soils. This requires routine analysis of multiple soil parameters, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Research has suggested that visible near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (VNIRS) may be used as a rapid and cost-efficient tool for SOM quality assessment. In this study, VNIRS (400–2498 nm) was used for the first time to simultaneously predict microbial biomass nitrogen (MBN), water-extractable organic N (WEON), light fraction organic matter N (LFOMN), particulate organic matter N (POMN), soil total N (TN), soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil C/N ratio as soil SOM quality indicators in Chernozemic soils of western Canada. The soil samples (n = 200) were collected at the 0–15 cm depth from a crop rotation experiment conducted at 6 sites in 2010 and 2011. After removal of outliers (five samples) identified by principal components analysis (PCA), 75% of the sample set was randomly selected for calibration (n = 146) and the remainder used for validation (n = 49). Modified partial least squares regression with cross-validation was used to develop prediction models. The reliability of the models was assessed using the coefficient of determination in validation (R2{SUB}V{/SUB}) and the ratio of standard deviation of the reference data in the validation set to the standard error of prediction (RPD{SUB}V{/SUB}). The VNIRS predictions were considered reliable for LFOMN, POMN, TN, and SOC (R2{SUB}V{/SUB} > 0.80, RPD{SUB}V{/SUB} > 2.4), as well as for MBN (R2{SUB}V{/SUB} = 0.74, RPD{SUB}V{/SUB} = 1.93), but less reliable for WEON (R2{SUB}V{/SUB} = 0.67, RPD{SUB}V{/SUB} = 1.70) and soil C/N ratio (R2{SUB}V{/SUB} = 0.54, RPD{SUB}V{/SUB} = 1.45). This study showed that VNIRS has the potential as a non-destructive and cost-efficient tool for rapid determination of SOM quality indicators.

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