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Opportunities for, and limitations of, near Infrared reflectance spectroscopy applications in soil analysis: A review.

Nduwamungu, C., Ziadi, N., Parent, L.-É., Tremblay, G.F., and Thuriès, T. (2009). "Opportunities for, and limitations of, near Infrared reflectance spectroscopy applications in soil analysis: A review.", Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 89(5), pp. 531-541. doi : 10.4141/CJSS08076  Access to full text


Near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) is a cost- and time-effective and environmentally friendly technique that could be an alternative to conventional soil analysis methods. In this review, we focussed on factors that hamper the potential application of NIRS in soil analysis. The reported studies differed in many aspects, including sample preparation, reference methods, spectrum acquisition and pre-treatments, and regression methods. The most significant opportunities provided by NIRS in soil analysis include its potential use in situ, the determination of various biological, chemical, and physical properties using a single spectrum per sample, and an estimated reduction of analytical cost of at least 50%. Contradictory results among studies on NIRS utilisation in soil analysis are partly related to variations in sample preparation and reference methods. The following calibration statistics appear to be most appropriate for comparing NIRS performance across soil attributes: (i) coefficient of determination (r2), (ii) ratio of performance deviation (RPD), (iii) coefficient of regression (b), and (iv) ratio of the standard error of prediction (SEP) to the standard error of the reference method (SER), i.e., the ratio of standard errors (RSE). Further investigations on issues such as (i) RSE guidelines, (ii) correlation between NIRS spectrophotometers, (iii) correlation of different reference methods for a given attribute to soil spectra, (iv) identification of key factors affecting the accuracy of NIRS predictions, and (v) efficient use of spectral libraries are required to enhance the acceptability of NIRS as a soil analysis technique and to make it more user-friendly. Standardized guidelines are proposed for the assessment of the accuracy of NIRS predictions of soil attributes.

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