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Mehlich 3 extractable nutrients as determined by near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy

Nduwamungu, C., Ziadi, N., Parent, L.E., Tremblay, G.F. (2009). Mehlich 3 extractable nutrients as determined by near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy, 89(5), 579-587.


Near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly technique of soil analysis that is particularly advantageous in intensive soil sampling and soil nutrient management as well. This study evaluated the potential of NIRS for predicting P, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Zn, Mn, Fe, and Al extracted by Mehlich 3. We used 150 air-dried samples collected from a 15-ha site dominated by Orthic Humic Gleysol and Gleyed Dystric Brunisol soils. Calibration equations were developed using modified partial least squares regression. The accuracy of NIRS prediction was evaluated using the coefficient of determination (R2), the ratio of performance deviation (RPD), and the ratio of error range (RER). Reliable calibrations were found for Ca, Cu, and Mg (R2 ≥0.7, RPD ≤1.75, and RER ≥8). Less-reliable calibrations were found for Al, Fe, K, Mn, P, and Zn (R2 <0.7, RPD ≥1.75, and RER ≥8). In the validation with independent samples, acceptable regression coefficients (i.e., 0.85 ≥ slope ≥1.2) were only found for Ca, Mg, and Mn. We presumed that the pH of the Mehlich 3 extractant (2.5±0.1) may affect the solubility of most of these nutrients, regardless the soil texture and, consequently, the potential of NIRS to predict them. The more a nutrient was correlated to clay content, the more it was likely predictable by NIRS. The prediction models obtained for Al, Ca, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, and Mn could still be used for screening purposes in cases where high accuracy is not required. These NIRS prediction models should be validated across larger geographic areas of geological homogeneity.

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