Exchangeable Bases - Ammonium Chloride (15A1)

Method for measuring exchangeable bases (Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, K+) - 1M ammonium chloride at pH 7.0


Suited for use on all soils, irrespective of whether acidic or alkaline, but preferred on acidic to weakly alkaline soils not dominated by solid-phase carbonates. Method 15A1 has no pre-treatment to remove soluble salts, with alternatives to remove them chemically (15A2) or to adjust for the presence of soluble sodium (15A3).


Water soluble nitrate - automated colour (7B1)

This method uses the same 1:5 soil/water suspension described for method 3A1. The filtered or centrifuged aliquot is subjected to automated colorimetric analysis based on the Griess-Ilosvay reaction, either by continuous segmented flow analysis (sub-method 7B1a) or by flow injection analysis (sub-method 7B1b) The methods specify reporting nitrate-N (mg N/kg) on an air-dry basis. Note that in some highly weathered soils with a measurable anion exchange capacity, water may not extract all of the adsorbed nitrate-N.

pH: 1:5 SOIL:0.01M CaCL2 Suspension (4B2)

This pH test on milled air-dry sample is suitable for use on all soils, irrespective of whether acidic or alkaline. Values are usually unaffected by fertilisation prior to sampling, as changes to the soil’s ionic strength is masked by the calcium chloride. Code 4B1 indicates direct use of 0.01M CaCl2, at a soil/solution ratio of 1:5, with mechanical shaking for 1 h prior to pH measurement using calibrated electrodes positioned in the unstirred supernatant after settling of the suspension. Code 4B2 provides a similar measurement outcome but relies on the addition of 0.21M CaCl2 to a 1:5 soil/water suspension to achieve 0.01M CaCl2 prior to measurement of pH as for 4B1.

Codes 4B3 and 4B4 are identical to 4B1 and 4B2, respectively, except the soil/CaCl2 suspensions are stirred during measurement. Method 4B5 codes for an MIR surrogate measurement. There is merit in separate use of both water and calcium chloride to measure soil pH.


pH of 1:5 soil/water suspension (4A1)

This test on milled air-dry sample involves mechanical shaking with deionised water in a closed system for 1 h at a soil/water ratio of 1:5 prior to pH measurement using calibrated electrodes, while stirring the soil/water suspension. The method is suitable for use on all soils, irrespective of whether acidic or alkaline. Values may be lower than expected on recently fertilised soils due to a temporary increase in soil solution ionic strength.