Analytes Certified for in 2020

Soil Testing

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Air dry moisture content (2A1)

This method is required to adjust soil chemical results based on air-dry samples to an oven-dry (105oC)
basis. When the air-dry moisture content (M%) is known, the correction from air-dry
to oven-dry is as follows:

 

            Oven-dry result  =   [Air-dry result  x  (100+ M%)]/100

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Nitrate Nitrogen (7C2)

Initially, milled air-dry soil is extracted for 1 h with 2M KCl at a 1:10 soil/solution ratio. For 7C1a to 7C1h methods, mineral-N components are quantified by steam distillations and subsequent titrations. For 7C2 methods, mineral-N fractions in the clarified soil extract are determined by automated colorimetric procedures. Ammonium ions (NH4+) are measured by a modified Berthelot indophenol reaction, while the Griess-Ilosvay reaction is used for NO3-N (and NO2-N). The methods specify reporting results for NH4-N and NO3-N [plus NO2-N if present], respectively, as mg N/kg on an oven-dry (105oC) basis. Specifically, method 7C2a relates to an automated colour, continuous segmented flow analytical finish, while Method 7C2b codes an automated colour finish by flow injection analysis. Little difference is expected in results due to choice of colorimetric finish.

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Bray 1 - P (9E1)

This extractable P test on milled air-dry sample uses a weakly acidic fluoride containing extractant (0.025M HCl and 0.03M NH4F). The soil/extractant ratio of 1:7 and a very short extraction time of 60 sec, making it prone to significant variability.  It is used to predict yield responses in legumne-based pastures on acid to neutral soils in NSW, but not really used elsewhere.  Method 9E1 involves a manual, molybdenum-blue colorimetric finish with a preferred absorbance at 882 nm.

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Bicarbonate Extractable Phosphorus - Colwell (9B1)

This popular Australian P test on milled air-dry sample is suitable for acidic, neutral and alkaline soils. The extractant is freshly prepared 0.5M sodium bicarbonate @ pH 8.5. The wide soil/extractant ratio of 1:100 and an extended shaking time of 16 h favours readily available and more slowly available forms of soil P, while suppressing the solubility of basic calcium phosphates often found in neutral and alkaline soils. Method 9B1 describes a manual, molybdenum-blue colorimetric procedure with a preferred absorbance at 882 nm, whereas Method 9B2 refers to the same initial soil extraction, followed by an equivalent automated molybdenum-blue colorimetric finish (continuous segmented flow or flow injection analysis). The methods specify reporting results as mg P/kg on an air-dry basis.

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Electrical conductivity (EC) of 1:5 soil/water extract (3A1)

This test on milled air-dry sample at a soil/water ratio of 1:5 for 1 h is suitable for use on all soils, irrespective of whether acidic or alkaline. It usually underestimates the soluble salt status of soils containing natural or added gypsum, particularly if ³ 1% of gypsum is present. Such soils would have an EC of about 2 dS/m. Soil EC x 0.336 (Method 3B1) approximates percent total soluble salts, while approximate soil ionic strength (Method 3C1) at 0.1 bar (I0.1) can be calculated as follows: I0.1 = [0.0446*EC1:5 – 0.000173], where I0.1 has units of mM, and EC1:5 has units of dS/m @ 25oC.

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Exchangeable Acidity (15G1)

 

Exchange acidity (hydrogen and aluminium) by 1M potassium chloride

 
This is a preferred method for estimating the acidic cation status of acidic sub-tropical and tropical soils.

 

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Exchangeable Bases - Ammonium Acetate (15D3)

 

Exchangeable bases - 1M ammonium acetate at pH 7.0.

 

This rapid method for exchangeable cations in non-saline acidic through to slightly alkaline soils has no pre-treatment for soluble salts. It should yield similar data to those of method 15A1, except it can overestimate exchangeable Ca in soils containing calcium carbonate.

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DTPA Trace Elements (12A1)

Soils are extracted with 0.005M DTPA, at a 1:2 soil:solution ratio, and shaken for 2 hr at 25oC.  Analytical finish is either ICP-AES or Flame AAS.

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Colwell extractable K (18A1)

The Colwell extraction was developed for measuring available P, but can also be used for determining available K. The extractant is freshly prepared 0.5M sodium bicarbonate @ pH 8.5, with a soil:extractant ratio of 1:100 and a shaking time of 16 hr.  The sodium cation is considered the primary extractor, displacing the similar potassium cation from exchange sites.

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KCl-ext.S (10D1)

Empirical extraction at 40oC in 0.25M KCl, for 3 hours.  Total S in the extract is measured by ICP-AES.

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Ca(H2PO4)2 extractable S (10B3)

Sulfate sulphur is extracted in the absence of activated charcoal from air-dry soil <2 mm particle size, by 0.01M Ca (H2PO4)2 at pH 4.0 using a soil/solution ratio of 1:5 and an extraction time of 17 h at 25 degrees C. This extracted sulphur is then determined in an aliquot of particle-free soil extract by ICP-AES.

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Mehlich3 ICP (18F1)

Analysis of Mehlich 3 extract using inductively-coupled atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES)

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Extractable Phosphorus - Olsen (9C1)

This extractable P test on milled air-dry sample uses freshly prepared 0.5M sodium bicarbonate @ pH 8.5 as the extractant. The soil/extractant ratio of 1:20 and a relatively short extraction time of 30 min favours readily available forms of soil P, while suppressing the solubility of basic calcium phosphates often found in neutral and alkaline soils. Method 9C1 involves a manual, molybdenum-blue colorimetric finish with a preferred absorbance at 882 nm. Method 9C2a defines an equivalent automated molybdenum-blue continuous segmented flow analytical finish, while Method 9C2b codes an automated colour finish by flow injection analysis. No significant difference is expected in results due to the analytical finishes described. The methods specify reporting results as mg P/kg on an air-dry basis.
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Organic carbon - W & B (6A1)

This measure of soil organic carbon (OCW&B; expressed as %C) usually yields a lower figure than the true total organic carbon value. The method uses finely-milled air-dry sample. It involves wet oxidation by a dichromate-sulphuric acid mixture and relies only on heat of reaction. Soil weight should take account of the expected concentration of OC, and it is expected that allowance will be made for positive soluble Cl‑ interference in soils containing >0.5% Cl. The method specifies reporting on an oven-dry (105oC) basis. Nowadays this method is less preferred than 6B methods.

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PBI - Unadjusted (9I4B)

This index of soil P sorption embraces adsorption as well as precipitation reactions. Equilibrated soil extracts are obtained by shaking milled air-dry soil continuously for 17 h at a ratio of 1:10 (w/v) with a P equilibrating solution initially containing the equivalent of 1000 mg P/kg in 0.01M CaCl2. The residual P in the extract is determined by ICP-AES.  In other related methods (9I2a, 9I3a) the PBI value is modified to allow for the soil fertility level.  In this method, there is nosuch adjustment. The methods specify reporting results on an air-dry basis.

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4B2+4B4 (4B4)

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 4B4 indicates addition of 0.21M CaCl2 to a 1:5 soil/water suspension to achieve 0.01M CaCl2 prior to measurement of pH, with stirring. This test is usually conmbined with 4B2, where a water based pH is determined immediately prior to this CaCl2 pH.

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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.
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Total organic carbon - high frequency induction furnace, volumetric (6B2)

This method for total soil OC involves production, purification and measurement of CO2 evolved when soil carbon is ignited in a stream of O2. Because all C compounds are converted to CO2, the C from carbonates, charcoal, undecomposed wood, etc, will be included, as no soil pre-treatment is specified. In the volumetric sub-method 6B2a, concentrated KOH solution is used to absorb the CO2 released. The difference between the original volume of gas in the burette and the volume produced after ignition equals the volume of CO2 evolved from the sample, after correction for gas temperature and pressure. Sub-method 6B2b is similar to Method 6B2a, except the CO2 produced by ignition is measured via infrared / thermal conductivity detection. Both 6B2a and 6B2b use finely-milled air-dry sample, with weights varying with expected C concentrations. Surrogate estimates can be obtained by NIR (method 6B4a) or MIR (method 6B4b) reflectance spectroscopy. The methods specify reporting as %C on an oven-dry (105oC) basis.

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Total soil N – Dumas high-temperature combustion (7A5)

This method utilises automated and/or microprocessor controlled instrumentation, which mostly is able to measure at least total C, N and S in the same sample. Dumas-N dry oxidation includes all forms of soil N, without the need for lengthy pre-treatments, although results can occasionally differ from those expected in soils with high levels of fixed ammonium-N (lower results) and when soils are organically rich (high results, due to incomplete combustion resulting in the formation of methane rather than CO2). Typically, dry, finely-ground sample is subjected to high-temperature combustion (e.g. 950–1,250oC) in a stream of purified O2. An aliquot of the gases produced by combustion is carried by helium gas to a thermal conductivity cell for measurement of any N2 generated, a process typically taking 3–5 min. A heated copper catalyst reduces NOx to N2. The method specifies reporting results as %N on an oven-dry (105oC) basis.
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Total carbon - high frequency induction furnace (with prior physical removal of (6B3)

Following quantitative action / pre-treatment to account for or to physically remove (if present) charcoal and to chemically remove carbonate with excess 5% H2SO3 solution on a hot plate in a fume cabinet, the residual, re-dried soil sample is analysed for soil C by a suitable method, preferably Method 6B2b. The method involving carbonate removal and soil C analysis uses finely-milled air-dry sample, with weights varying with expected C concentrations. The method specifies reporting as %C on an oven-dry (105oC) basis.

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Not Specified or mixed (NS)

The laboratory either did not specify the method used or uses a mix of methods when submitting to the certification body

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DE-24

Microwave Digestion - closed system without HF, and final medium HNO3 and/or HCl. ICP-MS finish.

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CA-37

Finely divided dry sample.  Dumas combustion.