Soil

Regulatory compliance

Numerous standard-compliant methods for soil analysis

The pedosphere is a highly complex boundary area where all other areas coexist. Soil constituents are difficult to access and to mobilize. Therefore, sample preparation is crucial. Our methods and instruments meet numerous international standards.

> Learn more from our overview!

International year of soils 2015

Increasing awareness of soil importance

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations declared 2015 the International Year of the Soil (IYS). Metrohm also wants to increase awareness of soil‘s importance and has published an article dealing with soil analysis.

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Soil pH value (ISO 10390) and electrical conductivity (ISO 11265)

Soil pH value: The most frequently determined soil parameter

The soil pH value is the characteristic value of what is known as "soil reaction" and allows soils to be classified according to their acidity and alkalinity. Nutrient supply and microbial activity to a great extent dependent on the soil pH value. Determination is straightforward and follows ISO 10390.

Conductivity: Indicative for the amount of dissolved salts

Soil conductivity allows conclusions about the ability of the soil water to mobilize mineral substances in soil. ISO 11265 describes the preparation of the slurry and the analysis.

> Overview of important soil parameters

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Chromate(VI) and standard ions in soil samples

IC facilitates chromate detection down to μg/L levels

Ion chromatography can detect chromate in the soil down to μg/L levels. Here, the relatively large, doubly charged chromate anion is separated from the other anions on an anion-exchange column and then converted by post-column reaction with 1,5-diphenylcarbazide solution to form a reddish-violet complex that is analyzed at 540 nm with a UV/VIS detector.

Chromatogram of a worked-up soil sample with chromate peak. Analysis includes post-column reaction with subsequent UV detection.


Alkaline digestion according to EPA 3060A or ISO EN 15192

The sample preparation of soil samples is a demanding task. It is essential to ensure that the extraction solution releases the chromate from the samples without there being any change in the oxidation state of the chromate. For most soil samples, alkaline digestion according to EPA 3060A or ISO EN 15192 is recommended. Filtration can also be automated conveniently with the use of an inline ultrafiltration cell.


Soil anions
Agricultural use requires anion and cation determination

Nutrient content in soil samples determine plant growth and the knowledge thereof is crucial for agricultural use. Concentrations of the macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur) can be determined in two single IC runs.

Anion chromatogram of worked-up soil sample.


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Further applications

Electroremediation of contaminated soils

In-situ methods where contaminated soils are treated without being excavated are the state of the art. A very promising method is electroremediation, where series of electrodes are installed in the soil body. Under the influence of the electrical field, electrokinetic transport and redox processes take place. Autolab instruments track the redox reactions, e.g., the reduction of heavy metals, that take place in the soil body.

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