Soil Reference Material Data Sheets : BGS120 to BGS126

Kalra, M.C.; Gowing, C.J.B.; Ander, E.L.. 2023 Soil Reference Material Data Sheets : BGS120 to BGS126. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 46pp. (OR/23/055) (Unpublished)

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There is a paucity of appropriately characterised Reference Materials to inform quality assessments for agronomic chemical analysis of soil. These analyses are used to provide data for systematic regional geochemical/agricultural soil surveys and underpin on-farm decision making for soil fertility and crop yield management. This partially unmet need for reference materials is further exacerbated in low-income/resource settings and limits the frequency with which quality control samples can be routinely analysed: this gap has been specifically identified by the FAO Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN capacity strengthening activities. The insufficient supply of appropriately characterised reference materials, particularly soils from tropical sources, has been identified as a limiting factor in the global adoption of effective, harmonised analytical methods. The customer base for new reference materials is potentially broad. In addition to any of the ~1000-strong GLOSOLAN global community of laboratories, other commercial and research laboratories providing agricultural soil sample analyses, in the UK and internationally, as well as academic researchers and PhD students in environmental geochemistry. Existing soil reference materials on the market may present a matrix-matching problem as they are generally milled to <75 μm, as required for total elemental concentration methods. Routine/survey agricultural soil testing is usually undertaken on a more coarse, un-milled sieved fraction, such as <2 mm or <4 mm. This difference in size fraction (especially the changes to particle surfaces caused by additional mineral breakdown during milling) may cause unintended changes to soil texture and, together with an unrepresentative reduction in sample heterogeneity, lead to systematically biased analysis in relation to conventional soil analysis. The use of un-milled soil material for these Reference Materials has avoided such adverse effects that might influence parameter measurement (e.g., pH) or provide enhanced nutrient availability that is itself unrealistic (e.g., available P). Furthermore, extractable (not total) concentrations are used in agriculture to assess the fertility status of soil and make nutrient input decisions appropriate to the next crop. BGS has experience of creating reference materials across a range of rock, sediment, and soil matrices. Ten soil Reference Materials are available (BGS110-BGS119) which are optimised for major, minor and trace element variation from nine contrasting soil parent materials, and one anthropogenically contaminated soil (Kalra et al., 2020). BGS therefore set out to create suite of new reference materials that will help to support high-quality analysis for agriculturally relevant parameters, to augment the soil Reference Materials already offered for sale. This suite comprises a range of sample matrices from temperate silt-rich to peat-rich (BGS120 to BGS124), and equatorial agricultural soils (BGS125 to BGS126). OR/23/

Item Type: Publication - Report
Funders/Sponsors: British Geological Survey
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed, but not externally peer-reviewed.
Date made live: 25 Mar 2024 14:00 +0 (UTC)

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