Portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) calibration for analysis of nutrient concentrations and trace element contaminants in fertilisers

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Acquah, G., Hernandez-Allica, J., Thomas, C. L., Dunham, S. J., Towett, E. K., Drake, L. B., Shepherd, K. D., McGrath, S. P. and Haefele, S. M. 2022. Portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) calibration for analysis of nutrient concentrations and trace element contaminants in fertilisers. PLOS ONE. 17 (1), p. e0262460. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262460

AuthorsAcquah, G., Hernandez-Allica, J., Thomas, C. L., Dunham, S. J., Towett, E. K., Drake, L. B., Shepherd, K. D., McGrath, S. P. and Haefele, S. M.
Abstract

With the increasing popularity of local blending of fertilisers, the fertiliser industry faces issues regarding quality control and fertiliser adulteration. Another problem is the contamination of fertilisers with trace elements that have been shown to subsequently accumulate in the soil and be taken up by plants, posing a danger to the environment and human health. Conventional characterisation methods necessary to ensure the quality of fertilisers and to comply with local regulations are costly, time consuming and sometimes not even accessible. Alternatively, using a wide range of unamended and intentionally amended fertilisers this study developed empirical calibrations for a portable handheld X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) spectrometer, determined the reliability for estimating the macro and micro nutrients and evaluated the use of the pXRF for the high-throughput detection of trace element contaminants in fertilisers. The models developed using pXRF for Mg, P, S, K, Ca, Mn, Fe, Zn and Mo had R2 values greater or equal to 0.97. These models also performed well on validation, with R2 values greater or equal to 0.97 (except for Fe, R2val = 0.55) and slope values ranging from 0.81 to 1.44. A second set of models were developed with a focus on trace elements in amended fertilisers. The R2 values of calibration for Co, Ni, As, Se, Cd and Pb were greater than or equal to 0.80. At concentrations up to 1000 mg kg-1, good validation statistics were also obtained; R2 values ranged from 0.97–0.99, except in one instance. The regression coefficients of the validation also had good prediction in the range of 0–100 mg kg-1 (R2 values were from 0.78–0.99), but not as well at lower concentrations up to 20 mg kg-1 (R2 values ranged from 0.10–0.99), especially for Cd. This study has demonstrated that pXRF can measure several major (P, Ca) and micro (Mn, Fe, Cu) nutrients, as well as trace elements and potential contaminants (Cr, Ni, As) in fertilisers with high accuracy and precision. The results obtained in this study is good, especially considering that loose powders were scanned for a maximum of 90 seconds without the use of a vacuum pump.

Year of Publication2022
JournalPLOS ONE
Journal citation17 (1), p. e0262460
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262460
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 1 (WP1) - Optimising nutrient flows and pools in the soil-plant-biota system
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online11 Jan 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted23 Dec 2021
PublisherPublic Library of Science (PLOS)
ISSN1932-6203

Permalink - https://repository.rothamsted.ac.uk/item/9896x/portable-x-ray-fluorescence-pxrf-calibration-for-analysis-of-nutrient-concentrations-and-trace-element-contaminants-in-fertilisers

17 total views
1 total downloads
17 views this month
1 downloads this month
Download files as zip