Central African soil infrared library
Laura Summerauer, Matti Barthel, Marijn Bauters, Benjamin Bukombe, Mario Reichenbach, Pascal Boeckx, Kristof Van Oost, Basile Bazirake Mujinya, Sebastian Doetterl, and Johan Six
Information about soil properties is not only crucial for efficient and sustainable agricultural production, but also to understand nutrient cycles and fluxes. Compared to traditional wet chemistry analyses of soil samples, infrared spectroscopy produces fast and reproducible results which can overcome spatial heterogeneity. Functional groups of organic matter and mineralogy trigger distinct absorbance peaks in the mid-infrared range. Based on the spectra calibrated to chemical reference values, concentrations of substances can be derived.
In developing countries, infrared spectroscopy can serve as an especially promising tool for soil analysis due to its low costs and simple handling that minimizes chemical consumables. To further reduce the necessity for expensive wet chemistry analyses, large-scale infrared libraries need to be developed.