Alternative analytical technologies for soil nutrient analysis

Frequent soil testing is essential for sustainable agriculture to maintain and improve the existing soil structure and innate productive capacity of the soil. In this context, APSCC explores the feasibility of establishing and promoting a cost effective soil testing laboratories equipped with alternative analytical technology (AAT) for the benefit of thousands of farmers in the region. The team participated in the AAT for soil testing workshops organized by Shri AMM MCRC, Chennai.

Why alternative analytical technology (AAT) for soil testing: Indian agriculture occupies an eminent position in global cultivation of rice, wheat, sugarcane, pulses and vegetables. There is no simple, cost effective and reliable technology available to determine the level of organic carbon, humus, nitrogen, phosphMCRC2orus, potassium and micronutrients (10) in soil so as to provide the farmer the information he requires for maintaining the health of the soil. The present methods that are available require sophisticated, costly equipment. Depending on the information required, the cost of testing a single soil sample could vary between Rs. 250 to Rs. 1250 per test. AAT for testing soil nutrients: Shri AMM MCRC and IIT Madras has jointly undertaken a project titled “Integrated Knowledge Systems on Soil Nutrient Analysis through Image Processing of Chromatograms” funded by Department of Science & Technology and Murugappa Group for a period of 3 years. More than 12,000 soil samples have been processed for the determination of physicochemical properties, circular Paper chromatograms, image processing and case based reasoning. Software for image processing of soil chromatogram so as to know the soil composition, fertilizer recommendation and best suitable crop has been developed and was tested at various levels. For more details, visit

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