FAO SOILS PORTAL

Infrared Spectrophotometry

AfSIS - Africa Soil Information Service

Traditional techniques for analyzing physical, chemical and biological properties of soil as described above are renown for being costly and time consuming. Advances in spectrometer hardware, computing and statistical software mean that Near-Infrared (NIR) spectra of soil samples have the potential for fast, non-destructive, accurate and cheap soil analysis, particularly for applications in the field and where a high spatial density of sampling is needed. It is now routinely used for analyses of a wide range of materials in laboratory and process control applications in agriculture, food and feed technology, geology, biomedicine, and space exploration, and has been a key technology in enabling the development of soil health surveillance systems by providing a rapid and reliable tool for soil health screening (Shepherd & Walsh, 2007) in the AfSIS project.