Perfecting the precision of P
This group has been working on the analysis of phosphorous in agricultural soils and bulky organic fertilisers for much of the last decade. Phosphorous (P), along with nitrogen and potassium, is one of the major nutrients associated with improved crop and yield production. However, the chemistry of P and its availability in soil to plants is extremely complicated compared to many of the other essential soil nutrients. This complicated chemical behavior of available P status has meant that the method of assessment has changed little in nearly 60 years and remains based on variations in extraction procedures (Colwell 1963;Olsen et al. 1954) that utilise an ammomnium molybdate and ascorbic acid method with development of an heteroploy blue colour (Murphy & Riley 1962). This method has already been adapted to the FLUOstar Omega. Access to a SPECTROstar Nano would permit us to use a modified method for available P determination using wavelengths better suited to the materials we are studying, i.e. 880 nm instead of 640 nm.