Chemistry Best Practices

Soil Analysis


  • To provide an accurate assessment of the soil fertility to make fertilizer recommendation.
  • To increase the awareness of fertilizer effects on environment.
  • To determine where fertilizers or manure is applied for soil or not to increase the yield.

The Context:

  • Soil analysis is used to determine the level of nutrients found in a soil sample.
  • Soil testing is helpful for farmers to increase the crop yield.
  • Crop yields are determined by a variety of factors including crop variety selection, available moisture, soil fertility, crop adaptation to the area, and the presence of diseases, insects, and weeds.
  • The soil analysis and its interpretation deal only with the fertility level (plant nutrients) of the soil.
  • Recommended fertilizer will provide sufficient nutrients for the best possible yields. Other factors of production or management may still cause low yields, even though nutrients are adequate.

The Practice: This practice includes.

  • Final year BSc Students of chemistry department were collecting the soil samples from the farmers and submit sample to the chemistry department. The collected soil samples submitted for further analysis to the Om laboratory Nashik.
  • Dry the sample collected from the field in shade by spreading on a clean sheet of paper after breaking the large lumps, if present.
  • Spread the soil on a paper or polythene sheet on a hard surface and powder the sample by breaking the clods to its ultimate soil particle using a wooden mallet.
  • Sieve the soil material through 2 mm sieve.
  • Repeat powdering and sieving until only materials of >2 mm (no soil or clod) are left on the sieve.
  • Collect the material passing through the sieve and store in a clean glass or plastic container or polythene bag with proper labelling for laboratory analysis.
  • For the determination of organic matter, it is desirable to grind a representative sub sample and sieve it through 0.2 mm sieve.
  • If the samples are meant for the analysis of micronutrients at-most care is needed in handling the sample to avoid contamination of iron, zinc and copper. Brass sieves should be avoided and it is better to use stainless steel or polythene materials for collection, processing and storage of samples.
  • Estimate the moisture content of sample before every analysis to express the results on dry weight basis.

Evidence of Success:

  • This practice developed awareness about the soil quality which is use full for the good health of the crop.
  • Since no fee is charged, it saved time and money of the individuals which is not affordable when done form commercial agencies.
  • Practical skills of final year students of chemistry were improved.

Problems Encountered and Resources Required

  • Additional instruments, chemicals and glassware’s are needed when large number of samples are collected, which stretch annual budget of the department.