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Application Note

Determination of Available Phosphorus in Soil Samples Using the Avio 550 Max ICP-OES


Phosphorus is a crucial nutrient for plants, and its scarcity in soils significantly constrains crop productivity. However, a surplus of total phosphorus in a specific soil type does not guarantee an abundance of available phosphorus, as the nutrient might be inaccessible. Therefore, assessing available phosphorus represents a vital agronomic parameter to ascertain the accessibility of phosphorus for plant absorption.

To do this, laboratories frequently employ a UV/Vis method. However, this method is a challenging technique for assessing available phosphorus since it involves several intricate steps, especially when working with samples that produce colored solutions during the preparation process. As an alternative, ICP-OES relies on the excitation of atoms in a sample using a high-temperature inductively coupled plasma as the excitation source and is not affected by the color of the prepared solution. The emitted light (or optical emission) from these excited atoms is then measured to determine the elemental composition of the sample.

This work demonstrates accurate phosphorus analysis in soil extracts using the Avio® 550 Max fully simultaneous ICP-OES without the issues of the standard UV/Vis methodology.