A team of professional consultants, associates and technicians at the laboratories of the Department for Agroecology, equipped for all the aforesaid analyses, rapidly and professionally collects, prepares and analyses samples according to the methods prescribed by ISO standards. Naturally, the value of the chemical analyses that we conduct in the laboratory primarily depends on proper taking of soil samples that will appropriately represent the status of agricultural areas.
As part of chemical analyses o the soil, we conduct basic agrochemical analyses to determine soil fertility, such as: current and substituting pH value, organic substance content, phosphorus and potassium concentration in the soil, carbonate content and hydrolytic acidity. Likewise, we also determine the status of minderal hydrogen according to the Nmin method and the content of essential (Zn, Fe, Mn, Cu, Mo, Ni) and toxic (Pb, Cd, Co, Cr) heavy metals.
Such plant tissue analyses imply the preparation of base sample solution obtained by acid digestion followed by determining the concentration of nitrogen by distillation, phosphorus concentration by phosphorus-molybdenum method and the concentration of potassium by emission or absorption technique (Ca and Mg) using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The same solution is used for determining essential microelements, while toxic heavy metals are determined by microwave digestion technique. It is precisely for the purposes of conducting such analyses that the latest microwave digestion device MARS 6 was purchased by means of the AGRI-CONTO-CLEEN IPA project.
The stated method of systematic monitoring of the chemical composition of soil and plants will enable proper balancing of nutrients in the soil and maximally reduce the environmental load from agricultural production.
According to the plan for the analysis of the mineral composition, fertilization value and ecological suitability of organic fertilizers, as part of the AGRI-CONTO-CLEEN IPA project, we analyse the following: pH, electric conductivity, dry matter content, C/N ratio, specific density, organic matter, ash and organic carbon content, mineral nitrogen, total macroelements (N, P, K), total heavy metals. All of the analyses are conducted in accordance with the ISO standards or other procedures as prescribed by applicable norms.
Based on the obtained analyses, models developed at the Department for Agroecology are used for the rating of fertilization value and ecological suitability of organic fertilizers, which enables agricultural producers not only to gain insight in the quality of organic fertilizers produced on a given farm, but also in the effectiveness of such fertilizers with regard to soil fertility. Namely, the rating of ecological suitabiity of an organic fertilizer is a piece of information which clearly indicates the potential environmental load from agricultural production, which is what the main goals of the IPA project focus on.