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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Analysis of Trace Elements in Forages by Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 81 No. 1, p. 91-95
    Received: Feb 25, 1988

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. D. H. Clark ,
  2. E. E. Cary and
  3. H. F. Mayland
  1. U SDA-ARS, Logan, UT 84322,
    U SDA-ARS, Ithaca, NY 24853



Use of near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) for elemental analysis has been limited to a few elements including Ca, P, K, and Mg. However, other elements are of interest in the agricultural industry. Therefore, NIRS spectra were collected on forage samples consisting of tall fescue (Festucu arundinacea Schreb.), crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum and A. desertorum), and alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.). Elemental concentrations of Ba, Li, Mo, Ni, Pb, V, AI, S, and Si were determined by ICP (Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma) analysis while selenium (Se) was determined by fluorometry. The elemental analyses were regressed against NIRS apparent absorption from 1100 to 2500 nm at 2-nm increments. Coefficients of variation [CV = (standard error of performance / the mean from the chemical procedure) ✕ 1001 ranged from a high of 211% for Li in crested wheatgrass to 11% for S in alfalfa. Determination of Ba, Li, Mo, Ni, Pb, and V exhibited enough inconsistency in CVs among the three forages to preclude their determination with NIRS. Aluminum and S appear to be present in an organic form that NIRS is able to detect (CV = 22 and 15, 21 and 12, and 28 and 11%, for tall fescue, crested wheatgrass, and alfalfa, respectively). Silica exhibited slightly more variation than S or AI, with alfalfa having the highest CV (49%). Selenium was only determined on a tall fescue population with a CV = 27%. Using the statistical values as parameters indicative of NIRS utility, it appears that A1 and S are the only elements in this group of minerals that can be determined with NIRS for these forage types.

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