Compost salinity is an ongoing concern for compost producers, especially with certain feedstocks and in arid or semiarid regions. Current testing protocols call for sampling and testing ex-situ via 1:5 (w/v) slurries via electrical conductance. For this research an alternate approach has been proposed, the use of portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) spectrometry. Adapting methods developed for soil and water salinity analysis via PXRF, elemental data was used as a proxy for the prediction of compost salinity. In total, 74 compost samples were scanned with PXRF followed by traditional laboratory analysis. Results indicated a strong correlation between the datasets (R2 0.80; RMSE 1.04 dS m−1), similar to findings for soil and water salinity. Furthermore, using the same elemental dataset, compost pH was reasonably predicted (R2 0.63; RMSE 0.35). PXRF has the benefit of being able to be conducted in-situ or in the laboratory. And, multiple chemical parameters of interest can potentially be predicted from the same dataset. In conclusion, PXRF shows promise for rapid, in-situ salinity determination of composted products.
- Proximal sensors