Compost salinity assessment via portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) spectrometry

David C. Weindorf, Somsubhra Chakraborty, Bin Li, Sanjit Deb, Atinderpal Singh, Nana Y. Kusi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalWaste Management
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Compost
  • PXRF
  • Proximal sensors
  • Salinity
  • pH

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