The Soil & Plant Analytical Lab was established with the financial support from the European Union in the early 1990s to provide analytical services to the agriculture sector. The services to-date, are provided free of cost.
The laboratory has one Analytical Chemist with M. Phil. in Soil Science from the University of Reading, and one Principal Research Officer with Post Graduate Diploma in Management Services & Information Systems from the University of Manchester, UK. There are 9 technicians shouldering the responsibilities of routine work of the laboratory.
The major equipment in the laboratory comprises Segmented Flow Analyser Type 4000 with 4 Channels; Flame Photometer FLM 3 50R76N 10 ; Atomic Absorption Spectrometer Model PU 9100X ; UV/VIS Spectrometer 8625, and Gas Chromatography HP 6890 series.
The laboratory analyses soil samples for checking soil fertility status of different soils and for extensive soil survey & classification work; plant samples for foliar diagnosis; fertilizer samples for quality control; water samples for potability, irrigation and environmental quality control. The laboratory has the capacity to handle about 3,000 samples in a year.
Parameters determined in samples are: moisture content, pH, electrical conductivity, N,P,K, cation exchange capacity with exchangeable cations Mg, K, Ca, and Na, organic matter, trace elements viz. Fe, Cu, Zn, B, Mn and Al.
To maintain an optimum or higher analytical standards whenever possible, SPAL participates in the International Exchange Programme for Soil and Plant Samples Analysis coordinated by the Wageningen Agriculture University (WAU) in the Netherlands after paying an annual subscription fee of â‚¬ 990. In a batch of 10 samples, local control (master) samples are introduced as standards to have consistency in output. Relevant software packages & databases have been developed for efficiently managing the data generated from the laboratory.