The New GFAAS (soil testing) Machine is a Shot in the Arm for Zim’s Smallholder Farmers

Soil analysis is a vital process for ensuring the quality and productivity of agricultural land. Soil analysis can provide information on the nutrient status, pH, salinity, organic matter, and heavy metal contamination of the soil. These parameters can affect the growth and health of crops, as well as the safety of food products.

However, soil analysis is often expensive and time-consuming, especially for smallholder farmers who have limited access to laboratory facilities and technical expertise. Moreover, conventional methods of soil analysis, such as flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry (FAAS) and diphenyl carbazide spectrophotometry, may suffer from interferences, low sensitivity, or inaccurate results due to the complex composition of soil matrices.

Through support from Brot fur die Welt, we are glad to introduce a novel technique that can improve soil analysis services for smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe: graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry (GFAAS). GFAAS is a type of atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) that uses a graphite tube as the atomisation chamber instead of a flame.

GFAAS can be used to measure several elements that are important for soil analyses. GFAAS is a powerful technique that can provide accurate and reliable results for soil analysis. By using GFAAS, smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe can benefit from improved soil analysis services that can help them monitor and manage their soil fertility, crop productivity, food safety, and environmental health.

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