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Open AccessArticle

Predictions of Cu, Zn, and Cd Concentrations in Soil Using Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Measurements

Department of Soil and Environment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-75007 Uppsala/SE-53223 Skara, Sweden
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Sensors 2020, 20(2), 474; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20020474
Received: 2 December 2019 / Revised: 10 January 2020 / Accepted: 12 January 2020 / Published: 14 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical and Fluorescent Sensors for Environment)
Portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) measurements on 1520 soil samples were used to create national prediction models for copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and cadmium (Cd) concentrations in agricultural soil. The models were validated at both national and farm scales. Multiple linear regression (MLR), random forest (RF), and multivariate adaptive regression spline (MARS) models were created and compared. National scale cross-validation of the models gave the following R2 values for predictions of Cu (R2 = 0.63), Zn (R2 = 0.92), and Cd (R2 = 0.70) concentrations. Independent validation at the farm scale revealed that Zn predictions were relatively successful regardless of the model used (R2 > 0.90), showing that a simple MLR model can be sufficient for certain predictions. However, predictions at the farm scale revealed that the non-linear models, especially MARS, were more accurate than MLR for Cu (R2 = 0.94) and Cd (R2 = 0.80). These results show that multivariate modelling can compensate for some of the shortcomings of the PXRF device (e.g., high limits of detection for certain elements and some elements not being directly measurable), making PXRF sensors capable of predicting elemental concentrations in soil at comparable levels of accuracy to conventional laboratory analyses. View Full-Text
Keywords: PXRF; soil; copper; zinc; cadmium; machine learning; precision agriculture PXRF; soil; copper; zinc; cadmium; machine learning; precision agriculture
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Adler, K.; Piikki, K.; Söderström, M.; Eriksson, J.; Alshihabi, O. Predictions of Cu, Zn, and Cd Concentrations in Soil Using Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Measurements. Sensors 2020, 20, 474.

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