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Open AccessArticle

A Comprehensive Study of Three Different Portable XRF Scanners to Assess the Soil Geochemistry of An Extensive Sample Dataset

1
Department of Environment, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
2
Laboratory of Environmental and Urban Ecology, Department of Bioscience Engineering, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, 2020 Antwerp, Belgium
3
Department of Geology, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
4
Soil and Water Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Suez Canal University, Ismailia 41522, Egypt
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(21), 2490; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11212490
Received: 3 September 2019 / Revised: 15 October 2019 / Accepted: 21 October 2019 / Published: 24 October 2019
The assessment of soil elemental concentrations nowadays mainly occurs through conventional laboratory analyses. However, proximal soil sensing (PSS) techniques such as X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry are proving to reduce analysis time and costs, and thus offer a worthy alternative to laboratory analyses. Moreover, XRF scanners are non-destructive and can be directly employed in the field. Although the use of XRF for soil elemental analysis is becoming widely accepted, most previous studies were limited to one scanner, a few samples, a few elements, or a non-diverse sample database. Here, an extensive and diverse soil database was used to compare the performance of three different XRF scanners with results obtained through conventional laboratory analyses. Scanners were used in benchtop mode with built-in soil calibrations to measure the concentrations of 15 elements. Although in many samples Cu, S, P, and Mg concentrations were up to 6, 12, 13, and 5 times overestimated by XRF, and empirical recalibration is recommended, all scanners produced acceptable results, even for lighter elements. Unexpectedly, XRF performance did not seem to depend on soil characteristics such as CaCO3 content. While performances will be worse when expanding to the field, our results show that XRF can easily be applied by non-experts to measure soil elemental concentrations reliably in widely different environments. View Full-Text
Keywords: benchtop portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF); spectroscopy; elemental analysis; soil; data quality benchtop portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF); spectroscopy; elemental analysis; soil; data quality
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MDPI and ACS Style

Declercq, Y.; Delbecque, N.; De Grave, J.; De Smedt, P.; Finke, P.; Mouazen, A.M.; Nawar, S.; Vandenberghe, D.; Van Meirvenne, M.; Verdoodt, A. A Comprehensive Study of Three Different Portable XRF Scanners to Assess the Soil Geochemistry of An Extensive Sample Dataset. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 2490.

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