Quality of the AgroCares Services
AgroCares proposes products and services to analyse soil samples faster, easier and cheaper without any chemical reagents, based on sensor technology. The purpose of this article is to illustrate how we ensure the quality of our results and weigh them against those obtained through traditional wet chemistry techniques.
The Calibration Database
All AgroCares services rely on a global calibration database, in which the electromagnetic spectrum of soil samples from all over the world are stored alongside with their wet-chemistry characteristics. When a sensor measurement comes in from the Scanner or the Lab-in-a-box, it is converted into wet-chemistry parameters using this calibration database. Therefore, to measure the accuracy of the sensor measurements what is really required is to test the quality of the calibration database.
To expand and strengthen the calibration database, new samples are added each month and its quality is thoroughly tested on a regular basis by our team of experts.
The quality aspects cannot be easily summed. It depends on factors such as the variability of the soil, the transport distance and the quality of the wet-chemistry lab facility, etc that determine the overall quality of the analysis. With dry chemistry, the first three steps outperform traditional wet chemistry methods: the samples are analysed on the spot and can therefore nor be altered, because of its low price, more samples can be collected and analysed giving a better overview, the results are obtained using mathematical predictions that involve no human factor or reagents giving less room to mistake.
The main difference between the Lab-in-a-Box and the Scanner lies in the sensor used in the equipment. The Lab-in-a-box contains a MID infrared spectrometer and an XRF allowing it to produce detailed spectra from which alot of information can be extracted easily. The Scanner is composed of a NIR Infrared spectrometer, cheaper and easier to transport, but producing spectra with less detailed and informatiove information. For this reason, the Lab-in-a-box can measure more soil parameters and has a better performance compared to the Scanner.