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Metals Analysis of Agricultural Soils via Portable X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry

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To assess the applicability of portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) spectrometry for metals analysis, total concentrations of As, Pb, Cu, and Zn in 47 agricultural soils were determined using in situ PXRF analysis, ex situ PXRF analysis, and conventional laboratory analysis. The correlation regression parameters of PXRF data with the data of conventional analysis were significantly improved upon going from in situ to ex situ, indicating that improvement of the ex situ PXRF data quality was achieved thorough sample preparation. Use of PXRF in situ was inferior to other analyses, especially when attempting to quantify relatively low levels of metals in agricultural soils. A high degree of linearity and similar spatial distribution existed between ex situ PXRF and laboratory analysis, suggesting that PXRF can be used in rapid detection or screening of agricultural soils, but is best followed with additional sample preparation ex situ and laboratory confirmation.

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This study was supported by the funding from National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41101491 and U1202236), the frontier project of the knowledge innovation engineering field of Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISSASIP1106) and the Special Research Foundation of the Public Natural Resource Management Department from Ministry of Environmental Protection of China (201109018).

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Correspondence to Biao Huang.

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Hu, W., Huang, B., Weindorf, D.C. et al. Metals Analysis of Agricultural Soils via Portable X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 92, 420–426 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-014-1236-3

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  • In situ XRF
  • Analytical methods
  • Field screening tests
  • Rapid detection