Quantitative and qualitative characterisation of humic products with spectral parameters

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Abstract

Purpose: The application of different humic products for the treatment of soils and plants has increased in recent years. The characteristics of humic products, such as the content and composition of organic carbon and the maturity, provide valuable information which is essential for an adequate application. Such information is crucial for manufacturers, business consultants and users involved in the production, distribution and implementation of humic products. This article presents the correlation between the quantitative indicators of commercial humic products and their spectral characteristics via measurements in the ultraviolet spectrum at 300 nm, in the visible area at 445 and 665 nm and in the near-infrared spectrum at 850 nm. Materials and methods: We evaluated humic products (liquid and solid) of different origins. Via wet combustion, the content of total organic carbon in humic products can be determined. The precipitation of humic acids from the starting solution determines the composition of the humic products in terms of humic acids (HAs) and fulvic acids (FAs). The dissolution of HAs determines their concentration by titration, while the specific extinction can be assessed via spectrophotometry via measuring the absorption of HAs spectra at the following wavelengths: 300, 465, 665 and 850 nm. The degree of aromaticity and condensation of humic products determines the optical density of the HAs via the E4/E6 ratio. Results and discussion: The content of total organic carbon varied widely from 0.55 to 37.5% across all groups. The content of carbon in HAs, as a percentage of the total carbon in fulvic-type humic products, ranged from 1.29 to 16.00%, while in humic-type products, it ranged from 51.43 to 91.92%. The minimum value of the E4/E6 ratio was 2.97, while the maximum value was 6.35. We observed a direct relationship between the dominant type of acids in humic products and the E4/E6 ratio. Conclusions: The optical density of HAs indicates their quality characteristics. The presented optical characteristics for humic products show that there is a direct relationship, especially between HAs/FAs and E4/E6 ratios. Measurement at 300 nm (E300) in the near-ultraviolet area and at 850 nm (E850) in the near-infrared area can increase the range of the spectral study.

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Filcheva, E., Hristova, M., Nikolova, P., Popova, T., Chakalov, K., & Savov, V. (2018). Quantitative and qualitative characterisation of humic products with spectral parameters. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 18(8), 2863–2867. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11368-018-2021-4

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