The Baba Atomic Research Centre has developed a Soil Organic Detection Kit. This kit analyses organic carbon content of soil directly on the field. It has been devised to help farmers to understand the carbon status of his field which ultimately decides the yield of crop. The kit gives quick results and thereby enables farmer to take corrective measures for maintaining soil fertility especially before sowing and at the harvest of any crop. The detection method works on the basis of organic matter extraction from the soil. The extraction is again enhanced by addition of chemicals provided in the kit and the colour developed after extraction can be compared with chart provided for estimation of organic carbon content of the soil. Also, the analysis is easy to perform as requires only 15-20 min and farmers can use the kit without any prior knowledge.
Typical soil generally contains at least 45% inorganic components, 5% organic components, 25% air and 25% water on average basis. Organic carbon plays major role in biological activity and fertility of the soil. In different parts of the world positive correlation between the amounts of organic carbon and soil fertility has been proved. Indian soil ecosystems are very dynamic due to its sub-tropical climate, resulting rapid degradation of organic matter in these soils. Soil organic carbon content up to 1.5-2.0 % increases soil porosity that supports growth of the soil microorganisms. This increases availability of different nutrients to the plant, resulting in better crop yield. Thus organic carbon is a true indicator of the soil health. Also it is true that soils with sufficient organic carbon in it definitely contains other major elements like Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium in more available form.
There are difficulties to analyse organic carbon of soil regularly due to specific reagents, skills and proper setup that are available only at approved laboratories. As these laboratories are in low number farmers are unable to monitor soil organic carbon on regular basis. Soil Organic Carbon Detection Kit (SOCDK) developed at BARC, ideally a quick, accurate and field test will be able to guide the farmer for this purpose.
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