IAS technician Akata Ratuwalesi recently attended a South Pacific Agricultural Chemistry Laboratory Network (SPACNET) soils analysts training at the Koronivia Research Station from the 7-9 April, 2008.
This training of regional soil analysts was funded and coordinated by Landcare Research, New Zealand.
The Institute of Applied Sciences Analytical Laboratory has over the years participated in soil check sample analyses coordinated by SPACNET. Samples are analysed in the participating laboratories and results compared to “correct” values. Over this period, SPACNET has identified problem areas participants are facing.
The recent training specifically addressed issues to improve participants’ performances. The hands-on training included determination of pH, EC, Olsen P, Cation Exchangeable Capacity, TKN, Organic Carbon, Exchangeable Bases (Ca, Mg, Na, K) and DPTA extractable Cu, Fe, Zn, Mg.
While soil analysis is not one of IAS’ current areas of expertise it had been slowly building its capacity to meet current customers’ demand. In the previous years soil chemists like Professor John Morrison and Dr Sereana Kubuabola had senior positions at IAS and soil chemistry was a major IAS emphasis.
The Koronivia training and a similar one Ms Ratuwalesi attended at the Natural Science Resource Sciences Chemistry Centre, Indooropilly, Queensland in November, 2007 will bolster IAS capacity in soil analysis.