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Title: Rapid soil fertility prediction using X-ray fluorescence data and machine learning algorithms
Keywords: Portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry
Soil fertility
Proximal sensor
Tropical soils
Soil spatial variability
Machine learning
Espectrometria de fluorescência de raios X portátil
Fertilidade do solo
Sensor proximal
Solos tropicais
Variabilidade espacial do solo
Aprendizado de máquina
Issue Date: Feb-2021
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: BENEDET, L. et al. Rapid soil fertility prediction using X-ray fluorescence data and machine learning algorithms. Catena, Amsterdam, v. 197, 105003, Feb. 2021. DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2020.105003.
Abstract: Conventional soil fertility analyses are laborious, costly, time-consuming, and produce hazardous waste. The high demand of these laboratory-based analyses prompted us to investigate an environment-friendly, rapid, and inexpensive methodology for soil fertility assessment. Portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF) spectrometry allows the determination of total elemental concentration in soils quickly, simply and without hazardous waste production. However, incipient usage of this technology for the prediction of soil fertility properties has been reported for tropical conditions. Soil samples were collected from seven Brazilian states (n = 1975) aiming to use pXRF data to predict contents of available or exchangeable Ca2+, Mg2+, Al3+, K+ and P by testing different algorithms using 70% of the samples for model training, and the remaining 30% for model validation. In addition to point data predictions, the best performing models were applied to data obtained from a farm within the studied regions with a known cropping history to create soil fertility maps and illustrate another applicability of this approach. The attested use of pXRF data and machine learning algorithms stepwise Generalized Linear Model (GLM) and Random Forest (RF) to predict the contents of relevant soil fertility properties exhibited great potential. Validation of the models corroborated that RF resulted in more accurate predictions than GLM. Validation R2 values ranged from 0.59 to 0.82. Maps created were coherent with expected distributions of soil fertility attributes. This environment-friendly methodology may be used for the assessment of soil fertility properties in a wide range of tropical and subtropical soils with minimum waste generation and reduced costs.
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