A rapid analysis ion-selective electrode (ISE) system for measurement of [NO3] in nutrient solution (NS), soil solution (SS) and petiole sap (PS) was evaluated. For each material, there were 797–2010 samples from 5 to 6 different crops, and from 2 to 4 different species.
Accuracy was evaluated by linear regression (LR) with laboratory analysis (automated colorimetry, Cd reduction), and by relative error (RE), the average percentage deviation from laboratory analysis. For NS, the LR was y = 0.982x + 0.76, R2 = 0.962 (n = 2010), for combined data from 5 crops (3 pepper, 2 cucumber). For SS, the LR was y = 0.975x + 1.13, R2 = 0.965 (n = 797), for combined data from 5 crops (3 pepper, 2 cucumber). For undiluted PS, the LR relationship was y = 0.742x + 168.02, R2 = 0.892 (n = 1425), for combined data from 6 crops (3 pepper, 2 cucumber, 1 melon). The underestimation was most pronounced at [NO3-N] of >1500 mg NO3–N L-1. For diluted petiole sap (dilution by 10 for pepper and melon, 5 for other species), the LR relationship was y = 1.010x + 99.26, R2 = 0.927 (n = 1182), for combined data from 6 crops (2 pepper, 2 cucumber, 1 melon, 1 tomato).
RE values for all measurements in composite datasets were 14%, 22%, 24% and 25% for NS, SS, undiluted PS and diluted PS respectively, and they were lower in concentrations most likely to be measured in practical on-farm work. The ISE system measured [NO3] in NS, SS and diluted PS with sufficient accuracy to effectively guide on-farm decision making.
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