Compost salinity assessment via portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) spectrometry

David C. Weindorf, Somsubhra Chakraborty, Bin Li, Sanjit Deb, Atinderpal Singh, Nana Y. Kusi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Compost salinity is an ongoing concern for compost producers, especially with certain feedstocks and in arid or semiarid regions. Current testing protocols call for sampling and testing ex-situ via 1:5 (w/v) slurries via electrical conductance. For this research an alternate approach has been proposed, the use of portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) spectrometry. Adapting methods developed for soil and water salinity analysis via PXRF, elemental data was used as a proxy for the prediction of compost salinity. In total, 74 compost samples were scanned with PXRF followed by traditional laboratory analysis. Results indicated a strong correlation between the datasets (R2 0.80; RMSE 1.04 dS m−1), similar to findings for soil and water salinity. Furthermore, using the same elemental dataset, compost pH was reasonably predicted (R2 0.63; RMSE 0.35). PXRF has the benefit of being able to be conducted in-situ or in the laboratory. And, multiple chemical parameters of interest can potentially be predicted from the same dataset. In conclusion, PXRF shows promise for rapid, in-situ salinity determination of composted products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalWaste Management
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Compost
  • PXRF
  • Proximal sensors
  • Salinity
  • pH


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