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Aims: To check the effect of soil environment on chemistry of potassium and calcium nutrients in wheat plants with varying soil conditions.
Study Design: Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) measurements on plant/soil samples. Study of fluorescent X-ray spectra and data processing to calculate shift in photo peak energies of nutrients.
Place and Duration of Study: XRF laboratory, Nuclear science laboratories, Physics Department, Punjabi University, Patiala during December 2013-March 2014.
Methodology: A pot experiment was performed on wheat plants grown on soils collected from different sites of six cities / town / village in Punjab, India. Low power X-ray tube set up for Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) measurements has been used to record the fluorescent X-ray spectra of wheat plants and soils for macro nutrient studies. SOLVER a powerful program included in Microsoft Excel for Windows was applied to predict nutrient X-ray energies with precision 10-4 of channel width. The shifts in peak energies were evaluated with reference to that of plant/soil from an environmentally protected ground site.
Results: The shift in calcium photo peak energies was found higher than that of potassium photo peaks. In case of soils, the shifts are related to level of contamination of soils from sewage system, factory sites and road sides. The changes in soil nutrients’ chemical state lead to these shifts and accordingly from studied shifts, the height of the contamination level is approximated and correlated with the population life style of localities and environment of occupations on the soils like industries, farming and gardening etc. The shifts in nutrient photo peak energies in plants, generally, in opposite direction to that for soils signify the wheat plants’ quality to cope with stress conditions.
Conclusion: Shifts in photo peak energies for nutrients can be used as tool to sense the contamination level of soil.