SCIENCES of SOILS, Rel. 1, 1996 -

Laboratory and Field Methodologies for Use of Resin Capsules

E.O. Skogley*, Achim Dobermann**, Gordon E. Warrington***, Mirasol F. Pampolino** and Ma. Arlene A. Adviento**

* - Department of Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717-0312, USA

** - Soil and Water Sciences Division, International Rice Research Institute, P.O. Box 933, Manila 1099, PHILIPPINES

*** - WECSA, 8125 Turman Court, Fort Collins, CO 80525-9347, USA


Key Words

Ion-exchange resin, resin capsule, soil testing, soil nutrient analysis, nutrient availability, environmental monitoring, lowland rice soils


Knowledge of soils, waters, and other natural media is critical to production of food, protection of the environment, and quality of life. Synthetic exchange resins, since their invention 50 years ago, have been used in an increasing number and variety of studies to help increase this knowledge base. Results from resin studies allow researchers to gain new information that often cannot be obtained in other ways. The capsule system was developed to provide a simple, convenient, repeatable resin methodology that can be used in the laboratory or in the field. Keys to the successful use of this system include proper sampling and sample handling, careful and uniform use of capsules, and appropriate protocols for recovery and analysis of target elements. Suggestions for uniform protocols, both in the laboratory and in the field, are presented so that those who use the methodology can obtain more useful results and allow meaningful comparison with those from other similar studies. Avoiding problems in resin capsule use are discussed, and special protocols for use in wetland soils are presented. Resin capsule results provide information similar to analyzing plants to determine uptake of substances, rather than being based on the mass or volume of soil involved. Results of studies to determine the repeatability of the resin capsule methodology indicate that it is at least as precise as standard chemical extraction. The resin capsule methodology provides a potential for standardization and quality control in soil testing that cannot be realized with contemporary approaches, and it opens up a broad range of in situ applications.