Ion-exchange resin strips as plant root simulators
Ion-exchange resin strips have the potential to closely mimic the manner in which a plant root removes nutrient ions from the surrounding soil. A method was developed involving burial of resin strips in soil; followed by a de-ionized water and dilute HCl wash of the strips. In approximately 200 soil samples obtained from across Saskatchewan, the plant availability of nitrate, ammonium, phosphate, potassium and sulphate as predicted by resin strip burial was significantly correlated with the plant availability predicted by conventional chemical-based soil extractions. Growth chamber experiments were set up in which canola plants were grown on the soils and actual plant nutrient uptake compared to test-predicted availability. The ability of the resin strip burial to predict differences in availability of N and P to canola was similar to the conventional soil extractants, but for K and S the strip burial appeared to be a better predictor of observed differences in plant uptake.
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