Agriculture varies from the home gardener to horticulture with commercial greenhouses. They all have a common thread: they sustain the world. Testing, monitoring and adjusting growth parameters help to maximize efficiency, quality and produce. The Sentron glass-free ISFET pH probes are a good solution for this.

Agriculture and pH

Soil pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of the soil. Having the correct pH is important for healthy plant growth as it reflects the chemical conditions. For example, the pH controls the availability of nutrients. The solubility of certain elements increases by lower pH levels, slowing down or stopping root growth. Also, biological functions, microbial activity, and the behavior of chemicals is controlled by the pH levels. Knowing this, it is wise to check the soil pH frequently.

As the soil pH has influence on the plant growth, the importance to check and adjust it is important for many market segments. To name a few: crop growth for the feed market, hemp for the industrial and medical market, hay for the horse market and fruit trees like the blue berry for the food market. All of these are affected by a suboptimal soil pH and so checking and adjusting pH is of great importance.

In soils, the pH is measured in a slurry of soil mixed with distilled water. The LanceFET pH probe, thanks to its PEEK tip with stainless steel point, is perfectly suited for this piercing application. After predrilling a pilot hole in the soil the more generally used ConeFET probe with a blunt tip of PEEK and ABS can also be used to measure the pH in the soil.

The positions of the ISFET and reference electrode have been designed to be clog and pollution resistant. In the event debris has accumulated on the sensor it can be easily cleaned with running tap or demineralized water and soft toothbrush, which benefits the probe’s performance and prolonged life.

Agriculture pH package

For easy use, we have assembled a complete agriculture package. This package is all you need for wireless, durable pH monitoring in the field. The use of a smartphone provides easy use of the app. Multiple probes can be connected to the app for simultaneous readings. The required buffer solutions and pre-drill stick complete the package. The carry case protects the equipment and provides easy carriage and storage. 

Sentron product

What’s next?

By taking a serious look at all applications, we keep entering into new innovations in our semiconductor production facility. Soon we will launch sensors for EC and ORP, with which great multisensor solutions for e.g. water monitoring can be provided. Additionally, we’re looking forward to end the R&D on ion-selective sensors.

For all applications we constantly seek innovations in our semiconductor factory. Soon we will launch sensors for EC and ORP. These can provide great multi-sensor solutions for, e.g., water monitoring. Imagine: all parameters to be monitored using one and the same probe! Additionally, we’re looking forward to finalize the R&D on ion-selective sensors.

The EC is the measure of a material’s ability to allow the transport of an electric charge. This knowledge is important for water-quality monitoring in public water supplies, in hospitals, in boiler water and in industries which depend on water quality such as horticulture and breweries.

Low conductivities are expected for pure water applications like aquaria, household, drinking water and rivers. On the other side, high conductivities are expected for industries like irrigation, greenhouses and manure.

The ORP is the measure of the tendency of aqueous solutions, or any other chemical species, to either acquire electrons from an electrode and be reduced thereby, or to lose electrons to an electrode and be oxidized thereby. This knowledge is important for water-quality monitoring in hydroponics, aquaria, swimming pools, as well as environmental and wastewater sampling. E.g. ORP is an indicator of micro-organism inactivation in a swimming pool or spa pool.

High ORP values (positive potentials) are expected for aerated surface water, rivers, lakes, oceans, rainwater and acid mine water. Low ORP values (negative potentials) are expected in places with limitations in air supply such as submerged soils, swamps and marine sediments.

We started innovative developments on ion-selective sensors that have a membrane mixture suitable for detection of different ions based on the ISFET technology. Selectivity is based on proprietary modifications with several polymer matrix configurations. Nitrate (NO3), Ammonium (NH4+) and Potassium (K+) are currently in development.