• Khairunnisa Mohd Yusof Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
  • Suhaila Isaak Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
  • Nurfatihah Che Abd Rashid Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
  • Nor Hafizah Ngajikin Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia



Spectroscopy, Non-agriculture soil, NPK, Absorbance, LED


Soil is a medium for plant roots to grow, absorb water and necessary solutes for growth. Soil macronutrient testing is helpful for determining the nutrients content in soil before applying fertilizer for quality and process controls of agricultural produce and soil fertility. Spectroscopy is an emerging technology which is rapid and simple has been widely used in agricultural and food analysis processes. The capability of spectroscopy to characterize material from the transmission or absorbance has been used in this paper to measure nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) content in non-agriculture soil. The paper details preliminary characterization of soil spectroscopy with a Deuterium-Halogen light source and Ocean Optic spectrometer to measure the absorbance level of the macronutrients. The extracted nutrients were mixed with the colour reagent and specific colored solution was developed. Two soil samples have been employed for the experimental characterization, which are mud flood and kaolin. The result shows that high absorbance level of N at 450 nm in wavelength, P at 750 nm for both samples.  The absorbance level of K was measured high at 500nm for mud flood and 450nm for kaolin. In addition, the tested macronutrients give similar wavelength of peak absorbance level at 970 nm for both samples. For future works, the optical measurements will be implemented using visible and near infrared LED and the photodetector in order to replace the spectrometer usage for soil spectroscopy. This would lead to achieve the primary objective of this research in developing a simple and low cost spectroscopy uses light-emitting diode (LED).


Kim, H. J., Kenneth, A. S., Hummel, J. W. 2009. Soil Macronutrient Sensing for Precision Agriculture. Journal of Environmental Monitoring. 11: 1810-1824.

Ramane, D. E., Patil, S. S. and Shaligram, A. D. 2015. Detection of NPK Nutrients of Soil Using Fiber Optic Sensor. International Journal of Research in Advent Technology Special Issue National Conference ACGT 2015. 13-14 Feb 2015.

Sinfield, J., Fagerman, D. and Colic, O. 2010. Evaluation of Sensing Technologies for On-The-Go Detection of Macro-Nutrients in Cultivated Soils. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 70: 1-18.

Diaz, D., Hahn, D. W. and Molina, A. 2012. Evaluation of Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) as a Measurement technique for Evaluation of Total Elemental Concentration in Soils. Applied Spectroscopy. 66(1): 99-106.

Bah. A., Balasundram, S.K and Husni, M. H. A. 2012. Sensor Technologies for Precision Soil Nutrient Management and Monitoring. American Journal of Agriculture and Biological Sciences. 7(21): 43-49.

Adamchuk, V. I., Hummel, J. W., Morgan, M. T. and Upadhyaya, S. K. 2004. On-The-Go Soil Sensors for Precision Agriculture. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 44: 71-91.

Yokota, M., Okada, T. and Yamaguchi, I. 2007. An Optical Sensor for Analysis of Soil Nutrients by Using Led Light Sources. Measurement Science and Technology. 18: 2197-2201.

Mohamad, M. and Manap, H. 2015. The Optimal Absorption of Bilirubin Using an Optical Fiber Sensor. ARPN Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences. 10(19): 8762-8764.

Hardesty, J. H. and Attili, B. 2010. Spectrophotometry and the Beer-Lambert Law: An Important Analytical Technique in Chemistry. Collin College, Department of Chemistry.

Svanberg, S. 2004. Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy: Basic Aspects and Practical Applications. 4th ed. Berlin Heidelberg New York: Springer.

Hussain, T., Gondal, M., A., Yamani, Z., H. and Baig, M., A. 2007. Measurement of Nutrients in Green House Soil with Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy. Environmental Monitoring Assessment. 124: 131-139.

Singh, N. and Shaligram, A., D. 2014. NPK Measurement in Soil and Automatic Soil Fertilizer Dispensing Robot. International Journal of Engineering Research & Technology. 3(7): 635-637.

Benton, J. J. J. 2012. Plant Nutrition and Soil Fertility Manual. 2nd ed. United State: CRC Press.






Science and Engineering

How to Cite