With global accreditation, ICRISAT soil laboratory set to serve as focal point for soil analysis
ICRISAT’s soil laboratory has recently been accredited by the FAO Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN), becoming only the second lab in India to achieve this distinction. The laboratory can now serve as a focal point for all soil laboratories in India and help develop a regional laboratory network in the country.
A glimpse at Charles Renard Analytical Laboratory
The state-of-the-art laboratory for soil, plant and water analysis was set up in 1978
- Since 2009, nearly 25,000 soil samples analyzed for Bhoochetana, Bhoosamrudddhi and Sujala projects of the Government of Karnataka
- In 2018, 2000 soil samples from Uttar Pradesh, 5000 from Maharashtra and 26,000 samples from Odisha tested for various government-funded projects
- Capacity to analyze up to 250 samples per day for 14 parameters (including primary, macro- and micronutrients)
- High-precision, automated equipment: Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and Microwave Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscope (MPAES)
- Qualified and trained technical staff
- Quality assurance monitored by Wageningen University, The Netherlands
- Safe and eco-friendly disposal of hazardous wastes.
With this accreditation, the laboratory is now looking at:
- Contributing inputs to FAO for developing best practices in soil analysis
- Upgrading performance of soil labs in the region by providing technical training
- Improving quality assurance and quality control processes for soil analysis.
- The ICRISAT Development Center (IDC) has initiated the process for upgradation of two referral soil testing laboratories at Bhubaneshwar and Sambalpur in Odisha state as a part of the Bhoochetana project. Once upgraded, these labs will be equipped to validate soil data generated by other district-level soil testing labs in the state. To aid capacity building of the staff of these government labs, IDC recently conducted a five-day exposure visit-cum-training workshop at the ICRISAT soil lab – Charles Renard Analytical Lab.
Dr Peter Carberry, Director General, ICRISAT, unveiling the registration certificate for the lab, said, “ICRISAT’s research activities span a wide range of sciences – from genomics to plant breeding to nutrition. But soil science underpins them all and therefore is a key part of all of ICRISAT’s work.”
GLOSOLAN was set up in 2017 with a goal to improve soil data to support decision making at field and policy levels. There are 260 soil laboratories currently accredited by GLOSOLAN. The accreditation process, lasting over a year with inspection and validation of protocols and standard operating procedures, found the practices at the ICRISAT soil lab suitably meeting global standards. Dr Sreenath Dixit, Head, IDC, said, “Our next steps will be towards analyzing the biological properties of soil to provide farmers with a holistic vision of their soils.”
The registration certificate was presented to the lab in December 2019.