Several people in my network have directed me to this publication in the past week wondering why it seemed to leave out any reference to the Digital Soil Core (DSC).
It is a 2022 paper that purports to be a ‘Review of Recent Advances in Sensors for Soil Analysis’. Unfortunately, the culture of academia constrains reviews like this to only what has been reported in peer-reviewed literature, leaving out important developments outside of academia. That kind of thinking does a disservice to those who might attempt to deploy this type of technology in industrial-scale applications like precision farming.
Start with the definition of in-situ…removing a sample from the ground and testing it is NOT in-situ. Second, and most importantly, they missed the DSC. Nothing reviewed in this publication even comes close to the technology contained within the DSC. The DSC contains 7 sensors including ALL THREE of the authors’ defined classes of sensors (electrochemical, electromagnetic, gravimetric) AND two that the review omitted entirely (electro-optic imaging and acoustic emission) in ONE PROBE! And the data are collected in-situ through the entire soil profile in about 60 seconds.
Again, if the academic technology review process confines its own scope to within academia, I guess that’s fine, though maybe this shows why universities in general have a poor record of getting their discoveries into actual practice where society can benefit from them…but when the review fails to capture the reality ‘on the ground’ and is being consumed by industry, one has to ask who this approach benefits? Certainly not growers or the environment.
Image credit: Nadporozhskaya et al., Chemosensors 2022, 10(1), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/chemosensors10010035