Soil chemical analysis

Soil sample types we can analyse include:

  • agricultural
  • contaminated land
  • squeezed pore waters
  • experimental waters
  • effluents and leacheates

High throughput is available for survey-scale soil sampling.

Bioaccessibility and CISED

BGS offers bioaccessibility testing of soils by the application of a methodology that simulates conditions in the gastrointestinal tract, to assess the human bioaccessibility of potentially harmful elements by ingestion. The methodology applied has been developed by the BioAccessibility Research Group of Europe (BARGE) and known as the Unified BARGE Method or UBM. These tests can be followed up with an investigation into the source of the potentially harmful elements using a method of chemometric identification of substrates and element distribution (CISED) (Cave et al., 2004; Wragg and Cave, 2012).

Partition coefficient

Partition coefficient (Kd) testing is also available for a range of routine and non-routine determinands, e.g. nitrates, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and mercury. The method employed uses an EA approved Kd test adapted from Gillespie et al., 2000 (Environment Agency Technical Report TR P340).

Gamma emitting isotopes capability

Natural daughter products from uranium and thorium decay, such as 210Pb, may be used as environmental tracers. Occasionally anthropogenic processes such as oil or gas extraction may pre–concentrate these to hazardous levels i.e. radium in barium sulphate–rich brines. Some of these may be measured using our Canberra Broad Energy germanium gamma spectrometers.

Certain artificial isotopes may be found in our environment or industrial processes due to past nuclear releases, i.e. 137Cs from atmospheric bomb tests or 60Co from steel irradiation. Some of these may be measured using our Canberra Broad Energy germanium gamma spectrometers.


Please contact Michael Watts, Charles Gowing or Simon Chenery for further information.