Soil Fertility and Nutrition
The Soil and Foliar Laboratory belongs to the Soil Fertility and Crop Nutrition Department, which is composed of a group of researchers dedicated to generating new information on soil fertility and management in the country, as well as the nutrition of various crops that grow in them, both at the laboratory and in greenhouse and field settings. The Soil and Foliar Laboratory conducts all types of chemical analyses related to crop nutrition, both for research and teaching purposes. For many years, they have been providing these analysis services to agricultural producers in the country. They perform analyses on soils, foliar samples, media, and water, which are used to diagnose nutritional issues in production systems. They also analyze the quality of organic fertilizers and fertilizers used to address crop nutritional problems. In addition to the range of internal quality control measures implemented by the laboratory, they participate in national sample exchange programs like PINAS and PINAF, as well as the international program at Wageningen University in the Netherlands called WEPAL. By providing analyses used as tools for nutritional diagnosis, they promote the development of precision agriculture, aiming to use resources according to the true needs of each site. Additionally, by conducting analyses of the quality of products used to address nutritional problems, they contribute to the selection of the best options.
The facility includes a sample reception area, a preparation and drying area, laboratories for digestion and analysis, and a data processing area. There are also greenhouses for conducting biological tests. For conducting the analyses, the Soil and Foliar Laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art analytical and instrumental equipment, including microwave digestion units, atomic absorption spectrometers, a plasma atomic emission spectrometer, nitrogen autoanalyzers, and a flow injection analyzer.
Quality Management System
The Soil and Foliar Laboratory operates under a Quality Management System established according to the INTE-ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard, which outlines general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. Currently, it has foliar tests accredited by the Costa Rican Accreditation Entity (Ente Costarricense de Acreditación), and you can see the scope of accreditation in Accreditation Scope No. LE-033 at www.eca.or.cr. This accreditation ensures high standards of quality for the benefit of the national agricultural sector.