Application of portable colorimeter for identification of mollic horizon and mollic-based soil groups
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Instytut Nauk o Glebie, Żywienia Roślin i Ochrony Środowiska, Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy we Wrocławiu, Polska
Submission date: 2023-08-20
Final revision date: 2023-10-03
Acceptance date: 2023-11-08
Online publication date: 2023-11-08
Publication date: 2023-12-07
Corresponding author
Cezary Kabała   

Instytut Nauk o Glebie, Żywienia Roślin i Ochrony Środowiska, Uniwersytet Przyrodniczy we Wrocławiu, Norwida 25, 50-375, Wrocław, Polska
Soil Sci. Ann., 2023, 74(3)175008
Identification of soil colours, which have crucial importance as diagnostic criteria for mollic horizon and mollic-based soil groups, is considered to be impacted by personal skill and experience of the researcher. The experiment with soil colour identification in the field using standard Munsell charts and the laboratory identification by four groups of experts, as well as using the electronic portable colorimeter was conducted using 30 loess- and alluvium-derived soils. The manual field identification of mollic horizons by individual highly experienced researcher, based on colour value and chroma (using the Munsell charts), may be overestimated up to 17% compared to manual identification by group of experts under laboratory conditions. The differences between groups of experts were statistically insignificant; however, a weak tendency to identify the lower value (dry) and higher chroma (moist) with increasing expert age or experience was observed (in the order: MSc students – PhD students – doctors – professors). No significant difference in soil colour identification was observed in relation to gender of experts. An electronic measurement of soil colours by portable colorimeter confirmed an overestimation of the manual identification of mollic horizons by 17% and 7%, compared to individual (field) and group (lab) recognition, respectively. The study confirmed the suitability of standard portable colorimeter for the verification of colours required for mollic horizon, in particular in soils those colour values are close to the classification threshold and their manual recognition depends on individual expert’s skills.
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