Practical application of electrochemical nitrate sensor under laboratory and forest nursery conditions
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The reduction of nitrate leaching to ensure greater protection of groundwater quality has become a global issue. The development of new technologies for more accurate dosing of nitrates helps optimize fertilization programs. This paper presents the practical application of a newly developed electrochemical sensor designed for in situ quantification of nitrate. To our knowledge, this paper is the first to report the use of electrochemical impedance to determine nitrate concentrations in growing media under forest nursery conditions. Using impedance measurements, the sensor has been tested in laboratory and compared to colorimetric measurements of the nitrate. The developed sensor has been used in water-saturated growing medium and showed good correlation to certified methods, even in samples obtained over a multi-ion fertilisation season. A linear and significant relationship was observed between the resistance and the concentration of nitrates (R2 = 0.972), for a range of concentrations of nitrates. We also observed stability of the sensor after exposure of one month to the real environmental conditions of the forest nursery.