Optical Soil Dipstick Measures Global Warming Effects

TEL AVIV, Israel, Oct. 6 (UPI) — An Israeli scientist says he’s created an “Optical Soil Dipstick” that might reveal global warming’s effects on farming and water resources.

Tel Aviv University Professor Eyal Ben-Dor, said the dipstick can help scientists assess the health of our planet and provide farmers and urban planners with a technology that can detail the changing health of soil, as well as its agricultural potential and other concerns.

Ben-Dor said there’s currently no simple and inexpensive way to test for soil health in the field. Soil maps of individual states are only compiled every 10 or 20 years, and each one costs millions of dollars. One testing process even requires the use of a bulldozer that dredges up large tracts of land to be sampled and analyzed in a laboratory.

Testing can be much simpler with the dipstick, a thin catheter-like device that is inserted into a small hole in the soil to give real-time, immediately accurate and reliable information on pollution and the all-round health of the soil, Ben-Dor said.

The Optical Soil Dipstick, which is expected to cost about $10,000 per unit per application, is currently in the prototype stage. But if a strategic partner is found, Ben-Dor says the new device could be on the market within the year.

The efficacy of the dipstick was recently reported in the Soil Science Society of America Journal.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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