Chemistry Laboratory | PNG National Agricultural Research Institute

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Chemistry Laboratory

“Providing Quality Analytical, Diagnostic and Advisory Services for your analytical needs”

The NARI Chemistry Laboratory is situated at Kila Kila in the National Capital District. With our combustion analyser, Inductive Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectrometer, Vapor Generation , Atomic Absorption Spectrometers, High Pressure Liquid Chromatographs,  Bomb Calorimeter, computer equipment and five highly skilled analysts, we offer PNG the best in agricultural chemical analysis.

Soil Analysis

The laboratory analyses soil samples to assess the fertility of the soil. This is to determine its suitability for crops and to provide fertilizer requirements for standing perennial crops. Our tests will also diagnose nutritional problems occurring, especially in plantation crops and we can recommend remedial fertiliser programs. Work includes:

  • Collection of soil samples,
  • Preparation of samples by drying, rod mill grinding and sieving,
  • pH and electrical conductivity by 1:5 water extraction,
  • Available phosphorous by Olsons method,
  • Cat ion exchange capacity (CEC),
  • Exchangeable K, Ca, Mg, Na and base saturation,
  • Carbon and organic matter by Leco method,
  • Sulphur by Leco method,
  • P retention by Saunders method,
  • Total Mineral Analysis, perchloric, nitric and fusion digestion and AAS or ICP,
  • Available Al,
  • Available boron by ICP,
  • Micronutrients by DPTA and AAS or ICP,
  • Texture by PSDA,
  • Moisture content,
  • NaF pH, 1:50 NaF solution, and
  • Remedial fertilizer recommendations.

Foliar Analysis

The analysis of leaves is important for assessing plant leaf analysis of cash crops can show nutrient deficiencies before they become serious and assist with planning cost effective fertilizer programs especially in conjunction with soil testing to maximise crop yields. Leaf samples from many crops are analysed, including oil palm, sweet potato, aibika, bananas, pasture grasses, sugar cane, coffee, rubber, cocoa, coconuts etc. Work includes:

Collection of leaf and plant samples;

  • Preparation of plant samples for analysis by drying and grinding;
  • Nutrients by Leco and HNO3 digestion with AAS or ICP analysis, and
  • Remedial fertilizer recommendations.

Food and Agriculture Products

PNG food crops such as aibika, yams, cassava, sweet potatoes, taro, bananas etc are analysed for nutritional content. Alfatoxins and other contaminants can also be identified and measured on a project basis. Spices, in particular vanilla, are tested for correct curing and quality for export. Other tests include pyrethrum analysis to assist farmers in the correct drying of flowers. Fertilisers, stock feeds, agricultural factory wastes etc are also analyzed. Procedures incorporate methods such as HPLC, ICP, AAS, GC, Leco CS and calorimetery.

Water and Environment Testing

The laboratory carries out an environmental service to test the quality of water samples to WHO compliance specifications for drinking water. DEC guideline compliance can be carried out for other samples. Heavy metals in drinking waters are tested to sub part per billion detection limits by ICP or VGA AAS. Anions in drinking water are assessed by ion chromatography HPLC. Sea and estuary waters are tested by ICP for salinity and elemental content. A typical drinking water WHO quality compliance analysis we carry out can include up to 40 individual tests, comprising of 23 heavy metals and other elements, and 17 other tests such as pH, conductivity, hardness, alklanity, acidity, solids, BOD, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, sulphate, phosphate, silica, etc.

Rubber Testing
The laboratory carries out commercial certification for processed rubber from rubber factories requesting this service. Work includes:

  1. Collection of rubber samples for certification testing.
  2. PNCCR grading and certification of processed rubber for export.
  3. PNGCR quality conformance inspection and certification of rubber factories.
  4. DRC content of latex and cuplump rubber. Factory effluent DEC compliance testing.

Biochemical Testing.
Heavy metals in livers and other biological samples can be assessed by our laboratory.

Quality of Work: The laboratory is registered under the Papua New Guinea Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (PNGLAS). We take part in regular international sample exchange programs such as ASPAC (for soils), Wageningen IPA (for leaves), RRIM (for rubber) and NATA for water. The laboratory also has its own strict internal quality assurance program to maintain the highest confidence in test results we send out. To back this, specialist training through on-site and off-site programs is on going to keep our staff up to their maximum capabilities. Our test procedures follow standard internationally recognized methods and are coupled into a computerized laboratory information management system.

Notes: Where possible methods follow standard procedures. These include APHA (water), ISO (rubber), AOAC (food and natural products). Refer to Laboratory for procedures. NARI Chemistry carries PNGLAS registration. Detection limits are inline with methods used, ICP, AAS, Leco etc.

Results are reported on an “as received basis”, unless we are contracted to collect the samples. Sample submission forms should be included with samples to be tested.

Other information can be obtained form the NARI Chemistry Laboratory on request. Click here for a brief Profile on the Laboratory.

For more details on chemical analysis or our chemistry laboratory services and fees, please contact the:

Laboratory Manager
National Agricultural Chemistry Laboratory
P.O Box 8277, BOROKO
National Capital District
Papua New Guinea

Phone: (675) 320 1516 / 321 2690 / 320 2345
Fax: (675) 320 2411
Email: or

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