A process for analyzing the nutrient status of plant matter and/or soil for one or more nutrients selected from among calcium, potassium, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, magnesium, chlorine, iron, boron, manganese, zinc, copper, nickel and molybdenum is described and includes contacting said plant matter and/or soil with a laser source capable of inducing breakdown of the sample whereby an emission from said sample occurs; and, analyzing said spectral emission for determination of an amount of said one or more nutrients. A process for analyzing the heavy metal content of plant matter and/or soil, or of fertilizers or soil amendments is also described.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
 This invention was made with government support under Contract No. W-7405-ENG-36 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.