Ag Data Commons
3 files


posted on 2024-02-13, 13:40 authored by Randall P. Niedz

Understanding the ion-specific effects of the mineral elements is a central theme of biology because these ions are fundamental to the composition and maintenance of life. However, experiments concerned with determining ion-specific effects are generally performed with salt, as opposed to ion, manipulations. This means that researchers have had to accept a co-variance in the co-ion of the salt used to manipulate the ion of interest. The result is that the effect of a single ion cannot be determined as it is confounded with the potential combined effects of the other ions that are co-varied. Because of this difficulty, the majority of research studies concerned with determining ion-specific effects exhibit ion confounding. The software application ARS-Media utilizes a linear programming optimization algorithm to determine the combination of salts, acids, and bases that satisfies any given target solution of ions. ARS-Media therefore allows researchers to construct experimental designs that use ions, as opposed to salts, as individual factors and, hence, experimentally determine ion-specific effects on biological responses relating to ion type, concentration, and proportion.

ARS-Media for Excel is an ion solution calculator that uses Excel's linear programming optimization add-in Solver.

ARS-Media utilizes Excel’s internal linear programming optimization algorithm to determine the combination of salts, acids, and bases that satisfy any given target solution of ions. The spreadsheet is designed for the formulation of nutrient media used in such applications as plant tissue culture, hydroponics, algal culture, fertilizer formulations, microbial culture, and any application that requires the definition of a specific culture media by its ion composition. The spreadsheet is formula-based and uses no macros that can sometimes conflict with institutional IT security systems.

Web download of these resources can be found at: ARS-Media ARS-Media for Excel

Resources in this dataset:

  • Resource Title: ARS-Media Ion Solution Calculator.

    File Name: ARS-Media Ion Solution

    Resource Description: ARS-Media Ion Solution

  • Resource Title: ARS-Media for Excel.

    File Name: ARS-Media_Excel_p_5-15-15.xlsx

  • Resource Title: ARS-Media Excel Instructions.

    File Name: ARS-Media_Excel_Instructions_5-15-15[2].docx




Data contact name

Niedz, Randall P.

Data contact email


United States Department of Agriculture

Temporal Extent Start Date



  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage


ISO Topic Category

  • environment
  • farming

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

linear programming; algorithms; salts; chemical bases; acids; ions; researchers; experimental design; minerals; covariance; computer software; plant tissues; tissue culture; hydroponics; algae culture; fertilizers; microbial culture; culture media; models

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

ARS National Program Number

  • 301

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

Niedz, Randall P. (2019). ARS-Media. United States Department of Agriculture.

Usage metrics



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