Quantifying the origin, chemical diversity and dynamics of VOCs within the soil volatilome
Funding sources: KESS/European Social Fund, National Environment Isotope Facility (NEIF)
Background: This will be the first time research on soil quality has been undertaken at the volatilome scale. Through this microcosm experiment using soil from Henfaes Research Centre, we aim to assess the potential of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) as a sensitive, inexpensive and high-throughput technique for potentially assessing soil biological health. If successful, it has the potential to open up new areas for both fundamental research in terrestrial ecosystem functioning as well as offering the possibility for developing novel soil quality indicators for use in agriculture and land management.
- To validate a novel high throughput assay for analysing below-ground VOCs which can be used by the scientific community to assess soil biological activity and soil quality. We will evaluate the potential use of soil-derived VOC’s as an accurate, robust and reproducible test of soil biological health in comparison to other traditional techniques such as microbial PLFA and metabolomic profiling and greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, N2O, CH4).
- To assess the changes in VOC profile of a soil during the growing season in response to changes in environmental, edaphic, plant and management factors
- To determine how the VOC profile of a soil is highly responsive to plant stress and vegetation cover