Healthy soils for sustainable agriculture: the role of SOM
3–7 September 2017 • Rothamsted Research • Harpenden (United Kingdom)
Chair: Ian Bull (NERC Life Sciences Stable Isotope Facility, UK)
Mass spectrometry enables the origin and fate of soil organic matter (SOM) to be characterised and probed to a level that is unparalleled by any other analytical approach. Over the last three decades the range of mass spectrometric based techniques has greatly increased both in terms of availability and diversity. This has resulted in a concomitant increase in their application to soil systems in a bid to investigate processes at a molecular level and, in particular, the origin and fate of SOM. The structures of discrete organic compounds and larger macromolecular assemblages can now be routinely determined (and quantified) with more recent advances in instrumentation enabling perturbations within complex mixtures, commonly comprising thousands of compounds, to be readily detected. Furthermore, the use of radioactive and stable isotopes have facilitated the investigation of hitherto indefinable processes operating within the soil environment. This session aims to showcase novel methodologies and applications of cutting-edge mass spectrometric based techniques that seek to further our current understanding of SOM and associated processes operating in the soil environment.