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Optimized Lab Protocols for Testing Soils

By Jared L. DeForest

Disclaimer: Most of these methods are modified for testing acidic, fine-texture forest soils commonly found in Eastern Deciduous forests. Some methods may not directly apply to other soils (e.g. agricultural, calcareous, or sandy soils). Adjustments in the amount of soil (g) used and standard range might be necessary.

Sampling & Preparing

Soil Physical Properties

General Soil Chemistry

Soil Phosphorus

The advantage of the modified ascorbic acid method is it does not include orthophosphate derived from the hydrolysis of polyphosphates and/or acid-labile organic P. If the research question involves just general determination of P, then both methods are fine or use an ICP. However, if the research question involves determining specifically inorganic ortho-P (e.g. resin P) then the modified method is recommended.

Microbial Fuction & Community

Litter

Major Analytical Equipment

  • HP 6890 GC-FID w/ autosampler
  • Synergy HT Multi-Detection Microplate reader

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