Date: November 20, 2013
November kicked off with the Soil, Crop and Agriculture Science Societies annual meetings, held this year in Tampa, FL, November 3-6. For those who were not able to attend, the focus of the meetings was Water, Food, Energy and Innovation for a Sustainable World. Six topical themes were covered: Sensing Innovation, Climate Change, the Food-Water-Soil Nexus, Sustainable Agricultural Systems, Improved Nutrient Management, and Energy, Soils, and Crops.
Picarro exhibited at the exposition and the biggest highlight for me was having the opportunity to talk in-depth with nearly 100 different scientists to learn about the challenges and latest developments in soil, crop and agriculture science. Below are some additional highlights in and out of the Picarro booth.
I had the opportunity to participate in the oral session, Sources and Rates of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Agriculture, presenting results from a recent experiment to quantify and assess the error of greenhouse gas soil fluxes using a closed-system (static chamber) coupled with the new 5-species analyzer which measures N2O, CO2, CH4, NH3 and H2O. Soil core samples were taken from Iowa State University test plots, with and without biochar treatment, and were sent to us by Bernardo del Campo, who is conducting research on biochar crop treatment. The measured carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes ranged from 7,900 - 205,400 kg ha-1 yr-1 and the repeatability of a 4-minute measurement was found to be better than 8%. While CO2 fluxes were relatively high, most samples had small or zero methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes. The resolution of the measured fluxes was on the order of 0.1 kg ha-1 yr-1 for CH4 and 1.0 kg ha-1 yr-1 for N2O. A pdf of the presentation containing the full experiment and instrument performance testing results can be found at the at the bottom of this post.
In the booth, we were excited to not only feature our new isotopic carbon and greenhouse gas 5-species analyzers, but thanks to two scientific collaborators, Prof. Greg Welbaum and Eosense Inc., we were also able to show how Picarro analyzers can be paired with other technologies to conduct soil flux experiments. The TASCO thermo-gradient table, developed by Prof. Welbaum at Virginia Tech Department of Horticulture, features the ability to set and tightly control a thermal gradient across a bed of soil so the effect of soil temperature on gas fluxes and other processes can be easily studied and better understood.
Nick Nickerson and Gordon McArthur from Eosense joined us in the booth to showcase two chamber designs they have developed for making continuous measurements in the field: Their isotopic forced-diffusion chamber, which we featured in a recent Picarro blog, can be paired with the Picarro isotopic analyzer to measure carbon isotope fluxes; and their new, autochamber with integrated software, which is designed to operate with the Picarro 5-species analyzer or isotopic carbon analyzer to simultaneously measure and quantify fluxes of N2O, CO2, CH4, NH3 and H2O.
In addition to joining us in the booth, Eosense also presented a poster on “Isotopic Forced-Diffusion Technique for Soil Respiration Pathway Studies” in the Greenhouse Gas Emission Methodology and Analyses session. In the poster, they show how their new chamber design enabled detection of both temporal and crop-related differences in the isotopic fluxes of Vetch and Wheat. A pdf of the poster is avialable below.
Learn more about Picarro isotopic carbon analyzer for CO2 and CH4 (G2201-i)
Learn more about Picarro 5-species greenhouse gas analyzer (G2508)
Learn more about Eosense isotopic forced diffusion (Iso-FD) Chamber
Learn more about Eosense New Autochamber
Learn more about 2013 ASA, CSSA & SSSA Conference