FACILITY

AFSIS (AFRICA SOIL INFORMATION SERVICE) DRY SPECTROSCOPY LAB

The new AfSIS dry spectroscopy lab is housed in the Lawes Open Innovation Hub on the RRes campus. It is part of the Rothamsted Centre for Research and Enterprise (RoCRE), a new and unique hub focused on promoting collaboration and innovation by partnering with commercial agricultural technology businesses and opening up the research process.

ABOUT

The laboratory is part of the AfSIS project which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The project puts a particular emphasis on soil health and associated geospatial information through innovative information products and services. Rothamsted Research now manages both the AfSIS project and AfSIS Ltd.

The main functions of the laboratory will be:

  • Reference lab for the AfSIS project and related laboratories in Africa. The lab will work in close collaboration with the dry spectroscopy laboratory at the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF).
  • Development centre for new AfSIS technologies, particularly the Ionomics based plant analysis to determine the crop nutrient status in relation to soil characteristics.
  • Reference lab for new initiatives using dry spectroscopy in soil science and agricultural applications outside of Africa.

Innovative dry spectroscopic analysis of soil, plant and fertiliser materials using techniques established by AfSIS, which require minimal infrastructure and maintenance, and enable very economic and high throughput analysis. The aim is to provide high quality soil information and improved precision agriculture by better understanding the link between soil characteristics and crop productivity and nutrition.

STATE OF THE ART EQUIPMENT

Mid-infrared (MIR) diffuse reflectance spectroscopy measures properties including nutrient availability, pH, CEC (cation exchange capacity), OC (organic carbon) and mineralogy.

Laser diffraction particle size analysis (LDPSA) measures soil texture and micro-aggregate stability.

X-ray diffraction (XRD) spectroscopy is used to further analyse soil mineralogyn and X-ray flourescence (XRF) spectroscopy provides total elemental content. Used together, these techniques represent a powerful approach not possible using any single technique.

To prepare and submit samples to the AfSIS Lab, click here

State of the art equipment
Training

TRAINING

The lab is also closely linked to the Soil AgRIA Doctoral Training Centre initiative which now provides seven studentships in Soil Technology Innovation. The initiative is funded by Rothamsted Research and Cranfield University as part of a new Agricultural Research and Innovation Accelerator (AgRIA) based at Rothamsted. The Soil AgRIA has been established to accelerate applications of science and engineering advances to soil technology development, to tackle widely-acknowledged constraints to soil and land management, both nationally and globally.

Guided Tours

GUIDED TOURS

Guided tours are possible on request. Please email afsislab@rothamsted.ac.uk for more information.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

References:

  1. Viscarra Rossel, R.A., Behrens T., Ben-Dor E., Brown D.J., Demattê J.A.M., Shepherd K.D., et al, 2016. A global spectral library to characterize the world's soil. Earth-Science Reviews (155), 198-230.
  2. Towett E.K., Shepherd K.D., Sila A., Aynekulu E, and Cadisch G. 2015. Mid-Infrared and Total X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy Complementarity for Assessment of Soil Properties. Soil Science Society of America Journal (79), 1375-1385.
  3. Sila A.M., Pokhariyal G.P. and Shepherd K.D. 2016. Evaluating the utility of mid-infrared spectral subspaces for predicting soil properties. Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems (153), 92–105.
Background Information

CONTACT AFSIS

AfSiS Dry Spectroscopy Lab
Rothamsted Research
Harpenden
Hertfordshire
AL5 2JQ

Email: afsislab@rothamsted.ac.uk

Contact