Soil is an important player in the global carbon budget. It is a carbon pool that underlies direct anthropogenic influence through land use and climate change, both of which may disequilibriate the processes that release or sequester CO2 in soils, which could either mitigate or severely aggravate global warming. Decomposition of soil organic matter is governed by microbial processes, which are not sufficiently well understood, especially not in the structural matrix of the soil pore space they live in.
My group recently developed lab model habitats produced with microfluidic techniques that we call “soil chips” which enable us to study the effect of microscale structure soil processes live at the microbial scale.
In this proposed project I want to refine and elaborate chips with help of nanoCT data from real soil aggregates, include motile elements and chemical heterogeneity and optical windows for in-situ spectroscopy. With the new chips we want to better understand the phenomenon of “hidden” organic matter in the soil pore space, and the process that builds this structure: soil aggregation. We also aim to create a soil organic matter diagnosis chip that can be used to test soil health via its decomposer activity.
Our project will improve the mechanistic understanding the carbon cycling, to help us predict and mitigate CO2 emissions. It will give us important arguments to promote soil-carbon storage preserving cultivation techniques for a sustainable agriculture.
Gällande start-/slutdatum2020/04/012025/03/31