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Automated analysis of VOCs and SVOCs in soils: Versatile options for extending analyte range and sensitivity

Automated analysis of VOCs and SVOCs in soils: Versatile options for extending analyte range and sensitivity

Presented at the SETAC conference 2020

The poster entitled “Automated analysis of VOCs and SVOCs in soils: Versatile options for extending analyte range and sensitivity” was presented by Markes International at the 30th Annual Meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), which was held 3–7 May 2020 as a virtual conference.

Diagnostic tool for soil health analysis

Soils are fundamental to a wide range of ecosystem functions, and monitoring soil health is essential to ensure that these functions can be maintained. Unfortunately, robust indicators of soil health that could be widely adopted across the agricultural sector have remained elusive.

However, a promising avenue of research is the analysis of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs) released from soil. These compounds are produced by microbes, fungi, animals and plants, and many of them are essential for inter-species signalling in a way that is now beginning to be understood. As a result, obtaining an overview of the volatile profile of soil has promise as a diagnostic tool to determine soil health.

Improving sensitivity in soil analysis 

In this poster, we describe analytical technologies that open up opportunities for the analysis of VOCs and SVOCs in soil. As well as describing options for improving sensitivity and analyte range for ex-situ and in-situ sampling, we point out how modern instrumentation is reducing the burden on the analyst by automating previously labour-intensive operations.

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