Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fingerprinting fugitive dust: Tracking soil microbes back to their source

Date:
July 22, 2011
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Each community of soil microbes has a unique fingerprint that can potentially be used to track soil back to its source, right down to whether it came from dust from a rural road or from a farm field, according to a soil scientist.

Soil microbes can be used to trace dust to its source. Here soil microbiologist Ann Kennedy checks a computer map that shows the location of various biological groupings across the Columbia Plateau in Washington State.
Credit: Photo by Jack Dykinga

Each community of soil microbes has a unique fingerprint that can potentially be used to track soil back to its source, right down to whether it came from dust from a rural road or from a farm field, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) soil scientist.

Related Articles


Ann Kennedy, at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Land Management and Water Conservation Research Unit in Pullman, Wash., studies the biological properties of soils that affect wind erosion. She analyses the soil for the fatty acid or lipid content from the community of soil microbes living in the soil. It is this lipid content that forms the living community's fingerprint.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Although Kennedy focuses on the soils of the Columbia Plateau region, which spans parts of Idaho, Oregon and Washington State, she also works with ARS scientists in Colorado, Idaho, Missouri and Texas on fingerprinting soils. The scientists exchange soil samples to study a variety of soils from different regions.

Interestingly, microbial communities from dirt and gravel roads differed from adjacent agricultural soils, whether in Washington or Texas. Apparently, the microbial communities found on roads change with time because of the lack of plants and restricted water infiltration on roads, compared to cropland.

Ultimately, Kennedy and her colleagues are looking for management practices that will keep the soil from blowing in the first place.

Read more about this research in the July 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/jul11/wind0711.htm

Kennedy has published papers on this research in Soil Biology and Biochemistry and the Soil Science Society of America Journal, as well as abstracts for the American Society of Agronomy and the North American Agroforestry Conference.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Fingerprinting fugitive dust: Tracking soil microbes back to their source." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110721112607.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2011, July 22). Fingerprinting fugitive dust: Tracking soil microbes back to their source. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110721112607.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Fingerprinting fugitive dust: Tracking soil microbes back to their source." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110721112607.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Wrongly categorized as lizard fossils, snake fossils now show the reptile could have developed earlier than we thought — 70 million years earlier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

AFP (Jan. 28, 2015) Violence can flare up at any moment in Bambari with only a bridge separating Muslims and Christians. Malnutrition is on the rise and lack of water means simple cooking fires threaten to destroy makeshift camps where people are living. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins