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.

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 October 21, 2014 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 October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
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