Integrating physical and chemical techniques to characterise soil microsites

Wilfred Otten*, Dmitri Grinev, Philippe Baveye, Zi Wang, Simona Hapca, Clare Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    Many problems in environmental and soil research require techniques that quantify the soil microenvironment. It has become increasingly apparent that we need novel micro-analytical techniques to compliment well established methods that study soils at macro-spatial scales. Despite tremendous progress in this field over the last decade, quantitative methods have developed within separate disciplines and operate at different spatial scales hampering their integration. Moreover, it means that opportunities to integrate these methods may be overlooked. In this paper we develop methods that enable integration of a 3-D non-invasive technique to characterise soil structure (X-ray CT) with a 2-D spectroscopic method that characterises the spatial distribution of chemical elements on surfaces (SEM-EDX). First we developed statistical software to locate the 2-D plane in which SEM-EDX analyses were performed within the 3-D volume. Then we demonstrate that selected compounds, including particulate sources of C and CaCO3, can be quantified with SEM-EDX and subsequently visualized within the 3-D soil environment. Finally, we demonstrated that when we characterized sequential slices with SEM-EDX we could use co-kriging methods to predict the 3-D spatial distribution of chemical elements. We discuss the possibilities and problems that need to be resolved to combine these methods.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 19th World Congress of Soil Science
    Subtitle of host publicationSoil Solutions for a Changing World, Brisbane, Australia 1-6 August 2010
    Place of PublicationBrisbane
    PublisherInternational Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS)
    Number of pages4
    ISBN (Print)9780646537832, 9781618391025
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010
    Event19th World Congress of Soil Science 2010: Soil Solutions for a Changing World - Brisbane, Australia
    Duration: 1 Aug 20106 Aug 2010
    Conference number: 19


    Other19th World Congress of Soil Science 2010


    • X-ray tomography
    • Soil-micro habitat
    • Scanning electron microscope
    • Co-kriging modelling


    Dive into the research topics of 'Integrating physical and chemical techniques to characterise soil microsites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this