General Information

Research in biogeochemical cycles and processes involves the investigation of chemical elements and compounds as well as the calculation of elemental budgets in different ecosystem compartments. To quantify fractions of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, and other elements in liquid or soild materials, scientists and young researchers cooperate closely with the laboratory „Routine Measurements & Analysis (RoMA)“, a scientific service group at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry.

Elemental analysis, for instance, is one of the common procedures done in the RoMA-lab. Much of our work involves the determination of carbon and nitrogen contents in a large variety of samples: soils, sediments, plant litter, plants, carbonates, chars, and other solid materials. Moreover, analysis of dissolved organic compounds and soluble inorganic ions in different matrices is necessary.

Depending on the details in specific studies and ongoing research projects, RoMA customizes its analytical methods and thoroughly tests new analytical applications. One example is the quantitative separation of organic and inorganic carbon in soils, a particularly difficult procedure due to the chemical characteristics of organic matter and mineralogical composition of the carbonates. Additional measurements performed in the RoMA lab include the analysis of hydrogen and sulfur in sediments, soils and organics, the quantification of anions and cations in water samples, soil solution, plant- and soil extracts, the analysis of nutrients in these liquids as well as the quantification of mobile, easily available, or microbial fractions of carbon and nitrogen in soils.

The precision and accuracy of our analytical data are checked and audited routinely. RoMA participates in the annual inter-laboratory comparison of VDLUFA (Federation of German Agricultural Investigation and Research Institutes) and is certified for organic carbon, inorganic carbon and nitrogen quantification in soil samples.

For further information or consultation please feel free to contact us. You may check out the respective pages with details on preparation, delivery (minimum size), and storage of samples until analysis.