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Assessing Soil Respiration by Means of Near-Infrared Diode Laser Spectroscopy

Volume 58, Number 9 (Sept. 2004) Page 1051-1056

Gianfrani, L.; Rocco, A.; Battipaglia, G.; Castrillo, A.; Gagliardi, G.; Peressotti, A.; Cotrufo, M.F.


High-resolution diode laser spectroscopy in the near-infrared region is applied to the accurate measurement of soil respiration. In particular, the use of a diode-laser-based spectrometer has allowed the implementation, for the first time, of a static accumulation method capable of measuring soil respiration from continuous measurements of CO2 concentrations, with minor perturbation on soil respiration as well as on CO2 transport and emission. The system has been tested in a laboratory experiment by detection of CO2 production from sandy matrices, inoculated with active soil microbes and supplied with different amounts of decomposable plant material. Respiration rates of all samples were then retrieved using a diffusion model. The results of the laboratory tests are in agreement with those expected on the basis of sample composition. Examples of operation with real soil samples are also reported. We discuss the possible field application of the system, in conjunction with closed static soil chambers.