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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #372947

Research Project: Developing Agricultural Practices to Protect Water Quality and Conserve Water and Soil Resources in the Upper Midwest United States

Location: Soil and Water Management Research

Title: Columns and detectors recommended in gas chromatography to measure greenhouse emission and O2 uptake in soil: A review

item FERRAZ-ALMEIDA, RISELY - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item Spokas, Kurt
item DE OLIVEIRA, ROBERTA - Universidade De Sao Paulo

Submitted to: Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/23/2020
Publication Date: 2/20/2020
Citation: Ferraz-Almeida, R., Spokas, K.A., De Oliveira, R.C. 2020. Columns and detectors recommended in gas chromatography to measure greenhouse emission and O2 uptake in soil: A review. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 51(5):582-594.

Interpretive Summary: The ability to measure greenhouse gases in agricultural research is a critical component to assessing impacts of changes in management strategies. Commonly, this is performed using a gas chromatograph. This manuscript reviews the past analytical methodologies and separation column selections as well as strategies to optimizing the analytical column and detector selection. Additionally, it is recommended to measure not only the desired target species, but also oxygen that can be measured with the same detectors, but commonly is not analyzed in the typical instrumental setup. These results are significant to assist scientists and engineers in improving greenhouse gas quantification as well as simultaneously analyzing for oxygen soil uptake. These analytical improvements will improve the interpretation of soil greenhouse gas measurements and assist farmers in quantifying alterations of management practices on the soil microbial population.

Technical Abstract: Gas chromatography (GC) is a technique used to analyze substances/molecules (as chemical species) with a system composed of chromatograph, column, and detector. This study has the objective of reviewing the use of GC in monitoring greenhouse gases (GHG; carbon dioxide: CO2; methane: CH4; nitrous oxide: N2O) emission and O2 (oxygen) uptake in soil, demonstrating results from experiments around the world and alternative use of sensors to monitor these gases in soil. Our study shows that the correct column and detector depend on analyzing gas and the advantages and disadvantages of the column and the detector. The columns, packed and capillary, have been more used and are considered better options to analyze GHG emission and O2 uptake in soil science. Thermal conductivity detector (TCD), electron capture detector (ECD) and mass selective (MS) are great choice to monitor CO2 emission; flame ionization detector (FID) equipped with methanizer allows the detection of CO2 and CH4 emission; and ECD detects the amount of N2O emitted. Moreover, both, TCD and ECD, also can be used to detect O2 uptake. GC system is complex, and to identify of GHG emission and O2 uptake is necessary the use of column (packed or capillary) and may contain multiple detectors, i.e. three (TCD, ECD, and FID) or two detectors (FID and ECD). Field and laboratory study should be run to verify the efficacy of sensors to monitor GHG emission and O2 uptake as an alternative of GC system.