Understanding biogeochemical interactions is important to mitigating climate change and improving crop production. However, studying soil in its natural state is challenging because of its complex composition and opacity.
Scientists at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) developed a group of platforms known as TerraForms to provide users with an avenue for investigating hydrobiogeochemical processes. Through TerraForms, researchers use custom-designed synthetic environments, microfluidics technologies, and in-house instrumentation to simulate soil properties and visualize soil microbial and plant community dynamics.
These platforms enable core sample replication, optical imaging, chemical analysis, and statistical imaging processing and analysis. The capabilities can be paired with EMSL’s chemical imaging and mass spectrometry instrumentation and multi-omics technologies. All are available to researchers through the EMSL User Program.
- Pore-scale micromodels
- SubTap microbial and rhizosphere platforms
- 3-D Bioprinted Synthetic Soil Aggregates
Supporting the Biogeochemical Transformations Integrated Research Platform, these resources help unlock how contaminants move and change in the environment and how minerals weather under different flow regimes. This essential knowledge can help us improve predictive models to anticipate and manage effects on both human and natural systems. EMSL is equipped with a clean room which includes a suite of microfluidic and 3-D technologies, allowing scientists to create TerraForms to understand and to study microbe–mineral interactions.
Supporting the Rhizosphere Function Integrated Research Platform, TerraForms enables researchers to study plant–microbe interactions.
Supporting the Terrestrial-Atmospheric Processes Integrated Research Platform, TerraForms allows scientists to identify belowground and aboveground volatile organic compounds for your science.
Synchrotron-based imaging (collaboration with Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource)
Tips for success
When submitting a proposal to one of EMSL’s open calls for proposals, indicate that you would like to use TerraForms for your project. All TerraForms platforms can be amended with the soil mineralogy of your choice!