Mr Robert Brown

Contact info

Email: rob.brown@bangor.ac.uk
Phone: 01248 382456

Address: 2nd Floor, Environment Centre Wales, 
Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW

Contact Info

Email: rob.brown@bangor.ac.uk
Phone: 01248 382456

Address: 2nd Floor, Environment Centre Wales, 
Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW

Research

About 71% of UK land is committed to agriculture and farmers are the primary managers of land. There is little data on how farming practice affects the biological capacity and function of soils. Currently the majority of existing tests for soil management focus on physical and chemical parameters and disregard biological function. However soil biology is not only intrinsically linked to the physical and chemical properties of soil, but also vital for healthy soils to function as living systems.

This project aims to explore the relationship between biological function and soil quality. Using a range of novel methods (headspace solid phase microextraction (HSSPME) GC-Q/TOF MS, sorbent tube coupled with thermal desorption GC-TOF MS, untargeted metabolomic analysis through both GC and LC) we will test a range of different quality agricultural soils to improve the understanding of how soil biological primary and secondary metabolism varies under these conditions and relate this to the function of the biological community. These methods will be compared with the current standard methodology in profiling biological soil quality e.g. microbial biomass, nitrogen mineralisation rates and phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs). Having an in-depth understanding of the changes in the microbial function under different soil types, management regimes and cropping regimes is likely to enhance our understanding of biological nutrient cycling and system resilience.

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.

 

Overview

Project title: Innovation in commercial soil health analysis and practical on farm guidance.

Research interests:

  • Soil Microbiology
  • Sustainable Agricultural Intensification
  • Soil Quality Indexing
  • Metabolomics
  • Volatilomics

Education / academic qualifications

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