Compost and Soil Testing

Compost Testing

Compost is decayed organic material used as a medium for growing plants. It is a key ingredient in farming as it is used to recondition soil that may be nutrient poor so that it will enable crops to grow and even enhance the yield, taste and quality of planted crops.

The understanding of what defines good quality compost is poor and the ability to deliver a consistent composition in compost has yet to be achieved.

Roboscientific has already undertaken projects working with mushroom growers to identify what the differences are between batches of compost – and the impact that these have on the quality and yield of specific mushroom crops. The measure used to identify the differences between batches of compost is in the Volatile Organic Compounds emitted by the compost. This has proved to be a meaningful guide to the differences between batches of compost and has delivered useful results. This work is ongoing.

To find out how you can get involved in one of our compost-based research projects, please make contact with us.

Soil Testing

Soil is a substance with which we are all familiar – and which has been taken for granted as a medium that provides the basis for plant growth.

It is defined as: “The upper layer of earth in which plants grow which consists of unconsolidated mineral or organic material on the surface of the Earth that serves as a medium for the growth of land plants.”

The condition of soil is critical to food production – and ultimately – life.

It is a natural body called the pedosphere and has four important functions:

1. A medium for plant growth

2. A means of water storage, supply and purification

3. A modifier of Earth’s atmosphere

4. A habitat for organisms

All four functions in turn modify the soil. Having undertaken research projects to identify the quality and characteristics of compost (the fertilizer used to restore the condition of soil for growing plants), Roboscientific is now undertaking research to establish how we can measure the condition of soil and identify what remedies may be beneficial in improving its performance as a medium for growing plants. In particular we are looking at the organic makeup of the soil and its bacterial content. This information could be of great value to organic farmers as well as conventional farmers who may wish to limit their expenditure on chemical treatment.