Trace gas measurements

Fields under intensive agricultural management can release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (CH4, CO2, NH3, N2O). This does not only contribute to global warming, but also is a loss of nutrients that would otherwise be available for the cultivated plants. Quantifying these emmissions is a technical challenge. 

INNOVA is a measuring device that converts changes in specific gas concentrations within a gas mixture to a photoacoustic signal. The measuring cuvettes can be placed directly on the soil in the field and thus allow monitoring gas concentrations on-site. Interventions such as the addition of charcoal (biochar) or tannins to the soil, or to compost manure, can improve nutrient use efficiency. Our group investigates such management options in various agricultural systems, primarily in urban and periurban settings.


Predotova et al. 2011. Mineral nitrogen and phosphorous leaching in vegetable gardens of Niamey, Niger. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 174, 47-55.

Rosenstock, T.S., Diaz-Pines, E., Zuazo, P., Jordan, G., Predotova, M., Mutuo, P., Abwanda, S., Thiong'o, M., Buerkert, A., Rufino, M.C. Kiese, R., Neufeldt, H., Butterbach-Bahl, K. 2014. Accuracy and precision of photoacoustic spectroscopy not guaranteed. Global Change Biology 19(12), 3565-3567.