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Soil Microbial Community Analysis (PLFA)

Soil phospholipid fatty acid analysis can provide a real-time snapshot of the soil microbial community (soil microbiota) structure. The soil microbiota is responsible for many ecosystem functions such as plant growth regulation, nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. Additionally, the microbiota has the ability to degrade environmental pollutants, such as PAHs and PCBs. The microbiota is highly sensitive to soil-altering processes (degradative or beneficial) and changes can guide appropriate management procedures (conservation or restoration).

Laboratory Services - Soil Microbial Community Analyses MIDI Labs provides soil microbial community analysis services using the USDA-MIDI developed method. Reports include biomass and biomarkers, with data returned in an easy-to-use Excel spreadsheet. International samples are accepted, please contact us for sample submission instructions and international shipping permits.

Systems - Automated PLFA Analysis for GC and GC-MS PLFA analysis is a widely-used technique for estimation of the total biomass and to observe broad changes in the soil microbiota composition. Multiple different Gas Chromatography (GC) and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy (GC-MS) methods and instrument types have been used to determine PLFA profiles. However, most of this analysis is performed manually, is laborious and potentially error-prone.

In 2012, MIDI released the Sherlock™ PLFA Method and Tools Package (PLFAD1). PLFAD1 names over 150 PLFAs and related compounds and can be used for fatty acid analysis from any source. MIDI Inc.'s Sherlock PLFA Analysis Software automatically names all the PLFAs in a sample and categorizes them by microbial origin (e.g. Actinomycetes) and can perform biomass calculations (e.g. Fungi:Bacteria). For further system and application information, please click here: