Soil Health Analysis
Additional tests beyond those listed below may be available. Volume or grid pricing may also apply. Please contact the lab with questions.
Soil Health Analysis - Packages
Available Soil Health Analysis packages as of February 2020. Each listed package option can be expanded by clicking on the name of the package. This will provide a more detailed overview of each option showing what result information you can expect to see for each analysis package.
The Haney soil health test integrates chemical and biological measurements to assess the soil nutrient status, microbial biomass and aspects of the microbial habitat to determine overall soil health. This procedure uses a dual extraction procedure to closely mimic natural nutrient availability to both microbes and plants in the soil environment. Using an integrated approach, the Haney test can assess a soil’s condition, determine if the soil is in balance and provide information for making recommendations aimed to improve soil health.
Water extractable organic carbon
Water extractable total and organic nitrogen
H3A Phosphorus (organic, inorganic, total)
H3A Minerals (aluminum, ammonium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, nitrate, potassium, sodium, sulfur, zinc)
Soil Respiration (ppm CO2)
Organic Matter (LOI %)
Phospholipid Fatty Acids (PLFA) are the main components of living microbial cell membranes. Each functional group, determined by their similar roles and identified by their unique PLFA compositions, can indicate the microbial community structure and biomass at the time of sampling. A microbial community structure is strongly impacted by the plant community, environmental conditions (i.e. pH, moisture, temperature, etc.), soil characteristics (i.e. soil type, organic matter, etc.) and soil management practices (i.e. tillage, cover crops, etc.), adding an indication of the impact of management practices on the soil microbiology and, in turn, nutrient cycling in the soil. Commonly, samples from different soil managements are compared to identify changes or continuous, yearly samples of the same areas are tested to help support soil health improvement over time.
Bacteria (Gram (+) and Gram (-))
Fungi (Arbuscular Mycorrhizae and Saprophytes)
Undifferentiated Microbial Groups
Soil enzymes are catalysts produced by soil biology to aid in the decomposition of organic matter and cycling of nutrients in the soil. Specific enzymes are produced to breakdown and release plant available nutrients. Monitoring the activity of certain enzymes can help assess the ability of a soil to cycle nutrients. Soil enzymes are strongly influenced by the soil environment (i.e. soil texture, organic matter, etc.) and soil management practices (ie. Tillage, cover crops, etc.). Soil enzyme activity is express as pNP g-1 soil h-1. Below are brief descriptions of each enzyme offered.
Beta-glucosidase (BG) releases glucose from cellulose in the soil. Cellulose, a basic structural part of plant cell walls, is composed of a glucose chain that is broken down into individual glucose molecules by BG activity. Glucose is an important, easily accessible energy source for microbes and is closely related to organic carbon shifts in the soil environment.
N-acetylglucosaminidase (NAG), also known as β-glucosaminidase, releases NAG units, or amino sugars from chitin, the structure of insect and arthropod exoskeletons, and fungi and bacteria cell walls. In the soil, chitin is an important source of organic nitrogen and is closely related to carbon and nitrogen cycling in the soil.
Phosphodiesterase (PHD) releases phosphate monoesters from nucleic acids, phospholipids and other diesters in the soil. These organic P sources must be broken down by PHD before acid or alkaline phosphatase enzymes can release plant available phosphorus in the soil environment. Thus, PHD is closely related to organic P cycling in soil.
Acid or Alkaline Phosphatase (AcP, AlkP)
Acid and alkaline phosphatases (AcP and AlkP, respectively), collectively referred to as phosphatases, releases plant available phosphorus in the soil. Although these enzymes perform the same function in the soil, their structure differs slightly to improve efficiency under differing soil pH. Although both enzymes can be present in the soil, the predominant soil pH is often indicative of the predominant enzyme activity.
Arylsulfatase (ARS) releases sulfates from ester sulfates in the soil. Ester sulfates represent a large proportion of organic sulfur in soils, requiring ARS activity to release sulfates for plant uptake and can indicate sulfur cycling in the soil.
Wet aggregate stability is a necessary physical soil property that can indicate a soil’s ability to resist disturbances from physical and chemical forces, store water, allow the movement of air and water and influence the growth and form of roots. This method tests the stability of one class of aggregates (1 – 2 mm) that are strongly impacted by soil management strategies. In addition to the stability of the aggregate class, the bulk amount of aggregates within the sample is also tested.
Bulk Soil Aggregate Stability, 1 – 2 mm aggregates (%)
Stable Aggregates, 1 – 2 mm (%)
As an expansion of the Wet Aggregate Stability test, the Wet Aggregate Stability Index provides more information on a wider group of aggregate classes. With this method, macroaggregates and microaggregates stability and presence within the sample are tested to provide a more rounded view of aggregates stability within a sample
Macroaggregates, 2 mm – 0.5 mm (%)
Microaggregates, 250 – 53 µm (%)
Total Wet Aggregate Stability Index (%)
Water Holding Capacity (WHC) measures the field capacity and wilting point of a soil to provide an estimate of the quantity of water that may be available to crops. This soil property is strongly influenced by soil texture and organic matter and can be a valuable tool in water management strategies.
WHC (g water /g soil)
Permanganate oxidizable carbon (POXC) is a measure of the biologically active carbon fraction of the soil. This portion of carbon often contains easily consumed energy sources, such as plant sugars, polysaccharides, and glomalin, that fuels microbial activity. POXC quickly responds to soil management changes and can provide an early indication of practices that promote stabilization of organic matter.
POXC (mg kg-1 soil)
Soil Health Analysis - Individual Tests
Individual testing items as of February 2020.
|Soil Respiration / 24-hr burst test||$25.00|