We are very happy to announce that the First Residency is happening on mid July. Leandro Mastrantonio from Cuyo National University from Argentina is going to visit the RFC Lab to run around 400 soil chromatographies from our soil library. As you know, these samples have already been tested for several parameters like organic carbon, mineral content, and surface reflectance with the Bionutrient Meter in the context of the Real Food Campaign.
For those of you not familiar with the method, circular chromatography (Pfeiffer Chroma-Test), is a qualitative method used in biodynamic agriculture to assess the quality/health of soil, biofertilizers and crops. This method has been widely used by Jairo Restrepo and other groups to discuss the green revolution and to promote and assess organic agriculture.
The method is based on the extraction of organic matter from a soil sample in a NaOH solution.
The resultant extraction is then runned on a circular paper filter previously embedded with silver nitrate.
The minerals, organic molecules, proteins, vitamins and humic substances contained in the sample react with silver, forming complexes that result in different colours, forms and secondary structures such as arrows, zones and circles that compose a beautiful and unique image, like the iris of an eye.
The interpretation of these images is qualitative and relates zones, patterns and colors with different characteristics of soils (ie. organic content, enzimatic activity, etc)
More info on the method and the interpretation of chromas here.
The idea of this residency is to use the chromas plus the standard test already performed on soil samples at the RFCLab to work on a quantitative proof of concept. We will apply image analysis tools to read/extract the colors, patterns and features of the chromas and then use machine learning algorithms to correlate this results with the standard tests data.
More info and experimental plan of the residence here.
The fresh outcome of the residence will arrive just in time for GL GOSH so I think discussion will continue there!