Lab Tests

The Real Food Campaign lab performs lab tests on both soil and food.  The goal is to identify lab tests which are inexpensive (low capital cost, low ongoing cost), capture the broadest perspective on quality (classes of compounds rather than individual compounds), and may correlate to easier-to-measure parameters like spectral reflectance.  This informs what test we run.

To see our full Standard Operating Procedure for incoming samples and other documentation relating to the 2019 Food/Soil Survey, see:

Google drive with all documents

  • Real Food Campaign Food/Soil 2019 Lab SOPs – Full lab procedure for incoming samples, including soils, produce, and linkages to the detailed surveys produced throughout the process.
  • Equipment List for Food/Soil 2019 Lab Testing – Full list of all lab equipment required to perform the analysis

Produce (carrots, spinach, lettuce, kale, cherry tomatoes, grapes)

  • Data and Farm partners who are submitting the samples will be completing full surveys for each sample in the field, which will include (depending on sample type) store information, farm information, management data, as well as visual and taste evaluations.  This information is collected prior to samples being received in the lab.
  • Surface reflectance using Our Sci reflectometer (10 wavelengths, 365nm to 940nm)
  • Surface reflectance using benchtop full specs (suite of spectrometers including Hamamatsu C12880MA (350 – 850nm), C14384MA (650 – 1050nm), as well Si Ware’s Neospectra (1250 – 2100nm), and two packages from Insion (350 – 850nm, 1200 – 1800nm).
  • Juice reflectance using Our Sci reflectometer (10 wavelengths, 365nm to 940nm)
  • Juice reflectance using benchtop full specs (suite of spectrometers including Hamamatsu C12880MA (350 – 850nm), C14384MA (650 – 1050nm), as well Si Ware’s Neospectra (1250 – 2100nm), and two packages from Insion (350 – 850nm, 1200 – 1800nm).
  • Juice Brix (using a 0 – 32% optical Brix meter)
  • Anitoxidents using FRAP
  • Polyphenols using FC
  • Protein using Bradford method
  • Minerals using XRF

Soil (0” – 4”, 4” – 8”)

  • Data and Farm partners who are submitting the samples will be completing full surveys for each sample in the field, which will include API calls to Soilgrids for clay/sand/silt and soil type information, Open Elevation API for elevation information, and (hopefully) recent historical weather information for the sampled location (rainfall, heat index, etc.).
  • Surface reflectance using Our Sci reflectometer (365nm to 940nm)
  • Surface reflectance using Si Ware’s Neospectra (1250 – 2100nm)
  • pH using Adafruit Feather, IO Rodeo’s pH Featherwing, and pH probe.
  • Total organic carbon using loss on ignition (LOI) method (reference paper, email us for copy)
  • Carbon mineralization (ie soil respiration) using 24hr burst method (see comparable method)
  • Minerals using XRF
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