Biodegradability screening of soil amendments through coupling of wavelength-scanned cavity ring-down spectroscopy to multiple dynamic chambers

Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2011 Dec 30;25(24):3683-9. doi: 10.1002/rcm.5280.


A system was developed for the automatic measurements of ¹³CO₂ efflux to determine biodegradation of extra carbon amendments to soils. The system combines wavelength-scanned cavity ring down laser spectroscopy (WS-CRDS) with the open-dynamic chamber (ODC) method. The WS-CRDS instrument and a batch of 24 ODC are coupled via microprocessor-controlled valves. Determination of the biodegradation requires a known δ¹³C value and the applied mass of the carbon compounds, and the biodegradation is calculated based on the ¹³CO₂ mixing ratio (ppm) sampled from the headspace of the chambers. The WS-CRDS system provided accurate detection based on parallel samples of three standard gases (¹³CO₂ of 2, 11 and 22 ppm) that were measured simultaneously by isotope ratio mass spectrometry (linear regression R² = 0.99). Repeated checking with the same standards showed that the WS-CRDS system showed no drift over seven months.The applicability of the ODC was checked against the closed static chamber (CSC) method using the rapid biodegradation of cane sugar-δ¹³C-labeled through C4 photosynthesis. There was no significant difference between the results from 7-min ODC and 120-min CSC measurements. Further, a test using samples of either cane sugar (C4) or beetroot sugar (C3) mixed into standard soil proved the target functionality of the system, which is to identify the biodegradation of carbon sources with significantly different isotopic signatures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Beta vulgaris
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis*
  • Carbon Isotopes / analysis*
  • Equipment Design
  • Linear Models
  • Mass Spectrometry / instrumentation
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Saccharum
  • Soil / chemistry*


  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Soil
  • Carbon Dioxide