Organic matter plays an important role in stabilising soil aggregates. Clay minerals are known to interact with organic matter and stabilise organic matter from microbial degradation, thereby maintaining aggregate stability. The interaction between organic matter and clay depends on the chemical characteristics (functional groups) on both the organic matter and clay. This project investigates the association between organic matter and clay minerals in several soils and how these interactions change over time.  The laboratory-based project will develop methods to fractionate clay-organic matter complexes and quanitfy organic matter bound in various forms in soils. This project is suitable for a student with interest in soil chemistry. The outcome of this project is an improved methodology to fractionate soil organic matter-clay  complexes and to quanitfy the organic matter held in the respective fractions in soils.

Location: St Lucia campus

Supervisor: Dr Bernhard Wehr

Project members

Dr Bernhard Wehr

Lecturer in Soil Chemistry
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences