Agriculture – Soil


Molecular Analysis
Applications in Agriculture - Soil quality

Soil biodiversity, i.e. the microbiological composition of soil, is a particularly important factor in the agricultural yield of cultivated soil and thus in sustainable development.

In the absence of microorganisms in soil, that is Bacteria and Fungi, it is impossible for biogeochemical and nutrient cycles to be carried out.

More specifically, soil micro-organisms play an important role in the following:

  • Organic matter mineralisation, that is the decomposition of complex organic molecules, resulting in the production of valuable mineral nutrients (Nitrogen, Carbon, Oxygen...)
  • Decomposition of xenobiotic substances. Substances such as drugs, food and other toxic compounds can interfere with normal soil function, multiply and return to the human diet with multiple public health risks if not degraded by microorganisms
  • Promotion of plant growth. Plants will not reach the expected size and their fruits will not have the desired characteristics (colour, size, etc.)
  • Preservation and improvement of the soil structure. The absence of suitable micro-organisms can make the soil barren in the medium or long term.
  • Water absorption. The inability or incapacity of the soil to absorb water puts the crop at risk, especially in dry periods.

What We Offer

Smallomics is a microbiological laboratory that uses innovative molecular techniques applied in recent years to medical and environmental studies.

At Smallomics, among other things, we innovate and specialize in techniques such as:

  • Next Generation Sequencing (NGS)
  • Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR)

Based on the above, we understand that knowledge of the composition of microbial diversity and its seasonal monitoring is a powerful weapon for agricultural production and environmental protection.

A. Mapping of the whole microbiome in a sample

Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques have an advantage over conventional culture methods in that all microorganisms present are determined in relative abundance terms, including those found in low abundance and those not grown in a petri dish. No special sample preparation is required and contamination is minimised.

In short, the microbial composition of the soil is mapped and semi-quantified.

From the above information is extracted for:

  • The existence of pathogenic microorganisms, which may pose a risk to the crop and public health,
  • The levels of desirable microorganisms that contribute to optimal production and quality,
  • The prediction of undesirable changes in the future, signaling early corrective actions. As an example, it is possible that chemical analyses may not be of concern but the microbial composition may indicate future changes in the near future,
  • Maintaining and improving soil structure. The absence of suitable microorganisms may render the soil infertile in the medium or long term,
  • Water uptake. The inability or inability to absorb water from the soil puts the crop at risk, especially in dry periods.

Microbial Diversity Analysis Answers

Microbial diversity analysis can answer questions and discover the causes for quality degradation on its own or in collaboration with measurable quality physico-chemical parameters:

  • Microbiological Parameters: They can determine the causes of the presence of pathogenic strains or the absence of "desirable" microorganisms and indicate the degree of soil quality.
  • Chemical Parameters: High counts of desirable or undesirable chemicals can be explained by microbiome analysis, as the metabolic pathways that cause increases in these parameters (e.g. nitrates, sulfates, etc.) are identified.
  • Physical Parameters: Dryness, etc. physical soil characteristics are likely to be caused, directly or indirectly, by microbes that are not easily detected or identified by conventional methods.

B. Environmental Monitoring

By analyzing the microbiome from specific sampling points at regular intervals, it is possible to detect/anticipate changes that may adversely affect quality and/or safety.

It is a dynamic process as it creates a database which is enriched over time with new data.

From the biostatistical analysis it is possible to trace and identify the origin of undesired changes in microbial composition.

Indicatively, monitoring can take place in the following:

  • 1. Cropland
  • 2. Water table, water ecosystems
  • 3. Solid and liquid effluents from agricultural activity

Επικοινωνήστε μαζί μας για τη χάραξη της κατάλληλης στρατηγικής ανάλυσης για τις διαδικασίες σας.