Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, February 2010, Vol.173(1), pp.88-99
Soil, the “Earth's thin skin” serves as the delicate interface between the biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and lithosphere. It is a dynamic and hierarchically organized system of various organic and inorganic constituents and organisms, the spatial structure of which defines a large, complex, and heterogeneous interface. Biogeochemical processes at soil interfaces are fundamental for the overall soil development, and they are the primary driving force for key ecosystem functions such as plant productivity and water quality. Ultimately, these processes control the fate and transport of contaminants and nutrients into the vadose zone and as such their biogeochemical cycling. The definite objective in biogeochemical‐interface research is to gain a mechanistic understanding of the architecture of these biogeochemical interfaces in soils and of the complex interplay and interdependencies of the physical, chemical, and biological processes acting at and within these dynamic interfaces in soil. The major challenges are (1) to identify the factors controlling the architecture of biogeochemical interfaces, (2) to link the processes operative at the individual molecular and/or organism scale to the phenomena active at the aggregate scale in a mechanistic way, and (3) to explain the behavior of organic chemicals in soil within a general mechanistic framework. To put this in action, integration of soil physical, chemical, and biological disciplines is mandatory. Indispensably, it requires the adaption and development of characterization and probing techniques adapted from the neighboring fields of molecular biology, analytical and computational chemistry as well as materials and nano‐sciences. To shape this field of fundamental soil research, the German Research Foundation (DFG) has granted the Priority Program “Biogeochemical Interfaces in Soil”, in which 22 individual research projects are involved.
Soil Function ; Soil Architecture ; Spectro‐Microscopy ; Tomography ; Som ; Soil Microbial Ecology ; Organic Chemicals