The Effect Of Cover Crop Volatile Organic Compounds On Soil Organic Matter Formation And Nutrient Retention For Soil Health Improvement

  • McBride II, Steven (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Soil organic matter (SOM) formation and nutrient retention are key indicators of soil health in agroecosystems. Globally, two-thirds of maize and wheat fields could increase yields with an increase in SOM. While some management plans such as cover cropping have been shown to improve SOM formation and nutrient retention, it is unclear what biotic and abiotic factors drive these processes. Volatile organic compounds from decomposing litters have previously been shown to produce a significant amount of labile carbon, which is the precursor for stable SOM formation. However, we lack a basic understanding of VOC production from cover crop litters, as well as how these compounds affect SOM formation and nutrient retention in managed systems. The purpose of this project is to fill these knowledge gaps by using a stable isotope tracer approach in an experimental cropping system. We will study the fate of VOC-C from both above- and belowground litters in the underlying mineral soil. We will also determine how VOCs from these litters affect nitrogen transformations. These data will help us develop SOM formation models that scientists can use to advance understanding of VOC and agroecology, and for managers to use for making decisions that increase crop production and, minimize environmental and public health impacts. This project gives postdoctoral applicant Steve McBride a great opportunity to develop research independence while managing a novel interdisciplinary project. This project will create new collaborations and networking opportunities with researchers, agricultural managers, and producers. Helping Steven because a well-rounded agricultural researcher.
Effective start/end date9/1/208/31/22


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