Soil Enzymology: Methods and Mechanisms

Extracellular enzymes put the ‘bio‘ into soil biogeochemistry. These abiontic catalysts are ubiquitous across global terrestrial (and aquatic) biomes and catalyze transformations of nutrient elements of C, N, P and S. Assays and characterization of enzyme activities and properties stand to improve understanding of terrestrial biogeochemistry. We work on methodological approaches to sharpen these tools for use in the soils context, and apply them to resolve a key biochemical driver of element transformations in soils.

Current research on soil enzymes include:
1. Adapting assay methods from the original context of biomedical research for the unique context of soils
2. Developing best practices for soil enzyme assays, in collaboration with the NRCS Kellogg Soil Survey Laboratory
3. Functionalizing enzyme assays to better understand nutrient cycling and to improve biogeochemical models