A Transient Printed Soil Decomposition Sensor Based on a Biopolymer Composite Conductor

Atreya, Madhur and Desousa, Stacie and Kauzya, John‐Baptist and Williams, Evan and Hayes, Austin and Dikshit, Karan and Nielson, Jenna and Palmgren, Abigail and Khorchidian, Sara and Liu, Shangshi and Gopalakrishnan, Anupam and Bihar, Eloise and Bruns, Carson J. and Bardgett, Richard and Quinton, John N. and Davies, Jessica and Neff, Jason C. and Whiting, Gregory L. (2023) A Transient Printed Soil Decomposition Sensor Based on a Biopolymer Composite Conductor. Advanced Science, 10 (5). ISSN 2198-3844

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Soil health is one of the key factors in determining the sustainability of global agricultural systems and the stability of natural ecosystems. Microbial decomposition activity plays an important role in soil health; and gaining spatiotemporal insights into this attribute is critical for understanding soil function as well as for managing soils to ensure agricultural supply, stem biodiversity loss, and mitigate climate change. Here, a novel in situ electronic soil decomposition sensor that relies on the degradation of a printed conductive composite trace utilizing the biopolymer poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) as a binder is presented. This material responds selectively to microbially active environments with a continuously varying resistive signal that can be readily instrumented with low-cost electronics to enable wide spatial distribution. In soil, a correlation between sensor response and intensity of microbial decomposition activity is observed and quantified by comparison with respiration rates over 14 days, showing that devices respond predictably to both static conditions and perturbations in general decomposition activity.

Item Type:
Journal Article
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Advanced Science
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22 Dec 2022 14:15
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 02:56