Researchers used the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan to look at where carbon ends up in soil and are contributing to an effort to mitigate the effects of drought for California farmers.
Samantha Ying and Michael Schaefer, both from the Department of Environmental Sciences at University of California (UC) Riverside, are part of a team set on untangling the mystery of a practice upon which farmers have relied for centuries to reduce water use—cover crops. Cover crops are an ancient practice whereby a crop is planted for the sole purpose of fertilizing the soil, not for consumption. It is known that increased organic carbon in soil resulting from the use of cover crops “turns the soil into a sponge that holds water,” explained Ying. “But how does this work? We really don’t know what’s happening to the carbon and soil.”
Image: Researcher Samantha Ying loading samples at our SGM beamline.