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REMET-Rice Project supports joint training on soil spectroscopy for BSWM, UPLB, and IRRI scientists

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna (16 March 2024) – Scientists from the Philippine Department of Agriculture Bureau of Soils and Water Management (DA-BSWM), the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) recently underwent a joint training in basic and advanced techniques in soil spectroscopy.

The training, held last 13-15 March 2024 at IRRI Headquarters, was an initiative organized by DA-BSWM and IRRI, and supported by the Reducing Methane Emissions from Rice (REMET-Rice) Project, a collaborative research initiative by IRRI and Shell India Markets Private Ltd. targeted at multi-disciplinary approaches to lower GHG emissions from the rice sector.

The objectives of the 3-day training were to allow the participants to generate and evaluate spectral signatures from soil samples and other materials of interest; develop standard operating procedures for analysis; and start a network of users for soil spectroscopy applied to agricultural research. The training was a mix of lectures, hands-on operation, actual analysis of samples, and evaluation of spectral signatures.

The training was facilitated by Chemisphere Laboratory Sciences Inc. through specialist Myan Bartolata and engineer Vincent Corpuz, using a Bruker Alpha II FT-IR Spectrometer with Attenuated Total Reflectance (ATR), Diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform (DRIFT), and transmission modules. Participants included three chemists and one agriculturist from DA-BSWM (Chino Antonio, Sheila Mae Bautista, John Pascua, and Marjorie Jean Tao), two soil researchers from UPLB (Nicola Louise Timbas and Darryl Aguila), and seven researchers from IRRI (Francis Rubianes, Ryan Romasanta, Mitzi Alodia Asih, Emmali Manalo, Mary Ann Burac, Mignon Natividad, and Olivyn Angeles).

The methodologies, necessary spectral library, and calibration datasets will be developed by this initial local network of users for soil spectroscopy,” said Dr.Olivyn Angeles, REMET-Rice Project work package lead and IRRI Senior Associate Scientist for Soil Health. “The target is to conduct inter-lab comparisons and achieve similar results on certified materials. The team is currently conducting analyses of a large number of soil samplings from their ongoing experiments.

This foundational research conducted for the REMET-Rice Project will be key to improving our understanding of the variability and drivers of GHG emissions among different rice ecosystems, not just for targeting technologies and options in mitigation, but also in generating new knowledge leading to development of novel solutions.”