Understanding mineral-organic interactions for maximising soil organic carbon


Soil organic matter (SOM) represents the largest terrestrial carbon pool. The mineralisation of SOM has a major impact on the global carbon cycle and therefore research is needed to understand the stabilisation mechanisms of SOM. The stability or longevity of organic matter in soils is considered to be enhanced by chemical and physical interactions between mineral and SOM in soils. Mineral-organic interactions in soils can be influenced by mineral size, surface functional groups, specific surface area and porosity of the minerals involved in the process, as well as the properties of organic compounds. The research project will focus on understanding the nature of the mineral-organic interactions in soils, which might help in increasing the stability of soil organic carbon.


Associate Professor Balwant Singh

Research Location

Sydney Institute of Agriculture - Australian Technology Park

Program Type



The research project will involve collections of soil samples from field sites with contrasting mineral compositions in Australia. The focus will be on understanding the nature of chemical interactions between mineral-organic in natural soils by determining the chemical functional groups of organic carbon or minerals, and evaluating the stability of mineral-organic associations. The research will involve application of traditional laboratory methods and advanced spectroscopic (e.g. NEXAFS, XPS, FTIR), X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy techniques.

Additional Information

A candidate with strong background in soil science, or related subjects. Some experience in soil chemistry and mineralogy will be desired. The potential candidate will require financial support, and should apply for scholarships available from the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, from the University or from external agencies.

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soil organic matter, spectroscopy, Soil carbon, clay minerals, Electron microscopy

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1797

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