The experimental and analytical equipment is aligned for our main fields of research and is used for a qualified education of students. The Department of Soil Science has got laboratories for inorganic and organic soil chemistry and organic trace analysis, soil microbiology, soil zoology, soil physics, soil mechanics, soil micromorphology, as well as extensive equipment for field soil sampling and field instrumentation.

The instrumental equipment of the Soil chemistry comprises various techniques

  • in sample preparation: Serial and sequential methods for liquid, solid phase, ultrasound assisted and pressurized liquid extraction and total digestion

  • for the determination of basic physicochemical parameters of soils, plants and water: e.g. C/N/S total analysis, AAS (flame and graphite furnace), UV/VIS-spectrophotometer, TOC/N analyzer and flow-injection-analyzer.

For organic trace analysis the following instruments are on hand:

  • several HPLC systems with UV-, diode array and fluorescence detection as well as fraction collector,

  • LC-MS/MS with ESI and APCI source,

  • GC-MS and GC-FID, -NPD.

Radiochemical laboratory for analysis of radio labeled environmental chemicals (especially 14C):

  • Liquid Scintillation Counter, chemical oxidizer, HPLC with radioactivity detector

Nutrients and heavy metals are routinely determined together with selected organic pollutants, active agents and xenobiotics.
The transport of natural and xenobiotic compounds is investigated in laboratory column test stations and laboratory lysimeters.

The Soil Biology Lab is equipped with various analyzers for molecular, microbiological, zoological and field investigations, such as Thermocyclers, Gel Electrophoresis, DGGE, Western Blots, autoclaves and Microscopes and Infrared-Gasanalyzers.
In brief, the following methods are conducted in routine:

  • Determination of soil microbial biomass and activity, and enzyme activities
  • Structural diversity of soil microorganisms, Phospholipid-Fatty Acid and DGGE analysis
  • Determination and identification of various members of soil organisms; earthworms, isopods, diplopods, nematodes
  • Individual numbers, biomass, litter decomposition and bait lamina studies


In the Soil Physical Laboratory the following parameters can be determined:

  • Bulk density
  • Total pore volume
  • Pore size distribution
  • Penetration resistance
  • Stability of soil aggregates (different methods)
  • Saturated and unsaturated water conductivity
  • Air conductivity
  • Bulk soil experiments

In the soil mechanical laboratory we can estimate following parameters:

  • Air conductivity
  • Penetration resistance
  • Preload
  • Preassure subsidence
  • Time depending subsidence
  • Flow and coasting boundaries (Casagrande)

Within the micromorphological laboratory and the microscope office thin microsections and polished sections can be produced and evaluated.

For field mapping and soil sampling different kinds of augers, hammers as well as sampling cylinders are available. Additionally, DIN-infiltrometers, doublering-infiltrometers and slope-infiltrometers can be used to estimate infiltration capacities and rates. Equipment to accomplish sprinkling experiments on plot-scale is also available.