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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Biological Fingerprinting of Soil for Source Identification

Authors
item Kennedy, Ann
item Stubbs, Tami - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.
item Busacca, Alan - WASHINGTON STATE UNIV.

Submitted to: Soil and Water Conservation Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 20, 2003
Publication Date: November 1, 2003
Citation: Kennedy, A.C., Stubbs, T.L., Busacca, A.J. 2003. Biological fingerprinting of soil for source identification [abstract]. Soil and Water Conservation Society. p. 50.

Technical Abstract: The biological portion of soil can be used to differentiate displaced soils. Fatty acid analyses of soils yield characteristic "fingerprints" that are unique to a given soil at a given time. We found that molecular techniques for fingerprinting the soil successfully identified different soils and distinguished road dust from agricultural soils. The soil of the Columbia Plateau in Washington state consists of six major clusters of biological groups with ten subgroups. These clusters were divided into groups of the southern, middle, and northern Columbia Plateau, the Palouse, and the Black Sands area. Subgroups within each group further divided these areas. Samples were collected to assess seasonal variation in fingerprint. We found the fingerprints to change with season, but no seasonal change reassigned a soil to another soil sample. Samples of dust from air around agricultural fields were most similar to fingerprints of soil from roads and nearby fields. This new technology will help target nonpoint as well as point sources of fugitive dust and provide a powerful tool for developing policies to control dust pollution that are fair to farmers, developers and other land users.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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