Testing Soil

Soil is the mixture of various materials such as minerals, organics, gases, liquids, and microorganisms that provide the foundation for plant growth and help naturally filter our water.

Today, our soil is modified to support our modern lifestyle. For example, fertilizers and pesticides are used to keep our crops from being infested by insects. However, our soil can also be polluted by human use such as factories and agricultural runoff.

There are many kinds of soil pollutants but they can be categorized in two broad categories:

Organic (i.e. any material that contains carbon such as oil, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), detergents, and pesticides) 
Inorganic (i.e. nitrates, heavy metals, and acidic substances)

Soil pollution has been an increasing concern in science and the public. The expanded use of land for agricultural, industry, and housing are causing an increased risk of exposure to substances that may be harmful to humans. These include possible acute toxicity effects and mutagenicity changes. Sediment toxicity testing provide us with the means to ensure the well-being of our local ecosystems.  Using the Sedi-LabTM high school biotechnology kit, students will learn how to detect toxicity levels in soil (i.e. the study of the presence of xenobiotic (human-made) chemicals or other alteration in the natural soil environment. 

Sedi-LabTM: The Sedi-LabTM high school biotechnology kit is a rapid,
bacterial-based bioassay that determines acute toxicity in sediments,
suspended sediments, soils and solid wastes. It employs a direct
sediment toxicity testing method to assess total toxic responses from
all soluble, insoluble, organic, inorganic, and volatile molecules in a
given sample. 
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