RENO – The University of Nevada, Reno this month opened its new Core Analytical Laboratory to provide agricultural research support and analytical services. For the layperson, that includes testing soil and water samples.
The lab, housed within UNR’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources and located in the Knudtsen Resource Center, provides services to university faculty along with students for research projects. For a fee, the general public can also receive analytical services.
“The College and its Extension and Experiment Station units receive many calls throughout the year about soil and water analyses for garden soils and wells on their property,” Chris Pritsos, director of the Experiment Station, said. Previously, it was difficult and expensive to find the equipment or services in the area. “It’s exciting to now be able to offer this much-needed service to Nevada residents,” he added.
According to a news release from the university, the lab will perform much more analysis that just basic soil and water samples though.
“The work done in the lab will also cover a wide range of agricultural research, such as analyzing metal uptake from crops, which will benefit farmers looking to understand how certain plants will grow in their soil,” the release noted. Researchers in the lab are currently using these instruments to pinpoint metals in water that affect the growth of algae used as feedstock for various commercial applications.
“Since the opening of the lab, we’ve had several visitors, a lot of questions and a lot of interest,” Sarrah Dunham-Cheatham, director of the lab, said. “Although we just opened, we have several students using the lab to process soil samples for their own research, and we’ve seen a lot of interest in using the facility for water quality research.”
The lab is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and offers scheduling services for anyone needing to send in a sample, as well as various fee-based analytical services. The fees are based on what service is needed. For more information, contact the lab at 775-682-6486 or submit a contact form on the lab’s website, https://naes.unr.edu/cal/contact-us.aspx.
The Core Analytical Laboratory is a collaboration between the College’s Experiment Station and the USDA Agricultural Research Service.