Solid Organic Matter Physical Fractionation Device


Available for Licensing
TRL: 6

IP Status

US Utility Patent Pending (Not Yet Published)


​M Francesca Cotrufo
Michelle Haddix
Kyle Palmiscno

At A Glance

​Researchers at Colorado State University have developed a laboratory instrument able to perform soil organic matter (SOM) physical fractionation on a number of soil samples sequentially without stopping between samples. The instrument fully automates the procedure and only requires a user to load and unload samples. This instrument will significantly lower the cost and operator skill set requirement, while largely increasing throughput. The device will allow for large scale adoption of soil analysis essential in fighting climate change across the globe.

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Licensing Director

Jillian Lang

Reference No.:  2021-001


​The world’s soils are increasingly recognized as a key battleground in the fight against climate change, nutrient pollution, and other pressing global challenges. Soils have the capacity to store vast amounts of soil organic matter (SOM), which aids in provision of multiple ecosystem services and is widely recognized as a viable component of a diversified strategy to address the UN sustainability goals.  Managing SOM stocks to effectively address global challenges requires deep understanding of SOM formation, persistence, and function, which in turn requires separating SOM into a light and a dense fraction. 

Current laboratory methods used to perform SOM physical fractionation (separating soil sample into light and dense fraction) is very labor-intensive, manual process that requires highly trained personnel.    Even with the use of skilled personnel, the procedure has a very low throughput with an estimated rate of 20 sampler per week.  Because of the low throughput and high labor cost associated with this procedure, analytical test facilities are reluctant to offer SOM physical fractionation. 

  • Designed to perform every function of the annual SOM physical fraction method
  • Can process up to 20 samples continuously
  • User interface allows lab personnel to adjust various parameters of operation
  • Soil Science Research Laboratories
  • Federal laboratories
  • Soil Testing Laboratories world-wide

Last updated: January 2021

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