Soil Chemistry Laboratory (CBLB)

The Soil Chemistry Laboratory (CBLB) is a leading laboratory for high-quality chemical analyses with a focus on soil, crop and water samples. The lab provides support to research and education of the Environmental Sciences Group of Wageningen University & Research in the field of chemical analysis and soil chemistry, as well as to scientists from other WUR Science Groups.

CBLB facilitates research with a broad range of experimental facilities and analytical techniques. Furthermore it invests in development and improvement of analytical methods and techniques to address emerging analytical research needs.

The lab provides large drying cabinets, as well as a range of sieving, grinding, and mixing equipment for the pre-treatment of solid samples, tailored to the specific requirements of subsequent analyses.

The available experimental facilities range from specialized instrumentation for (batch and column) adsorption- and desorption studies of trace elements and nutrients, donnan membrane technique (DMT) analyses to quantify free ion concentrations, to equipment for (redox-sensitive) experiments under differing atmospheres (glovebox), state-of-the-art automated titration system and software, asymmetric flow field flow fractionation (AF4) for characterization of nanoparticles, and chemical fractionation of natural organic matter.

Common analysis

Common analyses performed in the laboratory involve

  • analysis of the inorganic chemical composition of soil, crop, compost, soil moisture, surface waters, nutrient solutions, etc.
  • determination of the total and bio-available fraction of macro- and micro-nutrients and trace elements in soil and soil-amendments
  • analysis of (different fractions of) natural organic carbon
  • determination of soil characteristic parameters such as texture, organic matter content, organic and inorganic carbon content, cation exchange capacity (CEC), pH, conductivity (EC), alkalinity, P-water (P-w), P-ammonium lactate (P-Al), etc.


The laboratory is equipped with modern, state-of-the-art analytical instruments, such as:

  • ICP-OES (elemental analysis, ppm level)
  • high resolution ICP-MS (elemental analysis, ppb-ppt level)
  • segmented flow analyzers (NH4, NO3, Nts, PO4, DOC, F)
  • automated discrete spectrophotometer (alkalinity, SO4, Cl, NO2)
  • dry combustion elemental analyzer (C, N)
  • HPLC (analysis of pesticides and other organic compounds)
  • enzyme activity assays
  • laser diffraction (grain size distribution)
  • RockEval 7S (characterization of thermal stability indicators of natural organic matter, based on C,H,O,S analysis of pyrolysis and oxidation products)