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A note on measuring the oxygen content of soil air

A note on measuring the oxygen content of soil air

Swedish Journal of Agricultural Research 20(2): 77-80

Two methods were developed to measure the oxygen concentration of soil air. One method involved extracting samples of soil air in the field from a fixed probe and analysing them in the laboratory by gas chromatograph. This permitted measurement of both O2 and CO2 content of the soil air samples. The main inaccuracy arose through leaks in the system and through sampling too frequently on waterlogged soil, in which case water was drawn into the sampling chamber. In the second method, an oxygen sensor was used to measure O2 concentration in newly-made auger holes in the soil. This allowed problems of leaks in sampling and transport to be avoided and was a more flexible and reliable method than the first. The main inaccuracy arose where the soil air-filled porosity was very low, in which case O2 concentrations were higher than expected, probably because extraction of the soil core created a pressure deficit which induced mass flow of atmospheric air into the hole.

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