A new lab that will provide agricultural research support and analytical services to University faculty, students and residents has opened its doors at the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources. The new Core Analytical Laboratory is a collaboration between the College’s Experiment Station and the USDA Agricultural Research Service.
Located at the Knudtsen Resource Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, the lab will provide agriculture-focused analytical services to support faculty- and student-led research at the University. The lab is also offering analytical services for a fee to the general public, including property owners and homeowners, who may need to have their soil or water samples analyzed. Training of students and faculty who want to conduct these analyses on their own is also available.
Prior to the opening of the lab, researchers usually had to find equipment and places to conduct this work off-campus, and sometimes, it was difficult and expensive to find what they needed in the area.
“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. “It’s exciting to now be able to offer this much-needed service to Nevada residents.”
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 lab is also home to multiple new instruments that can be used to support many types of research, not just agricultural, which will enhance the research capabilities for the entire University and northern Nevada research community. A current project is 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.
“One of the great things about this lab is that it’s so well-staffed, so we have the expertise available to help researchers with their studies,” Pritsos said. “I think it’s a really nice improvement for faculty and will offer support for a lot of the work being done on campus and to serve our State.”