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Analytical Platforms

Analytical platforms represent a specific group of platforms within AnaEE, whose main objective is to provide services for the ecosystem experiments, which generally bring added value for AnaEE community, are unique and generally unavailable for most experimental platforms and open for access.  Uniqueness means that the analytical services have a high degree of originality and cannot be easily duplicated elsewhere with comparable standards.

The platforms should be equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation and use the cutting-edge methodologies with the highest accuracy, closely related to ecosystem and bio-economy research. If possible, the platforms should provide integration of several analytical methods in one place.  Analytical platforms should also provide sufficient capacity of services for the whole AnaEE community, coordinate standardization of procedures like sampling, sample storage and transport, be active in the development of new analytical techniques and data processing procedures according to the needs of experimental and modelling platforms, and provide training of technical staff, PhD students, and early-stage researchers.

Besides the uniqueness of services and their common unavailability, the analytical platforms should fulfil following supporting criteria:
  • Sufficient capacity for open access
  • Long-term operability
  • Standardization of methods with the top similar platforms
  • Highly qualified staff and continuous training
The analytical services required by the AnaEE community may change over time with emerging needs for a deep understanding of specific processes within the ecosystem or new techniques available.

The recent survey on the needs among the scientists from experimental platforms and  their evaluation of analytical services based on uniqueness and availability showed four major groups of services currently most relevant for AnaEE community a bringing the highest added value to the experiments, needed for understanding the ecosystem processes and functions and/or essential for the development of adaptation and mitigation measures:
These are as follows:
  • Mobile platforms for on-line analysis of trace greenhouse gases (particularly N2O, CH4, NH4) or BVOCs (Biogenic Volatile Organic Compounds) using state-of-the-art analyzers (e.g. PTR/MS, CRDS). The advantage is if the mobile platform is equipped with instrumentation for chamber measurement (automatic chambers, multiplexer) and soil gradient measurements.
  • Remote sensing platforms equipped with a number of state-of-the-art(mostly imaging) sensors (hyperspectral, thermal infrared, LiDar etc.) or with the equipment for air sampling and/or on-line analyses of gases (e.g. BVOCs). The advantage is if the platform uses aircraft (for larger areas with less resolution) and UAV - drones (for small plots with high resolution but with limited number or precision of sensors).
  • Advanced omics laboratories, preferably combining several omics analytical techniques such as genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, with sufficient capacity for open access
  • Analytical platforms are providing complex food safety services e.g. analyses of mycotoxins or other natural toxins, testing of food microbial contamination, analysis of pesticide residues, processing-induced chemicals etc.

Submitted on December 11, 2020

Updated on December 11, 2020