In the fourth episode of In a Nutshell, host Antonia Leise invites the Ph.D. candidate in Plant Ecology and Physiology Rosa Boone into the studio.
In this episode, we go below ground and have a close look at the soil our food depends upon – or, more precisely, how an electronic nose can help sniff out whether grassland soil is healthy or not. Why is healthy soil important? How can smell help in determining soil health? And what do Pickwick tea bags have to do with all of this? Rosa Boone knows the answers – even though determining what healthy soil is might not be as straightforward of a question as one might think.
Rosa Boone is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Science and currently developing an electronic nose to help farmers determine whether their soil is healthy or not. She has long been fascinated with nature restoration and works closely with farmers and artists to make the topic of soil health more accessible.
Want to know more about soil health? Follow Rosa's tip and watch the documentary Planet Soil (2023; Dutch: Onder het Maaiveld) or read the book Nose Dive (2022) by Harold McGee.
Edit: Jara Majerus
Cover: Antonia Leise