Rothamsted Sample Archive

 

Overview of the Rothamsted Sample Archive (RSA) and Access to Samples

From the very outset in 1843, Lawes and Gilbert retained samples of crops (grain, straw, herbage) and soils from what later became known as the ‘Classical’ experiments at Rothamsted. The samples had been taken for nutrient analysis at that time. Following analysis, they stored the samples principally, we assume, in case any of the analyses needed to be repeated. It was, thus, serendipity that started the sample archive but within a few years Lawes and Gilbert realised that it had potential longer-term value to them and to future generations. Their understanding of the value of the stored samples is illustrated by the following quote from a paper that they published in 1864  “if our knowledge of the chemistry of soils should progress as rapidly as it has in the last twenty years, the analysis of a soil will ere long become much more significant than it is at present." Subsequently, successive generations of scientists at Rothamsted have continued to add to the collection to create the Rothamsted Sample Archive (RSA) we know today providing, in many cases, an unbroken record of samples pertaining to the Rothamsted Long-Term Experiments (LTEs). Today, there are over 300,000 samples in the RSA, with around 1,200 crop and 200 soil samples being added each year.

The original location of samples
The Barn Laboratory near Rothamsted Lodge, Hatching Green 1839 - site of the Rothamsted Sample Archive (RSA) collection until 1855
Current sample archive
Interior of The Testimonial Laboratory - Rothamsted Sample Archive (RSA) collection on balcony
Testimonial Laboratory
The Testimonial Laboratory - site of the Rothamsted Sample Archive (RSA) collection until 1890

The RSA has been housed in various sites around the Rothamsted site in Harpenden as it has grown. Samples were originally stored in the Old Barn Laboratory at Hatching Green until 1855. They were then moved to the Testimonial Laboratory and stored there until 1890 (a building later demolished in 1914) when they were then transferred to the purpose-built Sample House (now called the ‘Old Sample House’, the oldest surviving building on the research institute part of the site). This was in use until 1948/49 when samples were moved to the Manor Store. The RSA was moved to its current location, a new bespoke storage facility, in 2009 with room for several future decades of samples. The field samples are processed in the Sample Processing Facility in the Jenkinson building, a purpose-built facility with threshing machines, large ovens, and mills. From there they are transferred to the RSA for storage according to established protocols for each LTE. The building is not air-conditioned, or humidity controlled but is dark and cool and receives some heating in the winter.

This unique resource is of immense value and has been used extensively by both Rothamsted staff and scientists throughout the world. The opportunities provided by modern techniques to analyse these historic archived materials, provide insights into changes over the last 180 years (2023), and knowledge for future agronomic and ecological developments. No other global long-term experiments have such an archive. The RSA is a key component of the Rothamsted Long-Term Experiments National Biosciences Research Infrastructure (RLTE-NBRI).


Sample archive = the oldest building on site
The 'Old Sample House', the location of the Rothamsted Sample Archive collection (RSA) used from the 1880s to the 1940s
Manor barns
The Manor Store housed the Rothamsted Sample Archive collection (RSA) used from the 1940s until 2009
Current sample archive
The current day Rothamsted Sample Archive (RSA) since 2009

The samples

Plant samples consist of oven-dried (80°C) finely-ground and unground (whole or chopped) grain, straw and herbage as well as material from other crops. Samples are archived from each of the major LTEs every year (though whole unground crop samples are only archived from three principal LTEs).

Soil samples from the topsoil (generally 0-23 cm depth) and some from the subsoils (occasionally down to 200 cm depth), are air dried. They are taken from the main LTEs every few years according to experiment-specific protocols. The soil samples are usually stored as sieved (<6.35 or <2-mm) or finely-ground samples.

Samples of the manures and fertilizers that have been applied to the different LTEs are also archived. These are useful for looking at nutrient inputs and for contaminants. Most of the fertilizers (excluding N) and manures date from the 1940s.

Early experiments at Rothamsted included work on animals and diet. There are some animal part samples, which now are only really curiosities.

The samples are stored in a variety of containers - sealed glass bottles, jars, and vials, airtight tins or card boxes, each with a unique bar code label and identification number. Each shelf has a unique identifier and sample locations are recorded in a database. The vast majority of the samples are from the Classicals and other LTEs at the main Rothamsted site in Harpenden, but there are also samples retained from finished or continuing LTEs at the Woburn Experimental Farm (Bedfordshire) and finished LTEs at Saxmundham (Suffolk). In addition, several thousand soil samples collected from around the world in the 1920-1950s, for a variety of reasons, are also stored.

During and following World War II there was a shortage of raw materials to make containers due to rationing that continued through to the 1950s, and so staff brought in tins from home for sample storage use. These are an interesting record of those times.

Sample archive shelves soil samples
Broadbalk bottled soil samples
Sample archive
Broadbalk wheat grains from 1844 - the very first harvest of the experiment
Bradbalk shelves
Park Grass tins of hay

Use of the samples

Initially, samples were analysed at the time for their nutrient content, including N, C, P, K, Na, Mg etc. With the development of successive new analytical techniques the samples can be used for many other studies, both to study environmental effects and farm management procedures. For instance, detecting changes in atmospheric inputs, the development of fungicide/herbicide resistance, effects on plant pathogen populations, carbon modelling and investigating microplastics in sewage sludge (see Case Studies). In short, the RSA is a globally-unique record of both environmental change and agricultural management change.

Access & Collaboration

The use of the RSA in new collaborative research is actively encouraged as part of our objectives for the RLTE-NBRI. To discuss access to the RSA, please contact one of the RLTE-NBRI team, such as the project lead, the technician, or the e-RA data curators (see below). Access to the RSA is ultimately managed through Rothamsted’s Sample and Measurement Request system, itself managed by the Farm and Field Experiments Committee (FFEC), ideally via a Rothamsted Collaborator. Further details of this and an online request / expression of interest form are available here:

Completion of this form is not a guarantee that the request will be granted, as the resource is finite, but requests will be carefully considered.

G
Farm yard manure samples in boxes
Post war tins
Park Grass hay samples in tins
p
Post-war tins in Rothamsted Sample Archive

 

 

Unexpected ways scientists have utilised the dried soil, grain, straw and herbage samples

These historic relics have been used for many purposes that were never anticipated at the time of collection and have been shown to be a vital resource for research. Scientists of various disciplines have used them to make a range of discoveries and exciting advances. It has been described as a treasure trove and is recognised as such around the world;

Truly a magnificent and important resource Coalition of Action 4 Soil Health.

A really precious resource Subodh Sinha, National Institute for Plant Biotechnology, India.

An incredible resource for UK agriculture to underpin future R&D Peter Cowlrick, Independent Agronomist based in Hampshire, Director of CCC Agronomy. AICC trials R&D. AHDB Oilseeds.

More precious than moon samples. The LTE samples can never be replaced Garth Drury.

At first view the samples of grain, straw, herbage and soil are of little consequence but scientists at Rothamsted and around the world have uncovered secrets varying from environmental pollution to management effects and unlocked possibilities to help address sustainable agricultural challenges. A few examples demonstrate this...

Current PhD Project: Evolution of Eyespot resistance, using Broadbalk and Hoosfield archived grain and straw samples

The Rothamsted Sample Archive is the source of material for this project investigating eyespot disease outbreaks. Eyespot poses a significant threat to cereal crops, including wheat and barley, with implications for both UK and global food security. Characterized by lens-shaped lesions on stems, this disease hinders water and nutrient flow in plants, potentially resulting in crop lodging. The overarching goal of the PhD project is to enhance our understanding of the two closely related fungal species responsible, Oculimacula acuformis and O. yallundae, contributing to improved disease control with reduced inputs, both in the UK and globally. Fareed, a Rothamsted PhD student, is utilizing the Rothamsted Sample Archive to apply modern molecular techniques to archived wheat and barley samples. This unique resource allows Fareed to look back in time nearly 200 years to explore the population dynamics O. acuformis and O. yallundae, with the resulting data promising valuable insights into the changing nature of eyespot disease over time. This project is under the supervision of Dr. Kevin King and Prof. Jon West.

Eyespot symptoms on wheat stems
Fareed Bhatti, PhD Student (2022-)

Agricultural fertilisers contribute substantially to microplastic concentrations in UK soils

Broadbalk soils provided a historical time series to examine changes to microplastic concentrations in agricultural soils over time. Microplastic particles are intentionally added to the coating surrounding the fertiliser granules and this forms a barrier that ensures that the nutrients are released more slowly. Microplastics were stained with Nile Red and quantified using fluorescence microscopy. This study demonstrated that microplastic concentrations increased at higher rates in soils that are amended with either organic or inorganic fertiliser between 1966 and 2022, suggesting that agricultural fertilisers are an important contributor to microplastic concentrations in agricultural soils over time. Between 1997 and 2005 microplastic increases of up to 350% were found on experimental plots treated with commercial fertilizers. On nil plots there were also seen to be a significant presence of microplastics - some microplastics are deposited from farm machinery, may be carried in rain or be wind-blown onto fields. "Agricultural fertilisers contribute substantially to microplastic concentrations in UK soils", Communications, Earth and Environment 5, (7) https://doi.org/10.1038/s43247-023-01172-y. As reported in the New Scientist New Scientist.com - Fertilisers are a major source of microplastic pollution in soil and in an Environment Matters Podcast MIX926.com/podcast Soil plastic pollution research uses local soil archive.

Cusworth et al. 2024
Microplastic concentrations in an agricultural soil across three treatments, Cusworth et al. 2024
Sample archive
Broadbalk soils samples 2005

Park Grass soil & herbage samples in response to changing atmospheric inputs.

Park Grass soil & hay samples were used in an assessment of the impact of changing SO2 on S cycling in the plant-soil system. While concentrations of S in herbage were positively correlated with annual SO2 emissions, the trend in the stable Delta34S isotope ratio was negatively correlated with SO2 emissions, reflecting the more negative Delta34S values associated with anthropogenic S sources (Zhao et al., 1998). Calculations suggest that up to 50% of the herbage S uptake came from anthropogenic sources at the peak of SO2 emissions in 1970. Sulphur dioxide (SO2 ) was an important atmospheric pollutant in the UK for much of the 20th century, but one that supplied much of agriculture’s sulphur needs. Inputs have declined markedly since the 1970s, due to decreasing emissions from power stations. Zhao, F. J. , Spiro, B. , Poulton, P. R. and McGrath, S. P. (1998) "Use of sulfur isotope ratios to determine anthropogenic sulfur signals in a grassland ecosystem", Environmental Science and Technology 32, (15), 2288-2291 https://doi.org/10.1021/es980157f

Zhao et al. 1998
Changes in SO2 emissions in UK and Park Grass herbage sulphur content, Zhao et al. 1998
Sample archive
Park Grass ground herbage samples 1863

Hoosfield Spring Barley samples and evolution of fungicide resistance

Pyrosequencing of DNA was used to examine the development of resistance to triazole fungicides in the barley pathogen Rhynchosporium commune (leaf blotch fungus) conferred by the presence of CYP51A, a paralogue of the target site encoding gene CYP51 (Hawkins et al., 2014). Spring barley has been grown since 1852 on Hoosfield, and R. commune DNA was successfully amplified from the archived barley samples collected in 33 separate years between 1892 and 2012. The pyrosequencing assay revealed that, for most of the 20th century, the majority of the R. commune population on Hoosfield lacked the azole fungicide resistance conferring gene, but in 1985, following the introduction of azole fungicides in the UK, levels rapidly increased and subsequently the majority of the R. commune population possessed the resistance gene. Hawkins, N. J. , Cools, H. J. , Sierotzki, H. , Shaw, M. W. , Knogge, W. , Kelly, S. L. , Kelly, D. E. and Fraaije, B. A. (2014) "Paralog Re-Emergence: A Novel, Historically Contingent Mechanism in the Evolution of Antimicrobial Resistance", Molecular Biology and Evolution, 31, 1793-1802. https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msu134

Hawkins et al. 2014
Fungicide resistance increased after 1885, Hawkins et al. 2014
Sample archive
Hoosfield barley sample 1945

Broadbalk, Hoosfield and other LTEs soils and development of the RothC model

Data from the analyses of soils for their organic carbon and 14C content was used to develop and validate RothC, a computer model that simulates the turnover of soil organic matter, a key component of soil quality (Jenkinson, 1990). RothC is widely used by researchers worldwide and is now linked to the global climate model developed by the Hadley Centre. Jenkinson, D. S. (1990) "The turnover of organic carbon and nitrogen in soil", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 329, 361-368. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.1990.0177

Jenkinson 1990
Turnover of soil carbon Roth-C model, Jenkinson 1990
Sample archive
Broadbalk soil samples 2000

Park Grass herbage and detection of radiation from nuclear bomb tests

Scientists at Southampton Oceanography Centre analysed samples of herbage from the Park Grass experiment over a 50-year period to measure concentrations of plutonium and uranium. They were able to detect the effects of, and distinguish between, nuclear bomb tests carried out by the US, USSR, UK and France, and show that plutonium contamination from weapons testing in the Nevada Desert in 1952/3 reached Northern Europe (Warneke et al., 2002). Such measurements have only become possible in recent years with the development of more sophisticated analytical techniques. Warneke, T. , Croudace, I. W. , Warwick, P. E. and Taylor, R. N. (2002) "A new ground-level fallout record of uranium and plutonium isotopes for northern temperate latitudes", Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 203, (3-4), 1047-1057. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0012-821X(02)00930-5

Warneke et al. 2002
Detection of fallout from atomic tests in USA in Park Grass herbage, Warneke et al. 2002
Sample archive
Park Grass herbage samples

Long-term removal of wheat straw decreases soil amorphous silica

Archived samples from several long-term experiments at Rothamsted showed that export of wheat straw leads to a decrease in bioavailable Si. In the Broadbalk experiment, a decrease over time in amorphous Si in the topsoil samples showed that cropping and exports of straw leads to depletion of soil phytoliths. A decrease in Si concentration in straw samples was observed between 1883 and 1944. From 1944 to the present, Si concentration increased irregularly in the straw, probably as the result of liming, which enhanced the dissolution of the remaining phytoliths through increasing pH. In the reforested Geescroft field the higher phytolith concentration in the modern topsoil samples is in good agreement with a re-building of phytolith storage from litter input in an acidic environment. Guntzer, F. , Keller, C. , Poulton, P. R. , McGrath, S. P. and Meunier, J.-D. (2012) "Long-term removal of wheat straw decreases soil amorphous silica at Broadbalk, Rothamsted", Plant and Soi, 352, 173-184. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-011-0987-4

Guntzer et al. 2012
Silica, Si, in and pH of soil of Broadbalk 1881-2000, Guntzer at al. 2012
Sample archive
Geescroft soil samples 1999

Broadbalk wheat grain and decreasing mineral density since 1843

Wheat is an important source of minerals such as iron, zinc, copper and magnesium in the UK diet. The mineral concentration of archived wheat grain and soil samples from the Broadbalk Wheat Experiment was determined and trends over time examined in relation to cultivar, yield, and harvest index. The concentrations of zinc, iron, copper and magnesium remained stable between 1845 and the mid 1960s, but since then have decreased significantly. which coincided with the introduction of semi-dwarf, high-yielding cultivars. In comparison, the concentrations in soil have either increased or remained stable. Similarly decreasing trends were observed in different treatments receiving no fertilizers, inorganic fertilizers or organic manure. Multiple regression analysis showed that both increasing yield and harvest index were highly significant factors that explained the downward trend in grain mineral concentration . Fan, M.-S. , Zhao, F.-J. , Fairweather-Tait, S. J. , Poulton, P. R. , Dunham, S. J. and McGrath, S. P. (2008) "Evidence of decreasing mineral density in wheat grain over the last 160 years", Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 22, (4), 315-324. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtemb.2008.07.002

Trends in yields, harvest index and minerals in Broadbalk wheat grain since 1845, Fan et al 2008
Sample archive
Broadbalk grain samples

Hoosfield potatoes and the causal agent of potato blight, Phytopthora infestans

Late blight remained a significant disease for potato growers in Europe long after the famine of the 1840s. Long-term soil fertility experiments were conducted on potato between 1876 and 1901 in Rothamsted to investigate effects of combinations of organic manures and mineral fertilizers on disease and yield (Gilbert, J.H. 1888). This report identifies for the first time the same Ia mtDNA haplotype of Phytopthora infestans in three diseased tubers from 1877 from the long-term Rothamsted trials, thus providing the earliest evidence of the presence of the founder Ia mtDNA haplotype of P. infestans in potato tubers in England. Soil amendments had a significant impact on disease and yield. The level of pathogen DNA was greatest in tubers from highest yielding plots that received combinations of inorganic nitrogenous and mineral fertilizers and least in tubers from plots with organic farmyard manures or non-nitrogenous mineral fertilizers. The same strain of P. infestans had survived between the 1840s and the 1870s between seasons on the potato tubers. Ristiano, J.B., Hu, C.H. & Fitt, B.D.L.. (2012) "Evidence for the presence of the founder Ia mtDNA haplotype of Phytopthora infestans in 19th century potato tubers from the Rothamsted archives", Plant Pathology, 62, (3), 492-500. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3059.2012.02680.x .

As reported by the BBC, Rothamsted scientists study 170-year-old potatoes: "Hertfordshire scientists have studied 170-year-old potatoes to learn lessons from the 19th Century Irish famine"

Relationship between blight diseased tubers and yield 1876-1901
Sample archive
Harvested potato tubers (dried & ground) from the Hoosfield experiment, labelled good, small, bad or diseased

Future secrets to be unlocked....

There is a wealth of possibilities for future uses for this vast unique collection to help us tackle climate changes, responses to changing atmospheric inputs, evolution of pest & disease genes in response to pesticides and inputs and other aspects not yet considered. The importance of this resource cannot be over-stated.

We welcome proposals for their study as part of our objectives for the RLTE-NBRI. To discuss access to the RSA, please contact one of the RLTE-NBRI team, such as the project lead, the technician, or the e-RA data curators (see below). Access to the RSA is ultimately managed through Rothamsted’s Sample and Measurement Request system, itself managed by the Farm and Field Experiments Committee (FFEC), ideally via a Rothamsted Collaborator. Further details of this and an online request / expression of interest form are available here:

For further information, contact:

Dr Andy Gregory, RLTE Project Manager, andy.gregory@rothamsted.ac.uk

Ms. Emily Greene, Sample Archive Technician, emily.greene@rothamsted.ac.uk

The e-RA Curators Dr Sarah Perryman & Dr Margaret Glendining, era@rothamsted.ac.uk

 

Rothamsted Research Sample Archive web site

Summary of Classical Experiment samples held in Sample Archive, 2023

Park Grass hay samples 1930s-1950s
Broadbalk wheat grain samples
Modern soil samples
Post war tins
Fertilizer samples
Non-herbicide plot section 8 Broadbalkp
Park Grass hay samples

Broadbalk

  • Broadbalk wheat grain 1844 - 2022
  • Broadbalk wheat straw 1844 - 1866, 1869 - 1870, 1872, 1874, 1875, 1877 - 1879, 1887, 1890 -1892, 1894 - 2022
  • Broadbalk soil 1846, 1855, 1856, 1865, 1868, 1869, 1876, 1877, 1881, 1887, 1890, 1893, 1895 - 1897, 1899, 1901, 1904, 1914, 1929, 1933, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1943, 1944, 1956, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1987 - 1994, 1996 - 2022 (not all plots are sampled every year)
  • Broadbalk stones 1944
  • Broadbalk chalk and lime 1944 - 1947, 1964
  • Broadbalk FYM 1958 - 1972, 1975, 1980, 1997, 2000 - 2019
  • Broadbalk bean grain 1968 - 1978, 2018 - 2022
  • Broadbalk bean straw 1968 - 1970, 1972 - 1975, 1977 - 1978, 2018 - 2022
  • Broadbalk potato tubers 1968 - 1996
  • Broadbalk weeds 1980, 1981, 1983 - 1985, 1991 - 1993, 1998 - 2000, 2003 - 2007, 2012 - 2014, 2017 - 2021
  • Broadbalk oat grain 1996 - 2008, 2012 - 2020
  • Broadbalk oat straw 1996 - 2004, 2006 - 2008, 2012 - 2021
  • Broadbalk forage maize 1997 - 2017

Park Grass

  • Park Grass Herbage 1856 - 2022
  • Park Grass Soil 1870, 1876 1878, 1882, 1885, 1886, 1904 1906, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1923 1926, 1939, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1966 1972, 1974 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1991 1995, 1997 - 1999, 2002, 2004 2006, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2020 (not all plots are sampled every year)
  • Park Grass lime/chalk 1955, 1959, 1963, 1964, 1976, 1990, 1994, 1997, 2005, 2009, 2012, 2021
  • Park Grass FYM 1961, 1965, 1969, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013, 2017
  • Park Grass Fish Meal 1967, 1971, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1994, 1995
  • Park Grass poultry manure 2003, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2015

Hoosfield Spring Barley

  • Hoosfield spring barley grain 1852 - 1911, 1913 - 1932, 1934 - 1942, 1944 - 1952, 1954 - 1966, 1968 - 1981, 1986, 1992, 1998 - 2022 (fallow years in 1912, 1933, 1943 and 1967)
  • Hoosfield spring barley straw 1852, 1853, 1855 - 1865, 1868 - 1870, 1877, 1878, 1882, 1888 - 1911, 1913 - 1928, 1930 - 1932, 1934 - 1942, 1944 - 1952, 1954 - 1966, 1968 - 1981, 1986, 1998 - 2022 (fallow years in 1912, 1933, 1943 and 1967)
  • Hoosfield soil 1856, 1868, 1882, 1889, 1897, 1898, 1901, 1903 - 1905, 1913, 1920, 1927, 1930, 1946, 1954, 1965, 1966, 1975, 1986, 1988, 2000, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2018, 2019 (not all plots are sampled every year)
  • Hoosfield FYM 1958 - 1972, 1974 - 1975, 1980, 1987, 1999 - 2019
  • Hoosfield potato tuber 1968 - 1978
  • Hoosfield bean grain 1968 - 1978

Hoosfield Exhaustion Land

  • Exhaustion Land wheat grain 1854 - 1870, 1873, 1874, 1921, 1935, 1937, 1988, 1992 - 1997, 1998 - 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 - 2021
  • Exhaustion Land wheat straw 1998 - 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 - 2021
  • Exhaustion Land soil 1856, 1903 - 1904, 1951- 1953, 1957, 1958, 1965, 1968, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 - 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021 (not all plots are sampled every year)
  • Exhaustion Land potatoes 1876 - 1889, 1891 - 1896, 1899, 1901
  • Exhaustion Land barley grain 1902 - 1903, 1905 - 1911, 1913, 1914, 1916 - 1919, 1922, 1949 - 1966, 1968 - 1974, 1976, 1981 - 1991 (fallow in 1920, 1967 and 1975)
  • Exhaustion Land barley straw 1902 - 1903, 1905 - 1911, 1913, 1914, 1916 - 1918, 1949 - 1966, 1968 - 1974, 1976 - 1981 (fallow in 1920, 1967 and 1975)
  • Exhaustion Land oat grain 1904, 1912, 1915
  • Exhaustion Land oat straw 1904, 1912, 1915
  • Exhaustion Land clover 1910, 1911

* Potatoes grown 1876-1901 prior to set up of Exhaustion Land experiment, called 'Hoosfield potatoes' on bottles in Sample Archive

Garden Clover

  • Garden Clover soil 1854, 1857, 1868, 1874, 1879, 1896, 1967, 1972, 1975, 1978, 1983, 1996, 2011, 2013, 2019
  • Garden Clover herbage 1862 - 1864, 1866 - 1869, 1871 - 1876, 1878 - 1882, 1884 - 1891, 1894, 1902, 1904 - 1923, 1925 - 1940, 1942 - 1964, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1972, 1977, 1981 - 1985, 1987 - 2018, 2020 - 2021

More Rothamsted Classical & LTE samples include:

Acid Strip, Agdell, Amounts of Straw, Alternate Wheat and Fallow, Barnfield, Broadbalk & Geescroft Wilderness soils, Fosters Ley Arable, Highfield Ley Arable, Highfield Bare Fallow soil, Long-Term Liming, Long-Term Straw Incorporation.

From Woburn:

Including the following experiments - Amounts of Straw, Continuous Maize, Continuous Barley & Wheat, Green Manuring, Intensive Cereals, Ley Arable, Long-Term Liming, Sewage Sludge Trials and the Organic Manuring experiment.

Note. This list is not exhaustive, there are more samples and from these and other experiments. For a more comprehensive list contact the team below.

Using the samples. Access to these samples will be in collaboration with a Rothamsted Research scientist. Please complete the Sample Request Form as an initail expression of interest. Applications go through the Farm & Field Experiment Committee (FFEC) and this process is completed by a Rothamsted Research collaborator.

For further information, contact:

Dr Andy Gregory, RLTE Project Manager, andy.gregory@rothamsted.ac.uk

Ms. Emily Greene, Sample Archive Technician, emily.greene@rothamsted.ac.uk

The e-RA Curators Dr Sarah Perryman & Dr Margaret Glendining, era@rothamsted.ac.uk

Garden Clover crop sample 1913
Hoosfield Soil Samples 1898
Post-War household food tin containing Park Grass hay 1945
Post war tins
Woburn-Stackyard Green-Manuring-Expt-1936 soil sample
Non-herbicide plot section 8 Broadbalkp
World soil collection 1920s-1950s

Link Sample Archive page on Rothamsted web site

Images

Key References

2024

  • Cusworth, S.J. , Davies, W.J. , McAinsh, M.R. , Gregory, A.S. , Storkey, J. and Stevens, C.J.(2024) "Agricultural fertilisers contribute substantially to microplastic concentrations in UK soils", Communications Earth & Environment, 5, 7
    DOI: 10.1038/s43247-023-01172-y

2022

  • Bergh, E.L. , Calderon, F.J. , Clemensen, A.K. , Durso, L. , Eberly, J.O. , Halvorson, J.J. , Jin, V.L. , Margenot, A.J. , Stewart, C.E. , Pelt, S.V. and Liebig, M.A.(2022) "Time in a bottle: Use of soil archives for understanding long-term soil change", Soil Science Society of America Journal, 86, 520-527
    DOI: 10.1002/saj2.20372

2021

  • Smith, A.C. , Pfahler, V. , Tamburini, F. , Blackwell, M.S.A. and Granger, S.J.(2021) "A review of phosphate oxygen isotope values in global bedrocks: Characterising a critical endmember to the soil phosphorus system", Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 184, 25-34
    DOI: 10.1002/jpln.202000513

2014

  • Hawkins, N.J. , Cools, H.J. , Sierotzki, H. , Shaw, M.W. , Knogge, W. , Kelly, S.L. , Kelly, D.E. and Fraaije, B.A.(2014) "Paralog Re-Emergence: A Novel, Historically Contingent Mechanism in the Evolution of Antimicrobial Resistance", Molecular Biology and Evolution, 31, 1793-1802
    DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msu134

2013

  • Ristaino, J. , Hu, C. and Fitt, B.D.L.(2013) "Evidence for presence of the founder Ia mtDNA haplotype of Phytophthora infestans in 19th century potato tubers from the Rothamsted archives", Plant Pathology, 62, 492-500
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3059.2012.02680.x

2012

  • Guntzer, F. , Keller, C. , Poulton, P.R. , McGrath, S.P. and Meunier, J.-D.(2012) "Long-term removal of wheat straw decreases soil amorphous silica at Broadbalk, Rothamsted. ", Plant and Soil, 352, 173-184
    DOI: 10.1007/s11104-011-0987-4

2009

  • Tzeneva, V.A. , Salles, J.F. , Naumova, N. , de Vos, W.A. , Kuikman, P.J. , Dolfing, J. and Smidt, H.(2009) "Effect of soil sample preservation, compared to the effect of other environmental variables, on bacterial and eukaryotic diversity", Research in Microbiology, 160, 89-98
    DOI: 10.1016/j.resmic.2008.12.001

2008

  • Shaw, M.W. , Bearchell, S.J. , Fitt, B.D.L. and Fraaije, B.A.(2008) "Long-term relationships between environment and abundance in wheat of Phaeosphaeria nodorum and Mycosphaerella graminicola", New Phytologist, 177, 229-238
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2007.02236.x
  • Fan, M.-S. , Zhao, F.-J. , Fairweather-Tait, S.J. , Poulton, P.R. , Dunham, S.J. and McGrath, S.P.(2008) "Evidence of decreasing mineral density in wheat grain over the last 160 years", Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 22, 315-324
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2008.07.002

2005

  • Bearchell, S.J. , Fraaije, B.A. , Shaw, M.W. and Fitt, B.D.L.(2005) "Wheat archive links long-term fungal pathogen population dynamics to air pollution", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102, 5438-5442
    DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0501596102

2002

  • Warneke, T. , Croudace, I.W. , Warwick, P.E. and Taylor, R.N.(2002) "A new ground-level fallout record of uranium and plutonium isotopes for northern temperate latitudes", Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 203, 1047-1057
    DOI: 10.1016/S0012-821X(02)00930-5

1998

  • Zhao, F.J. , Spiro, B. , Poulton, P.R. and McGrath, S.P.(1998) "Use of sulfur isotope ratios to determine anthropogenic sulfur signals in a grassland ecosystem", Environmental Science and Technology, 32, 2288-2291

1990

  • Jenkinson, D.S.(1990) "The turnover of organic carbon and nitrogen in soil", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 329, 361-368
    DOI: 10.1098/rstb.1990.0177

1987

  • Jones, K.C. , Symon, C.J. and Johnston, A.E.(1987) "Retrospective analysis of an archived soil collection. II. Cadmium", Science of the Total Environment, 67, 75-89
    DOI: 10.1016/0048-9697(87)90067-2
  • Jones, K.C. , Symon, C.J. and Johnston, A.E.(1987) "Retrospective analysis of an archived soil collection. I. Metals", Science of the Total Environment, 61, 131-144
    DOI: 10.1016/0048-9697(87)90363-9

1888

  • Gilbert, J.H.(1888) "Results of experiments at Rothamsted, on the growth of potatoes, for twelve years in succession on the same land", Agricultural Students' Gazette, New Series, 4, 29-73 (Series 1/78)
    https://archive.org/details/cu31924002868952
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For further information and assistance, please contact the e-RA curators, Sarah Perryman and Margaret Glendining using the e-RA email address: era@rothamsted.ac.uk