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National Research Council

Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystems

The IRET-Pisa research activities focus on understanding the soil-plant system and its ecosystem services in the frame of the global change and the dramatic increase of urban areas. This research provides the scientific knowledge necessary to identify the best strategies for i) sustainable management of the environmental resources, ii) mitigation of the anthropic impacts

on terrestrial ecosystems, iii) protection and recovery of soil, sediment and substrate quality according to nature based solutions.

Historically, IRET-Pisa descends from the Institute for Soil Chemistry of CNR, dating back to the 70s.

IRET-Pisa is located in the CNR Research Campus in Pisa, where it occupies a total area of about 1000 sq. m., utilized as offices, chemical and instrumental laboratories. A greenhouse of 120 sq. m. is also present.

Soil physics and microstructure lab
The lab is equipped to evaluate structure of soils, sediments and materials, in terms of texture, density, total porosity, pore shape and size, particles and aggregates distribution, structural stability, hydrologic properties.
The lab instrumentation includes:
Mercury intrusion porosimeter equipped with macropore unit, laser particle-size analyzer, image analyzer, Richard plates, penetrometers, wet sieving equipment, laser profilometer.

Micro-elements and heavy metals lab
The lab is equipped to investigate the microelement contents and their translocation in soils and plants, and the accumulation and bioavailability of heavy metals and other inorganic contaminants.
The lab instrumentation includes:
Microwave sample preparation system, UV spectrophotometers, AA spectrometer coupled to a hydride generation system, ICP-OES spectrometer coupled to a hydride generation system, automatic Mercury analyzer.

Biochemistry lab
The lab is equipped to study the soil metabolic activity by means of enzymatic tests and extraction of total and extracellular proteins, for assessing the biological quality and fertility of natural and anthropized soils. The evaluation of biochemical properties can be applied to other environmental matrices, such as dredged sediments, sewage sludge, compost, to understand the modifications of their biochemical functionality.
The lab instrumentation includes:
UV spectrophotometer, fluorometer, protein electrophoresis equipment, isoelectric focusing system, densitometer.