Soil Research Cluster Laboratory


The Soil Research Cluster Laboratory (SRCL), housed in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management (ESM), College of Agricultural Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University (PSU), is a multi-function, multi-user analytical laboratory that provides common and cutting edge analytical instrumentation in the areas of soil chemistry and biochemistry, soil fertility and nutrient cycling, soil physics, pedology, and hydropedology. The SRCL was established to provide students, faculty and staff access to instrumentation and equipment that may not be available in individual laboratories and that find common use by several research groups.  The SRCL analytical instruments and research methods and procedures are not limited to soil; they also have been employed in the analysis of plant and animal extracts and digests; water and waste water; biosolids; and geologic and synthetic materials.

Laboratory Oversight

Oversight of the Soil Research Cluster Laboratory is provided by the Department head. Dr. Ephraim Muchada Govere is the Director of the laboratory and is responsible for the strategic planning and daily operations of the laboratory. Dr. Govere also serves as the resource person and provides training and assistance to people seeking appropriate procedures for instrumental analysis and operation.

Mission Statement

The mission of the SRCL is to provide access to reliable, high quality, and efficient research analytical instrumentation for the measurement of physical, chemical, biochemical, pedological and hydropedological characteristics of soils. The SRCL is therefore designed primarily to serve faculty members, their graduate students, postdocs, technicians, and their research collaborators. Furthermore, the SRCL contributes to excellence in graduate and undergraduate teaching by providing students with hands-on learning experience and advanced training through identified instrumentation based courses. Its mission is to give our researchers the edge to accomplish their research objectives and to compete with international researchers.

Main Objectives

The Soil Research Cluster Laboratory (SRCL) is the only multi-function, multi-user analytical laboratory in the College of Agricultural Sciences and provides students, faculty and staff access to instrumentation and equipment that may not be available in individual laboratories and that find common use by several research groups. Unlike many laboratories that run routine methods of analysis, the SRCL provides the opportunity for faculty, research fellows, postdocs, laboratory technician and technologists, and graduate and undergraduate students to be guided in developing and testing novel methods suited to their research efforts. The main objectives of the SRCL include:

  • Providing centrally accessible instrumentation and equipment for chemical analyses of soils, water mixtures, biosolids, biological and detrital samples, and geologic materials in support of research.
  • Providing centrally accessible instrumentation and equipment for soil physical, pedological, and hydropedological analyses in support of research.
  • Building, preserving and upgrading the knowledge and skills required for the optimal operation and research capability of the SRCL by developing analytical procedures suited to individual research needs.
  • Teaching faculty, laboratory technicians, postdocs, research fellows and student researchers to apply analytical instrumentation, knowledge and skills most fruitfully.
  • Supporting teaching activities and encouraging classes to use current analytical equipment in the SRCL to obtain hands-on experience in soil, plant, water, and environmental analyses as well as in quality assurance and control procedures.
  • Ensure that efficient means exist for students, staff and faculty to produce timely, accurate, and validated analytical results.


The SRCL is located on the 4th floor of the Agricultural Sciences and Industries (ASI) Building, at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park campus. The analytical instruments are housed in 439 ASI, 470 ASI, 461 ASI and 430 ASI.


Hours of operation are 8 AM to 5 PM Monday to Friday except on University recognized holidays. ONLY with special permission from Dr. Govere should samples be run at other times.