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Solid-state NMR in biogeochemistry

Since the development of magic angle spinning and the subsequent rise of solid-state NMR, the technique has found its way into soil science and is now a well-established characterization method for soil organic matter. It can be used for a large variety of applications e.g. relaxation measurements, binding-induced peak shifts, H/D exchange, and structure resolution.

Equipments (both located in a radioactive control area):

  • 7.05 T Varian INOVATM Unity with an HX Apex probe for 6 mm rotors
  • 14.1 T Varian NMR system with an HX probe for 6 mm rotors


Recent publications:

Smith, M.; Conte, P.; Berns, A. E.; Thomson, J. R.; Cavagnaro, T. R.; Spatial patterns of, and environmental controls on, soil properties at a riparian-paddock interface, Soil Biol. Biochem. 2012, 49, 38-45.

De Pasquale, C.; Marsala, V.; Berns, A. E.; Valagussa, M.; Pozzi, A.; Alonzo, G.; Conte, P.; Fast field cycling NMR relaxometry characterization of biochars obtained from an industrial process, J. Soils Sediments 2012, DOI: 10.1007/s11368-012-0489-x.

Berns, A. E. & Conte, P.; Effect of ramp size and sample spinning speed on CPMAS 13C NMR spectra of soil organic matter, Org. Geochem. 2011, 42, 926-935.

Li, C.; Berns, A. E.; Schäffer, A.; Séquaris, J.-M.; Vereecken, H.; Ji, R.; Klumpp, E.; Effect of structural composition of humic acids on the sorption of a branched nonylphenol isomer, Chemosphere 2011, 84, 409-414.

Berns, A. E. & Conte, P.; Effect of RF field inhomogeneity and sample restriction on spectral resolution of CP/MAS-13C NMR spectra of natural organic matter, Open Magn. Res. J. 2010, 3, 75-83.

Singh, N.; Berns, A. E.; Hennecke, D.; Hörner, J.; Kördel, W.; Schäffer, A.; Effect of Soil Organic Matter Chemistry on Sorption of Trinitrotoluene and 2,4-Dinitrotoluene, J. Haz. Mat. 2010, 173, 343-348.

Berns, A. E.; Conte, P.; Philipp, H.; Witte, E. G.; Lewandowski, H.; Interactions between 2-aminobenzothiazole and natural organic matter as evidenced by CPMAS 15N-NMR spectroscopy, Vadose Zone J. 2009, 8, 670-676.

Conte, P. & Berns, A. E.; Dynamics of Cross Polarization in Solid State Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Experiments of Amorphous and Heterogeneous Natural Organic Substances, Anal. Sci. 2008, 24, 1183-1188.

Berns, A. E.; Philipp, H.; Narres, H.-D.; Burauel, P.; Vereecken, H.; Tappe, W.; Effect of γ-sterilization and autoclaving on soil organic matter structure as studied by solid state NMR, UV and fluorescence spectroscopy, Eur. J. Soil Sci. 2008, 59, 540-550.

Berns, A. E.; Bertmer, M.; Schäffer, A.; Meyer, R. J.; Vereecken, H.; Lewandowski, H.; The 15N-CPMAS spectra of simazine and its metabolites – measurements and quantum chemical calculations, Eur. J. Soil Sci. 2007, 58, 882-888.

Zheng, Z.; Berns, A. E.; Willbold, S.; Buitenhuis, J.; Synthesis of poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG)-grafted colloidal silica particles with improved stability in aqueous solvents, J. Coll. Interf. Sci. 2007, 310, 446-455.



Dr. Anne E. Berns
Phone: +49-2461-615656