Welcome to the Bell Group Website
Welcome to the Bell group, an environmental research lab located in the School of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. Our research employs a range of analytical techniques with the aim of understanding the composition of Natural Organic Matter (NOM) in organic rich soils, especially peatlands.
Bell Group Research
Unlocking the secrets of natural organic matter
Natural Organic Matter is a vast pool of carbon-based molecules found in soil, aquatic and atmospheric systems. NOM plays a crucial role in many biogeochemical processes from determining the fate of contaminants such as heavy metals to carbon storage. However despite their ubiquitous nature and importance, the molecular signature of NOM remains elusive. This is mainly due to the fact that NOM is a complex mixture of thousands of molecules that cannot be separated by means of chromatography. Thus in addition to holistic methodologies, we need to use reductionist approaches when studying NOM in order to understand its many functions. The most promising tools for this task are high resolution liquid state NMR, solid state NMR and ultra high resolution mass spectrometry. In the Bell research group we use the latest methodologies and develop new experiments to unravel the composition of NOM. Our main focus currently is on NOM found in organic rich soils, especially peatlands. Find out more.