Partnering opportunity

Magnetic method for estimation of soil erosion and re-distribution


A Bulgarian research institute has developed an innovative magnetic method for estimation of soil erosion and redistribution. The new methodology proposed overcomes the limitations and drawbacks of the conventional techniques and complements them.The research team is looking for commercial agreement with technical assistance, services agreement or research cooperation agreement.

Partner sought

Type of partner sought: interested stakeholders, both SMEs and large companies, non-governmental organisations and research organisations; - Specific area of activity of the partner: industrial partners or R&D organisation involved in the field of soil erosion and redistribution or innovative magnetic methods for estimation; - Task to be performed: the institute is looking for commercial agreement with technical assistance, services agreement or research cooperation agreement with in order to introduce in practice, validate and commercialise the magnetic proxy method for assessment of soil erosion.


The research unit is the leading organisation in Bulgaria in the R&D of environmental magnetism with highly qualified and internationally recognised team. It conducts pioneering research in the application of magnetic methods for evaluation of soil pollution. The institute has broad experience in international collaboration and project implementation. Land degradation caused by soil erosion is a serious threat because it reduces soil fertility and productivity. The proposed methodology represents an innovative approach for soil erosion estimates and cost-effective tool in precision agriculture, utilising the well-established regularities of depth changes in soil magnetic properties.Well aerated and drained soils are characterised by an increase in the concentration of strongly magnetic minerals, which cause the so called pedogenic magnetic enhancement. This phenomenon is strongly depth-dependent, which is utilised for estimation of the thickness of the original non-disturbed soil removed from a given location due to the action of erosional factors – water, wind, tillage, combination of factors, etc. One of the advantages of the proposed magnetic methodology with respect to the available tools and methods in erosion studies (137Cs isotopes; magnetic tracers, empirical models such as Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation-RUSLE) is that it is strongly site- and scale-specific; uses the natural soil magnetic signal, which takes into account the effects of mechanical grain size fractionation, and the inherent relationship between soil clay fraction and pedogenic magnetic minerals. In addition, there is no restriction in the temporal integration of the signal, which is one of the drawbacks of radionuclide methods for erosion estimates. The new approach is a combination of in situ field measurements of magnetic susceptibility of the area under investigation, and following laboratory magnetic measurements of samples, gathered along depth of non-disturbed natural soil profile and topsoil samples from a defined scheme decided from the evaluation of the field data. The instrumentation for field measurements is compact, mobile and easily connected with positioning systems (GPS). The design of the methodology allows for precise estimation of local (point) soil non-homogeneities, as well as adjustment of lateral discrimination according to the specific needs of the user. The major requirement is to establish close contact between mineral soil surface and the field sensor. On-site field measurements are fast (around 2 min per grid point) and can be performed by minimum two up to several persons as far as the available instruments are carefully inter-calibrated. Special care is taken for the choice of location for sampling natural non-disturbed soil profile. In case of more complicated topography, additional soil cores may be necessary to sample. The following step in the methodology consists of laboratory magnetic measurements of sampled soil profiles and topsoils. The latter is relatively more laborious and time consuming, as far as it includes determination of a number of magnetic characteristics, related to different grain size fractions and mineral components. The research team is looking for technological cooperation with interested stakeholders, private SMEs, non-governmental organisations and other interested parties under commercial agreements with technical assistance and services agreements or through research cooperation agreements in order to introduce in practice, validate and commercialise the magnetic method for estimation of soil erosion and re-distribution.

Advantages and innovations

- Fast non-destructive field measurements - Allows cost-effective high resolution mapping of soil cover - Sensitive and precise detection of changes in soil thickness caused by erosion - Does not require lab sample preparation and use of toxic chemicals, which makes it a “green technology”

Development stage

Available for demonstration

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Secret Know-how

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