Frequently Asked Questions
Read some of the questions we frequently get asked about our services below.
NatureMetrics has an online ordering system where you can get an account set up and place your orders. All you need to do is email email@example.com and request an account set up. We accept orders as early as 1-2 months before GCN survey season starts.
Would you take a purchase order number and invoice us for the work? Or do you want payment another way?
We usually invoice once the kits have been shipped, with 30-day payment terms.
qPCR (single species) standard service takes 10 working-days, fast service takes 5 working days, and super fast service takes 2 working days.
The cut-off point for an order to be placed to get next day delivery is 12pm.
One kit per pond is all that’s required as stated by Natural England ‘Use one kit per pond up to an area of 1 ha. Beyond this, use an additional kit per hectare’.
Natural England have stated GCN sampling should be taken from the 15th April to 30th June.
For GCN kits, collection is included in the full price and a member of our team will book the collection with our chosen courier, TNT. Once booked, a confirmation email will be sent to you from the courier including the label(s) to be attached to the side of the box(es). Alternatively, you can send them through normal postal channels (dangerous goods restrictions) to NatureMetrics Ltd, CABI Site, Bakeham Lane, Egham, Surrey, TW20 9TY. Please keep in mind that we do not collect on Fridays to avoid samples being held in a depo over the weekend in an uncontrolled environment.
When placing your orders, you will be asked to select a collection date and address. The collection will then be booked in nearer the date you selected and you shall receive an email confirmation from TNT our chosen courier service. Collection dates can be changed after your order has been placed so don't worry if you are unsure of the date you originally selected.
Before sampling the kit can be kept at room temperature and has a shelf life of 3 months. Once the sample has been taken the kit should be kept in cool conditions and away from direct sunlight, preferably a fridge or coolbox. The preservative is quite robust and in one instance a kit was left for 2 months after sampling before analysis and GCN was still detectable from the sample.
What results will I get back? A report of findings, raw data? Is it possible to reinterpret the raw in the future when more species have been barcoded?
NatureMetrics will send you a report that summarises the results and gives the relevant data in terms of the quality control tests and checks that have been carried out. We can also send you the species-by-sample table in Excel format. This will give taxonomic identification at multiple levels and tell you how many sequences each species was represented by in each sample. We can certainly re-run the taxonomic assignment against an updated reference database in the future.
Natural England guidelines state from 2018 that kits have a 3 month shelf life. Once sampling has been taken, samples can be kept in a fridge or at room temperature for a week before returning them back to NatureMetrics, but as soon as possible would be preferred. In one case during 2018 GCN season, a client left a sampled kit in a fridge for 7 weeks and the results still showed positive for the presents of Newts.
This could be due to several of the extracted DNAs were off colour when they should have been completely clear. This is indicative of samples full of sediment - this may be the water body itself or that the samples were taken from a sediment rich part of the whirlpak bag. Sediment filled samples typically contain within them inhibitory chemicals (dead plant matter, soil, etc.) that inhibit the assay. We perform DNA dilutions following the standard Natural England protocol, but sometimes this isn't enough to completely remove those inhibitors.
It is unlikely that this has been misidentified as another salmonid. It's the only Oncorhynchus that's likely to be seen in the UK.
The methods are very sensitive: for example it is not uncommon to detect fish from fishing bait, restaurant waste waters, bird catch/faeces. From a bioinformatics stand point we have a robust set of controls that we use to identify whether the analyses were contaminated, and in this case nothing out of the ordinary was detected.
eDNA typically hangs around for a few days, but has been known to last for weeks. The degradation of the DNA is slowest when it's cold, dark, or when the DNA is bound to sediment.
Bleach is the most widely used decontaminant, but the strength of the bleach is key. Ideally the minimum concentration should be 1.5% NaOCl and this should be rinsed for 1 minute and then rinsed with water and finally wiped off with 70% ethanol to remove all traces of bleach.
It’s entirely up to you how you’d like to use the kits, but most of the unused kits were ordered by the Lewes office so we directed the offer to you in the first place.
This is a possibility, and for our own peace of mind and yours we will certainly be repeating these analyses and seeing whether there has been a contamination somewhere. It's unusual though, as these samples were analysed on their own and passed all of our internal quality checks.
For this to happen a 0-kit order needs to be placed on our system with the new project code. Very simple, place a normal order but put 0 for kit number so you're not actually ordering any kits.
You do not need to book in any analysis slots before your samples are returned to our lab. NatureMetrics has a high capacity for samples and we are capable of