SAMPLING PROTOCOL

GLOBAL SOIL KIT – COLD STORAGE

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USING THE KIT

KIT CONTENTS

1x pair of nitrile gloves

1 x corer with plunger

1 x barcoded snap lock bag

1 x specimen safety bag

1 x disinfectant wipe

YOU WILL NEED

  • Smartphone/GPS device

  • Permanent marker

  • Rubber mallet

  • Cool box/bag with ice packs (for sampling)

  • Trowel (optional)

  • 1 x cool box for transportation of samples (this can be provided upon request)

PRE-SAMPLING

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN SAMPLING SOILS:

A composite sample consisting of multiple subsample cores is recommended to obtain better representation of the soil community. A minimum of 4 x 10 mL subsamples (approx. 40g) is required per sample, but more subsamples will improve representativeness of the diversity. The number of subsamples to be collected should be decided prior to sampling and kept consistent across all samples.

Use a new kit for each new sample. This kit is designed to take one composite sample consisting of multiple subsample cores.

Avoid contamination issues by not sampling directly underfoot; DNA from your footwear may transfer from previously visited areas. Gloves should be changed between each composite sample/kit. If a mallet or any other reusable tools are used, they should be decontaminated with the provided disinfectant wipe between each composite sample. Gloves should be worn when handling the disinfectant wipe.

Use corer with caution in gravelly or rocky soils. Corers will break with hard contact on stones or rocks. In these conditions, it is best to push the core in slowly; gentle taps with the mallet to drive the corer into the soils will allow you to feel hard obstructions. Alternatively, a metal corer may be a better option if such conditions are widespread across your site.

Corer may not achieve suction in waterlogged or dry, coarse soil. If soil core won’t come up with the corer, push the core to the desired depth then carefully lever the corer and its core out of the ground with a trowel.

PROTOCOL

1. Define your intended sampling area and mark out if necessary.

2. Using a permanent marker, label the clear snap lock sample bag containing the syringe with your unique sample ID.

3. Put on provided gloves to minimise cross contamination and introducing your own DNA into the sample. Use the provided disinfectant wipe to wipe down mallet or trowel if used.

4. Remove the syringe corer from the bag and keep hold of the bag because your sample will go into this.

5.Remove debris or litter from the surface where you intend to collect the core. This can be done with a gloved hand. If there is vegetation growing at the surface, gently push aside to minimise the amount captured by the corer.

6. Remove the plunger from the syringe and push the core tube into the soil while twisting until the core is pushed in up to the 10 mL mark. It is recommended to use a rubber mallet to gently tap the corer into the ground to minimise pressure on your hand. If the core will not push in all the way, remove and clear the core then try again in a different spot nearby. If soils are too hard and dry for coring, you can use a trowel or spade to break up the soil first. If soil core won’t come up with the corer, push the core to the desired depth then carefully lever the corer and its core out of the ground with a trowel.

7. Insert the plunger into the core to provide suction then pull the core out of the ground.

8. Position the syringe over your labelled snap lock bag and push the plunger all the way down to expel the entire core into the bag. Seal or fold over the top of the bag between subsamples to prevent contamination of the sample

9. Repeat steps 5-8 at different locations within the sample area, using the same syringe, until you have collected the required number of subsamples.

10. When all the subsamples have been collected in the bag, mix the cores together within the bag to homogenise. This can be done by “massaging” the outside of the bag with your hands and some careful shaking. Break up clumps of soil between your fingers.

11. Once homogenised, push/shake the sample to the bottom of the bag, roll the bag around the sample to expel excess air from the bag, and then seal.

12. If using the Nature Metrics sampling app to record sample information in the field, scan the barcode on the sample bag to fill in the information for that sample. If you are not using the app, be sure to make notes of sample name, coordinates, and other relevant details while in the field. Prior to sample return you will also need to complete the sample manifest, provided via email, with all of your sample information. A copy of the completed sample manifest should be printed and included with the samples, as well as being emailed to: lab@naturemetrics.co.uk. Please make sure that the unique sample IDs entered into the app and sample manifest exactly match what you have written on the sample bag.

13. Sample bags should be placed in a cool box/bag with ice packs while in the field. It is recommended that samples are frozen prior to shipping to prolong the time for which they will stay cool during transport. If freezing is not possible, courier collection should be arranged as soon as possible, with samples kept refrigerated prior to packing.

14. It is important that these samples are packed and shipped in accordance with our Global Soils Packing and Transport Instructions to ensure clearance through UK customs. Each sample bag will need to be sealed within a safety specimen bag prior to shipping. Further instructions on how to use these bags are contained in that document and a demonstration video is available here.

Disclaimer: Safe sample collection is the responsibility of the Client. NatureMetrics accepts no liability associated with the use of the kits and sample collection. The Client is solely responsible for the quality of the samples and the representativeness of the samples received by NatureMetrics. The information contained within the Final Report provided by NatureMetrics to the Client is not intended to be advisory, it is informational. Interpretation and decisions are the sole responsibility of the Client. NatureMetrics does not accept any liability whatsoever for any reliance placed on any information contained within, or any use that may be made of, the Final Report by the Client. Please read the full limitation of liability statement in the Terms and Conditions.

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