SAMPLING PROTOCOL

SOILS AND SEDIMENTS – WITH PRESERVATION BUFFER

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USING THE KIT

KIT CONTENTS

1x pair of nitrile gloves

1 x corer with plunger

1 x barcoded 125 mL sample pot

1 x 50 mL tube of “RNA preservation buffer”

1 x sampling datasheet

YOU WILL NEED

  • Smartphone/GPS device

  • Permanent marker

  • Pen

  • Rubber mallet (for soils)

  • Trowel (optional, for hard dry soil)

  • Bleach wipes or 10% bleach solution (if you will be reusing any of your own equipment)

PRE-SAMPLING

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN SAMPLING SOILS/SEDIMENTS:

A composite sample consisting of multiple subsample cores is recommended to obtain better representation of the soil/sediment community. To ensure the correct ratio of buffer to soil/sediment, do not fill the sample pot more than halfway with soil/sediment.

Use a new kit for each new sample. This kit is designed to take one composite sample consisting of multiple subsample cores. The barcodes on the sample pot and the sampling datasheet within each kit match, please do not mix and match between kits.

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 bleach wipes or 10% bleach solution between each composite sample.

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.

Corer may not achieve suction in coarse or gravelly sediment. After pushing the corer to the desired depth try angling the corer to near horizontal before pulling up. Alternatively, a scoop could be used instead of the corer.

Use of chemicals. The provided preservation buffer is non-hazardous and has no special storage or shipping requirements. Gloves should be worn when handling. If product is splashed on skin or in eyes then the affected area should be rinsed with water. See provided Safety Data Sheet for further details.

PROTOCOL

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

2. Using a permanent marker, label the sample pot with your unique sample ID.

3. Put on provided gloves to minimise cross contamination and introducing your own DNA into the sample.

4. Remove the syringe corer from the bag. Do not dispose of this bag because your sample pot will go into this later.

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 or sediment while twisting until the core is pushed in up to the 10 mL mark. In soils it is recommended to use a rubber mallet to gently tap the corer into the ground to minimise pressure on your hand. If the corer will not push in all the way, remove and clear the corer then try again in a different spot nearby. If soils are too hard and dry for coring, you can use a trowel to break up the soil first.

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

8. Position the syringe over your labelled sample pot and push the plunger all the way down to expel the entire core into the pot. Replace the lid of the pot between subsamples to prevent contamination of the sample.

9. Repeat steps 5-8 at different locations within the sample area, using the same syringe, using the same corer, until you have collected a total of four subsample cores.

10. When all the subsamples have been collected in the sample pot, pour all of the preservation buffer into the sample pot. Firmly secure the lid on the sample pot and shake to mix the cores and preservation buffer together.

11. Place the sample pot into the plastic snap lock bag that originally held the syringe corer. Push out excess air then seal the bag. This is to contain any leakage of liquid during transit.

12. Complete the sampling datasheet and use the NatureMetrics sampling app to scan the barcode on the datasheet to complete your online submission. Please record your sampling data on paper and through the NatureMetrics sampling app so there is a physical and electronic copy of your data.

13. Place all the sampling datasheets together into a leftover plastic kit bag and package in a box with the sample pots. To minimise the chance of leakage, sample pots should be stored upright and packed in a way that allows for minimal movement of pots during sample transport. Prior to shipping, samples should be kept in the dark to prevent exposure to sunlight. Samples can be stored at room temperature, however, if they will be stored for more than two weeks prior to shipping it is recommended that they be stored in a freezer (cold chain transport to NatureMetrics is not necessary).

13. Return samples to NatureMetrics: ATTN: Soils and Sediments Team, Nature Metrics, 1 Occam Court, Surrey Research Park, Guildford, GU2 7HJ, United Kingdom.

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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