We completed a major milestone Friday. We sent out 28 sample collection kits to vermicompost producers all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico. We are aiming to collect 240 samples (80 unique sample types) for DNA 16S RNA gene sequencing analysis to identify bacterial and fungal communities . These samples are mostly vermicompost, precompost, and manure. Around 87 vermicompost are being collected to be sent to Midwest Labs for their compost plus analysis.
What to expect
The kits will be sent in insulated styrofoam boxes.
You should first see a bag on top containing instructions, a questionnaire, and a return shipping label. Please fill out the questionnaire and return it in the ziplock bag. Save the return label for when you are ready to send the sample back.
Additionally, there will be a ziplock bag containing 3 Midwest Labs bags and 3 2ml tubes. Please fill all three bags with the same fresh vermicompost. Then, from each bag take a small scoop and fill up the corresponding tube that has the same number as the label on the bag.
Most of you will have other small bags with tubes for additional DNA samples. These
bags are labeled for the sample type. Each tube in each bag should be a replicate sample. We also provided some plastic scoopulas (slurpee straws) and gloves to prevent any contamination (protect the samples from you).
Lastly there will be two ice packs. Please freeze these along with the DNA samples the night before shipping. The Midwest test bags should be refrigerated overnight.
Now that the kits are out, I hope to posting more information about the DNA sequencing analysis as well as talk about some research being done in the soil health field. Please let me know if you have any questions!