You are viewing a NatureMetrics Sampling Protocol Document. Go back to main site.


For use in UK and EU
(Click here for protocol for use outside of UK and EU)

  • All kit users must familiarize themselves with data requirements set out in the Sample Manifest, prior to sampling.
  • Please ensure all information sent to NatureMetrics is in English.
  • Datasheets must be completed using a pencil (please do not use a pen or biro).
  • Kits should be used within one year.

Return to view all protocols

Kit Contents

1x pair of nitrile gloves

1x pair of nitrile gloves

1 x corer with plunger

1 x corer with plunger

1 x corer with plunger

1 x barcoded 125 mL sample pot

1 x barcoded 125 mL sample pot

1 x 50 mL tube of “RNA preservation buffer”

1 x sampling datasheet

1 x sampling datasheet

1 x disinfectant wipe

1 x disinfectant wipe

Vampire Pump

This can be hired from NatureMetrics.
vampire pump pump head (A)

1 x pump head (A)

vampire pump drive unit

1 x drive unit (B)


  • Device to capture GPS coordinates (lat / long) (e.g. GPS capable smartphone or standalone GPS device)
  • Permanent marker (for labelling the sample pots)
  • Pencil (to complete the datasheet)
  • Rubber mallet (to help take the core samples – if the ground is hard)
  • Trowel / small hand shovel (optional)



To obtain a better representation of the soil community, it is important to combine four subsamples into one composite sample. Each core, as extracted by a 10mL corer, represents a single subsample. Thus, 4 x 10mL subsamples (approximately 40g in total) will comprise a full sample. We cannot accept samples larger than 50g – do not exceed x4 soil cores per sample


  • One soil sample = x4 full cores (the corer in the kit is used to collect each core).

Use a new kit for each new sample. This kit is designed to take one composite sample (not exceeding 50g) 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. Only open one kit at a time. Gloves should be changed between each composite sample/kit. Avoid sampling directly underfoot; DNA from your footwear may transfer from previously visited areas. 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 soil or coarse, gravelly soil. If 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 substrate with a clean trowel.

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.

More than one person using the kit? Please purchase extra gloves.
To minimize waste we provide one pair of gloves per kit. If two or more people will be handling the contents of the kit and collecting an eDNA sample, you will need to purchase additional pairs of gloves – enough for one pair of gloves for each individual handling the kit. We recommend purchasing medical-grade nitrile gloves.


Avoiding Inconclusive Results:

To get the best results possible, to avoid inconclusive results, and to avoid situations where data cannot be reported from a sample, please read our HOW TO AVOID INCONCLUSIVE RESULTS guide before undertaking fieldwork.

In summary, when inconclusive results occur, it is because the target DNA was not detected, DNA was degraded, or PCR (a crucial part of the lab process) was inhibited.

Key steps you can take to help avoid inconclusive results: do not leave your samples exposed to sunlight or heat, and return samples to NatureMetrics as soon as possible after sampling.

Avoiding contamination:

To increase confidence in results, avoiding contamination of samples is highly important. Sealed kits are sterile until opened; do not open more than one kit bag at a time, keep kit contents inside the bag before use, and put on the provided gloves before touching other kit components. Whilst wearing gloves, avoid touching anything not necessary to sample collection to minimize introducing external DNA into the sample. Change gloves between each kit. If any reusable tools are used, these should be decontaminated, using a disinfectant wipe or a bleach solution, between each sample.


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 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 corer 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 clean 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 clean 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 corer over your labelled sample pot and push the plunger all the way down to expel the entire core into the pot. Try to avoid pushing the end of the plunger out the bottom of the corer tube. Replace the lid of the pot between collecting subsamples to prevent contamination of the sample.

9. Repeat steps 5-8 at different locations within the sample area, using the same corer, until you have collected four subsamples. x4 cores = x1 sample. Do not exceed four 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 corer. Push out excess air then seal the bag. This is to contain any leakage of liquid during transit.

12. Complete the sampling datasheet with a pencil (do not use pen as ink can easily run, to the point where it becomes unreadable).

Complete the sample manifest, which was attached to the email confirming shipping of your kits. Make sure that the unique sample IDs entered into the sample manifest exactly match what you have written on the sample pot. Please record your sampling data on paper and on the sample manifest so there is a physical and electronic copy of your data.

Upload your sample manifest using our Customer Service Desk.

13. Place all the sampling datasheets together into a leftover plastic kit bag and package in a box with the sample pots. To minimize 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).

14. For sample returns, visit our customer support desk here. Use the Logistics Request form to upload your completed sample manifest and book your sample return. NatureMetrics is fully compliant with current legislation on the transport of biological material and our operations team are on hand to ensure that all return shipments meet the required specification. We are only able to analyze samples that are returned using the correct NatureMetrics logistics procedure.

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.

Health & Safety information for this kit can be viewed here.

Cookie Consent

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.