In situ sampling of small volumes of soil solution using modified micro-suction cups

Shen, Jianbo; Hoffland, E.


Two modified designs of micro-pore-water samplers were tested for their capacity to collect unbiased soil solution samples containing zinc and citrate. The samplers had either ceramic or polyethersulfone (PES) suction cups. Laboratory tests of the micro-samplers were conducted using (a) standard solutions with zinc and citrate concentrations that can be found in the rhizosphere and (b) two soils with contrasting texture. The results showed that both suction cups were inert with respect to citrate and zinc: they did not affect the concentrations of the two ions in freshly prepared and directly sampled standard solutions. Both micro-suction cups removed most microorganisms by filtration, though the PES cups were more effective in this respect. This filtering by the suction cups allowed for relatively accurate analysis of citrate in solutions containing microorganisms. These capacities, together with their small size and small dead volume, make the two micro-pore-water samplers highly suitable for sampling of rhizosphere soil solutions although further testing with other organic acids and trace metals may be needed.