A colleague of ours here at Agritech is running some interesting experiments with turf. Without going into too much detail, mostly because I don’t know said details, she is measuring the acoustics of arthropods living underground. This research involves using portable microcosms containing turfgrass, soil, and varying species of arthropods. This proved to be an excellent opportunity to extract volatiles to study in conjunction with our colleague’s findings.

Two of the various means by which we collect volatiles are perfect for mapping the chemical ecology of these microcosms. For chemicals being released into the headspace, we use a PVC cap to create a defined area from which we can pull molecules onto an adsorption filter. The same principle can be used below the surface, only using a probe, rather than a chamber. Having both readings (above and below ground) to compare and contrast, can provide valuable insight into the chemistry at play.

SKC pump with probe

SKC Pocket Pump with soil probe

SKC pump with cap

SKC Pocket Pump with PVC cap

Collections were made at both 250mL and 500mL for 15 and 30 minutes respectively. Using these data and the data collected by our colleague, we hope to better understand the chemical cues to provide an effective, targeted approach to handling these organisms.

Turf-Box Collection Setup

Turf-box collection setup