- Researchers, please check the more elaborate scientific protocol
Stepwise method description
- Take one unused Lipton Green tea bag (EAN 87 10908 90359 5 or the old product number, EAN 87 22700 05552 5).
- Take one Rooibos tea bag (EAN 87 22700 18843 8).
- You can bury more replicates in each location. In this way, you will get a better estimate.
- For availability of the tea click here.
- Our method can test the effect of different environmental variables. So you can do an experiment yourself. For instance, bury one set of tea bags at a very wet and another set at a very dry location. Or compare a forest, grassland and cropland.
- Mark the tea bags on the white side of the label with a permanent black marker.
- Optional: Measure the weight of the tea bag. Take a scale with at least two digits (0.01). Three digits is better.
- Pharmacies or jewelers usually have such precise scales. Or buy one online.
- Bury both teabags in separate, 8 cm-deep holes, ca 15 cm apart. Keep the labels visible above the soil.
- Mark the burial site with a stick.
- Write down the date, shading of the soil (1-5, from none to completely), impact by humans (1-5, no impact to completely impacted), vegetation type and other experimental conditions of the site (In downloads you find a form that lists all the assets).
- Recover the tea bags after approximately 90 days.
- The incubation time does not have to be exactly 3 months. In tropical climates it can be shorter (e.g. 60 days). Always write down when your experiment started and ended.
- Remove adhering soil particles and dry the tea bags
- e.g. in a stove for 48h at 70°C (not warmer!).
- e.g. above the heating or a sunny place for ca. 3 or 4 days.
- Do not use water to remove the soil particles, because that can cause extra loss of material from the bag.
- Remove what is left of the label but leave the string.
- Weigh the bags (0.01 or .001 g).
- Submit your data HERE.