Stepwise protocol

    Researchers, please check the more elaborate scientific protocol

Stepwise method description

  1. Take one unused Lipton Green tea bag (EAN 87 10908 90359 5 or the old product number, EAN 87 22700 05552 5).
  2. Take one Rooibos tea bag (EAN 87 22700 18843 8).

    Tip:

    1. You can bury more replicates in each location. In this way, you will get a better estimate.
    2. For availability of the tea click here.
    3. 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.
    4. Mark the tea bags on the white side of the label with a permanent black marker.
  3. Optional: Measure the weight of the tea bag. Take a scale with at least two digits (0.01). Three digits is better.

    Tip:

    1. Pharmacies or jewelers usually have such precise scales. Or buy one online.
  4. Bury both teabags in separate, 8 cm-deep holes, ca 15 cm apart. Keep the labels visible above the soil.

    Tip:

    1. Mark the burial site with a stick.
    2. 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).
  5. Recover the tea bags after approximately 90 days.

    Tip:

    1. 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.
  6. Remove adhering soil particles and dry the tea bags

    Tip:

    1. e.g. in a stove for 48h at 70°C (not warmer!).
    2. e.g. above the heating or a sunny place for ca. 3 or 4 days.
    3. Do not use water to remove the soil particles, because that can cause extra loss of material from the bag.
  7. Remove what is left of the label but leave the string.
  8. Weigh the bags (0.01 or .001 g).
  9. Submit your data HERE.