Fixation filter, device for the rapid in situ preservation of particulate samples
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Niskin bottle rosettes have for years been the workhorse technology for collection of water samples used in biological and chemical oceanography. Studies of marine microbiology and biogeochemical cycling that aim to analyze labile organic molecules including messenger RNA, must take into account factors associated with sampling methodology that obscure an accurate picture of in situ activities/processes. With Niskin sampling, the large and often variable times between sample collection and preservation on deck of a ship, and the sometimes significant physico-chemical changes (e.g., changes in pressure, light, temperature, redox state, etc.) that water samples and organisms are exposed to, are likely to introduce artifacts. These concerns are likely more significant when working with phototrophs, deep-sea microbes, and/or organisms inhabiting low-oxygen or anoxic environments. We report here the development of a new technology for the in situ collection and chemical preservation of particulate microbial samples for a variety of downstream analyses depending on preservative choice by the user. The Fixation Filter Unit, version 3 (FF3) permits filtration of water sample through 47 mm diameter filters of the user’s choice and upon completion of filtration, chemically preserves the retained sample within 10’s of seconds. The stand-alone devices can be adapted to hydrocasting or mooring-based platforms. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.