Plants and animals

…In which Paul realises not quite all of nature is out to get him…..

The majority of the harvest is done. It’s been a while coming, and there’s still 20 or so juvenile plants left in soil, but the majority of the plants I’m going to be looking at have been snipped, bagged, washed, filtered, sealed or acidified, depending on which sample from where in the plant I’m talking about. 

Just a few of the many, many plants

Just a few of the many, many plants

The process, agreed between my supervisor and I over a couple of drinks, involved…..

Chopping the top off the plant, tipping it out onto a tray, pulling the (incredibly delicate) roots out of the soil, sampling the soil (then sampling the soily water), washing the roots, (then sampling the washing water) soaking the roots (then sampling the soaking water) then bagging the roots.

This showed me two things.

1. I’m not the most delicate of people when it comes to hair-like roots.

2. It’s actually quite easy to take 12 samples from each plant for different forms of analysing. 

Potbound much?

Potbound much?

The other thing I realised was the roots of the genus Acacia smell like rancid beansprouts. That’s going to make the next Chinese meal I have entertaining.

On the bright side, I now have a large number of samples (stored in about 15 different fridges across Perth) to work with. Which is lucky, because tomorrow I’m working out how I’m going to be using the Microwave AES- an instrument which uses microwaves to create a plasma, which can then be spectroscopically analysed for elemental analysis. Hooray!

And now, the much less mentally stimulating Australian wildlife that has failed to kill me (so far!)

On that note, that’s all I have. Stay tuned for more adventures in upside-down-ness. (if that wasn’t a word it is now!)