The storage of soil samples for PLFA analysis can lead to shifts in the microbial community composition. We show here that conserving samples in RNAlater, which is already widely used to store samples for DNA and RNA analysis, proved to be as sufficient as freezing at -20 °C and preferable over storage at 4 °C for temperate mountain grassland soil. The total amount of extracted PLFAs was not changed by any storage treatment. Storage at 4 °C led to an alteration of seven out of thirty individual biomarkers, while freezing and storage in RNAlater caused changes in the amount of fungal biomarkers but had no effect on any other microbial group. We therefore suggest that RNAlater could be used to preserve soil samples for PLFA analysis when immediate extraction or freezing of samples is not possible, for example during sampling campaigns in remote areas or during transport and shipping. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Schnecker, J., Wild, B., Fuchslueger, L., & Richter, A. (2012). A field method to store samples from temperate mountain grassland soils for analysis of phospholipid fatty acids. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 51, 81–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2012.03.029