Sample Submission

Please review this sample submission information before sending samples to the SIF.


Submitting Solid Samples to the UC Davis Stable Isotope Facility

  • Organize samples into a clean 96-well tray. Load samples across rows and fully populate each row.
  • Group samples of similar material together (for example, place all animal tissue samples in sequential cells).
  • Record tray information, including sample weights and empty wells. Each sample’s ID must be unique. Do not repeat sample ID names, including the name “empty” for empty wells. Instead, sequentially number your empty wells (i.e., empty1, empty2, empty3…).
  • Tray Names should be unique, especially for projects with multiple sample submissions over time. Use an indelible marker to label both the lid and bottom of tray with your name and the unique tray name, because ambiguous trays may be mishandled. Avoid naming your tray "Tray 1". Everyone has a Tray 1, and you may have multiple Tray 1s over the course of a year which may cause confusion with data sets. Be creative, we enjoy unique names!
  • For enriched samples, arrange samples from low to high enrichment to avoid wide fluctuations in isotope content. Place non-enriched control samples ahead of enriched samples within the same tray. Use separate trays for different enriched and natural abundance experiments.
  • Secure small samples by placing a silicone sealing mat, or an index card(s) (cut to size), over the open wells before securing the lid; do not use Parafilm or adhesive tape to cover the open wells as they are a souce of contaminant. Tape the lid securely closed on all four sides. Turn the tray over and gently shake to test if samples stay in the wells or if the capsules leak sample material. Re-encapsulate any leaky capsules before shipping.
  • Soil Permits are required for packages containing soil, forest litter, wood or plant compost, humus, and earthworm castings. Please request our Soil Permit if shipping international or restricted soils.


Samples in Glass Vials or Bottles to the UC Davis Stable Isotope Facility

  • Organize - Label each vial with a unique ID# as your data will reference your samples using these ID#s.
  • Group vials in ziplock bags, small boxes, or their original boxes. Vials larger than 20 mL ship best when separated by cardboard dividers. Loose vials can shatter during shipping.
  • Secure groups of vials in a larger sturdy box with styrofoam peanuts or bubble wrap.

Submit Paperwork with Your Samples

  • Analysis Order Form must accompany your shipment.
  • Complete a separate Analysis Order Form and Sample List for each type of analysis (e.g., C&N solid vs. O/H solid vs. gas samples) because your paperwork will go to different technicians.
  • Sample List must accompany your shipment.
  • Do not modify the Sample List structure. Deleting any columns or rows affects our ability to use your file.
  • Each sample’s ID must be unique. Results will be reported using the sample ID#.
  • Do not use any special characters (ie. ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) . / \ +) on the sample list. Only hypens ( - ) are acceptable. Maximum 20 characters per cell.
  • E-mail a copy of your Analysis Order Form and Sample List to to let us know the samples are on their way.
  • Save a copy of your forms.

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