You may have read my previous blog posts about the other 2 experiments that I have done this summer. Within them I have explained the experimental set up for my project in which there are Petri dishes, streaked with soil microbes, in a jar containing compost so that compost VOCs interact with the microbes and the interaction is recorded after a 5 to 7 day incubation period. This third and final experiment is much more of the same; however this round is about only whole community soil microbes (not spore enriched) that are extracted from three soil types from three different locations. (A big thank you to the Fierer lab for the access to samples from a north facing slope, an agricultural sample and a sample all the way from Panama that is currently being studied for other properties but had excess sample for me to utilize in my experiment.)
This experiment was decided on the basis of the first whole community test having a significant p-value (based on colony forming units cfus) comparing the microbes exposed to VOCs and the ones in the no compost control. It seems, in that individual experiment, there were more microbes influenced by VOCs than not influenced by VOCs. Hopefully this new data set, which I will record on Friday, will be able to confirm what was suggested in the first round of tests. Check back Monday for final results!