Extruded Pipette for Picking Spores

Pipette over flames
Pipette Over Flames

Various methods can be used to manually collect spores following extraction from soil. Some researchers advocate special tweezers (where they are closed by default and open with applied pressure). These work fine for small samples, such as single spores. Others attach a pipette to tygon tubing and regulate pressure (or uptake of spores and water) with mouth and tongue. We routinely use 9-inch glass pipettes with the tips extruded to fine tips (for better control at picking up small spores). Tip size can be manipulated by the amount of extrusion. The hard part is learning to control the amount of negative pressure in the pipette with the pipette bulb. Proficiency just takes practice; we are able to collect 400-500 spores in 10-15 minutes.