FAQ

What is the maximum interval between sampling the soil and testing?

If stored in a plastic bag so it can’t dry out, you can wait up to 72 hours.  If more time is needed, refrigerate the samples for up to a month.

Does the reagent powder have an expiration date?

Yes, the shelf life is 5 years.

Can I measure microbes in soil that has charcoal or biochar?

This had been tested and biochar can interfere in the microBIOMETER® test. Soil treated with biochar more than 6 months ago does not appear to be a problem, but the biochar in freshly treated biochar soils can lead to falsely high readings. 

Why am I getting “Lens is smudged” messages?

Your lens may be smudged. If you have a case on your phone, it might be a good idea to take the phone out in order to thoroughly clean the lens.  Or you’re trying to image a single test at a time on a 10-test card.  10-test cards should be imaged in their entirety.  

Do particles in the sample window affect the reading?

Yes.  When you draw up the microbes in the pipette, be careful not to get any of the floating debris at the top of the tube in the pipette.  

What is the maximum interval between whisking and placing the drops onto the sample window?

10 to 15 minutes is ideal.  Longer than that and your reading will start to decrease as eventually the microbes begin to settle to the bottom. 

What happens if the test card gets wet in the area around the sample window?

The app uses the areas surrounding the window to compensate for differences among phones and lighting conditions.  It’s best to wipe off any liquid on the calibrating grayscale surround. 

Can I write on the test card?

Yes, but be sure not to get too close to any of the printed lines and shapes surrounding the sample window.

Would microBIOMETER® work with a coco based medium mixed with petites and clay pellets?

If you use a coco based medium you need to ask us for the filter version of our soil test. The filter version contains a plunger that pushes any floating particles down and allows only microbes to rise to the top for sampling. 

If I left my microBIOMETER® in a cold shop for an extended period, are the kit products still good?

Yes, the cold temperatures will not effect your microBIOMETER® and supplies. They are perfectly fine to use. 

Can I use microBIOMETER® to check the volume of microbes in my compost tea?

Yes, you can. Instead of adding water to the reagent solution you would add the compost tea, whisk for 30 seconds and let rest for 10 minutes. Since microbial biomass results are reported in micrograms to gram of soil, you will need to divide the number you get from the app by 20 to give you micrograms to milliliter of tea. microBIOMETER® is a great tool for comparing different teas as well as tracking the growth of microbes in the tea over time. 

Is it imperative that I use distilled water when using microBIOMETER®?

It is not imperative to use distilled water. We don’t discourage it, but it isn’t necessary. Using city water won't skew or invalidate the results. 

Is there any validation documentation available for your test?

Yes, please contact us.