U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Plant Nutrition, 30: 1441–1454, 2007. DOI: 10.1080/01904160701555291


Quantification of soil greenhouse gas emissions requires considerable sampling to account for spatial and/or temporal variation.With manual sampling, additional personnel are often not available to sample multiple sites within a narrow time interval. The objectives were to construct an automatic gas sampler and to compare the accuracy and precision of automatic versus manual sampling. The automatic sampler was tested with carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes that mimicked the range of CO2 fluxes during a typical corn-growing season in eastern Nebraska. Gas samples were drawn from the chamber at 0, 5, and 10 min manually and with the automatic sampler. The three samples drawn with the automatic sampler were transferred to pre-vacuumed vials after 1 h; thus the samples in syringe barrels stayed connected with the increasing CO2 concentration in the chamber. The automatic sampler sustains accuracy and precision in greenhouse gas sampling while improving time efficiency and reducing labor stress.