Storage of samples

The environmental baseline set by the OPE requires the withdrawal and storage of numerous environmental samples. 43 representative matrices have been identified, and have been the subject of study since 2007. Each sample is registered in a database and linked to a georeference point and its analytical data.

The OPE stores samples that are particularly representative of the agricultural food chain and bioindicators:

  • the forest ecosystem
  • the agricultural system: meadows and crops
  • allotment produce
  • the aquatic ecosystem.

Each year, a certain number of samples are taken based on the type of matrix and analysis carried out. The number of samples taken must also be enough to enable other analyses to be conducted at a later stage. An annual sampling programme is planned for each matrix, which takes into account the way in which it will be stored (dry at +18°C, in deep-freeze at -80°C or in a cryogenic tank at -150°C), the sites where the samples will be taken from, and the frequency and size of the samples.

All of these samples will be preserved for at one hundred years in an Environmental Specimen Bank called Ecotheque, which is a building specially designed for this purpose. Until the Ecotheque has been completed, OPE samples will be stored by ANDRA at the underground laboratory in Bure (Meuse).

Plant samples

Approximately 230 kg of plant samples are taken and stored each year in the OPE area.

List of plant samples taken in the OPE area
FamilyMatrixStorage modeSamples
No. sitesNo. samples/siteFrequency/yr
Meadow Grass Dry 5 1 1
Grass Cryogenic 5 1 1
Field crops Wheat Dry 10 1 1
Rapeseed Dry 10 1 1
Winter barley Dry 10 1 1
Maize Dry 7 1 1
Spring barley Dry 5 1 1
Garden Potatoes Cryogenic 2 1 1
Cabbage/lettuce Cryogenic 2 1 1
Radish/beet Cryogenic 2 1 1
Courgette/beans Cryogenic 2 1 1
Orchard Apples/pears Cryogenic 2 1 1
Cherries Cryogenic 2 1 1
Plum/mirabelle plum Cryogenic 2 1 1
Apiculture Honey Deep-freeze 4 1 1
Forests Moss Cryogenic 2 1 1
Mushrooms Cryogenic 2 1 1
Beech leaf Cryogenic 2 1 1
Conifers Cryogenic 2 1 1
Wood Cryogenic 2 1 1
Aquatic Bryophytes Cryogenic 5 1 1

Animal products

Approximately 540 kg of animal samples are taken and stored each year in the OPE area.

List of animal samples taken in the OPE area
FamilyMatrixStorage modeSamples
No. sitesNo. samples/siteFrequency/yr
Farm Milk Deep-freeze 2 1 2
Cheese Cryogenic 2 1 2
Eggs Cryogenic 2 1 2
Cows Muscle Cryogenic 1 2 2
Liver Cryogenic 1 2 2
Rabbits/Poultry Muscle Cryogenic 1 2 2
Liver Cryogenic 1 2 2
Game Boars Muscle Cryogenic 1 2 2
Bones Deep-freeze 1 2 2
Liver Cryogenic 1 2 2
Roe deer Muscle Cryogenic 1 2 2
Bones Deep-freeze 1 2 2
Liver Cryogenic 1 2 2
Aquatic Crayfish Cryogenic 1 1 2
Softwater mussels Cryogenic 2 1 2
Fish Cryogenic 4 1 2
Insects Bees/Others Dry 4 1 2
Soil organisms Springtails Dry 23 3 2
Earthworms Cryogenic 25 3 2

Soil samples

Approximately 550 kg of soil samples are taken and stored each year in the OPE area.

List of soil samples taken in the OPE area
FamilyMatrix originStorage modeSamples
No. sitesNo. samples/siteFrequency/yr
Soil Quality Network Composite Dry 25 2 2
Soil pit Dry 10 3 2
Composite Cryogenic 25 2 2
Soil pit Cryogenic 10 3 2
Composite Deep-freeze 25 2 2
Soil pit Deep-freeze 10 3 2
Biogeochemistry stations Forests Dry 9 2 5
Farm systems Dry 9 2 5
Forests Cryogenic 9 2 5
Farm systems Cryogenic 6 2 5
Forests Deep-freeze 9 2 5
Farm systems Deep-freeze 9 2 5
Aquatic Sediments Dry 5 5 1
Sediments Cryogenic 5 5 1
Sediments Deep-freeze 5 5 1

Aquatic samples

Approximately 60 litres of water samples are taken and stored each year in the OPE area.

List of aquatic samples taken in the OPE area
Family

Matrix origin

Storage modeSamples
No. sitesNo. samples/siteFrequency/yr
Observation network Permanent ESU station Deep-freeze 5 3 1
Temporary ESU station Deep-freeze 6 2 1
Piezometer ESO Deep-freeze 7 3 1
Atmospheric observatory ICOS (rainwater) Deep-freeze 1 4 1
Flux tower Forest (rainwater) Deep-freeze 1 4 1
Farm system (rainwater) Deep-freeze 1 4 1

Air

The filters used at the ICOS atmospheric observatory are preserved to determine air quality.

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