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How to Submit a Sample

How to Submit a Sample

Sample submission forms

The relevant signed sample submission form must be included (in a separate bag if sample is damp); failure to send a sample submission form may result in a delay of your sample being tested and make diagnosis more difficult.

To help us process your samples in the most efficient way please fill in as much information as possible on the relevant form below. Please ensure you provide your email address, 'Your Ref', 'Purchase order no' and 'Name and Address for Invoice' in the sections where applicable.

Giving full details of the sample and the problem will assist with our assessment and diagnosis of the problem.

Results can be sent to you via SamTrack, email, fax or post. Please specify your preference on sample submission form.

Problems viewing our submission forms? Update to the latest version of Adobe Reader via the Adobe website.

Where to send your samples

Postal address:

Plant Clinic
Fera Science Ltd. (Fera)
National Agri-Food Innovation Campus
Sand Hutton
YO41 1LZ
United Kingdom

Plant Clinic contact details:

Customer helpline: +44 (0)300 100 0322

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Pricing and payment

When we receive your sample we will send you an invoice, which will confirm your order.

Our full price list is available as a download: Plant Clinic Price List (PDF 312KB)

For terms and conditions, please visit the Fera Terms and Conditions page.

Turnaround time

We aim to get back to you within 5 working days of receiving your sample giving initial findings and a timescale for completion of the work or a final report.

Preparing your sample

  • To help us offer the best possible service we need the best possible sample. Try to send a sample that is representative of the problem - we need to see the full range of symptoms
  • For diseases, try to include the boundary between healthy and diseased tissue and where possible, include healthy material for comparison marked as such
  • If symptoms on leaves or shoots show general discoloration or dieback, suggesting possible root damage, then please send us a whole plant (where possible) and include the roots and surrounding soil
  • If you suspect the problem is due to nematodes, please include separate soil samples from both the unaffected area and the edge of the affected area

How to package your sample

Whole plants Enclose moist root ball in a plastic bag sealed around the plant stem. Place the whole plant in a second plastic bag, inflate slightly and seal.
Leaves and shoots  
Virus diagnosis: Place in a plastic bag, inflate slightly and seal.
Other/unknown diagnosis: Wrap sample in slightly moist absorbent paper, place in a plastic bag, inflate slightly and seal.
Fleshy items For example: fruit, vegetables, tubers (except potatoes), bulbs, corms, etc. Wrap in dry, absorbent paper, if rotting/breaking down please wrap individually. Place in a plastic bag, inflate slightly and seal.
Invertebrate pests Samples of invertebrate pests (insects, spiders, mites etc.) should be put in a sealed shatter proof container.
Potato tubers  
Invertebrate diagnosis: Wrap in dry, absorbent paper. Place in a plastic bag, inflate slightly and seal.
Other/unknown diagnosis: Wrap in dry, absorbent paper. Do not place in a plastic bag.
Soil samples For nematode analysis. Place about 500g of soil in a strong plastic bag and seal, soil sampling protocol available on request. Please email

All samples should be put in a strong envelope or cardboard box with your submission form and packed securely.

Ideally, samples should be dispatched by either express courier service or first-class post to arrive at Fera next day. Try to avoid sending samples over the weekend or a bank holiday. All samples should be put in a strong cardboard box and packed securely with screwed up paper.

Sending samples for plant pest and disease testing from outside the UK

When sending plant pathogens and invertebrates from outside England and Wales, and soil/other growing media from outside the European Union* for testing please include the relevant Fera Letter of Authority (as issued by Fera Plant Clinic) to ensure your samples are not delayed upon entry to the UK. This covers material to be sent for diagnosis of plant pests and pathogens.

Fera hold plant health licenses which (for the purposes above) allow us to:

  • import, move and keep prohibited plant pathogens
  • import, move and keep prohibited invertebrates
  • import, move and keep prohibited soil and other organic material

As the customer, you are responsible for paying any customs duties or excise duties that may be raised by UK Customs when sending samples to Fera for testing. If this charge is passed to Fera on your behalf we reserve the right to charge this cost back to you and this may be invoiced separately from your testing charges. We therefore recommend that, where possible, packages should be marked with zero or a nominal monetary value and samples be labelled 'No commercial value - to be destroyed after scientific testing'.

For a copy of the Plant or Soil licence please contact us on +44 (0)300 100 0322 or email

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For an invertebrates licence please contact us on +44 (0)300 100 0322 or email

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General import conditions for ALL licensed materials

  • All samples must be safely packaged in at least three layers of containment (one of which must be unbreakable) to prevent accidental release. Ridge containers are recommended rather than other types of packaging as material can be easily damaged
  • Any material obtained under the terms of the licence must be sent directly to Fera's Plant Clinic (Plant Health licensed containment facilities) at York and not via any other institute
  • The relevant current LoA, in conjunction with the 'authenticated list of materials' must accompany all packages - these change annually so always ensure you use the correct version available on this website
  • The LoA and accompanying documents must be placed on the outside of the package, it is also advisable to include copies with the package in case these become detached in transit
  • Box 1 must be completed by the exporter. Box 13 must be completed by the relevant National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) if the material is coming from another EU member state. This box does not need to be completed from material coming from third countries
  • The accompanying documents must state what the contents of the consignments are
  • Any material not meeting these requirements will either be re-exported or destroyed by the PHSI upon arrival in England and Wales
  • Further information be found in the Plant Health Guide for Importers

If in doubt or if you wish to send any other types of plant pest and disease material for research purposes, or pure cultures, please contact us directly on +44(0)1904 462324 or email:

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*Soil and growing medium consisting in whole or in part of soil or solid organic substances such as parts of plants, humus including peat or bark, except that composed entirely of peat. Prohibited from Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and non-EU countries not belonging to continental Europe (other than Egypt, Israel, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia). A copy of the licence does not need to accompany the samples only the LoA and the 'authenticated list of material' which can be imported (see box 8 of the LoA).

Not all plants for research from outside England and Wales need a licence to be imported - e.g. plants accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. Preserved specimens - If you are sending preserved specimens and the material is biologically inert a licence is NOT required. However, you will need to provide proof of this as it may still be inspected at customs.

Plant Clinic services

Use the following link for information on the pest and disease identification services we offer through our Plant Clinic.

Plant Clinic Price List 2016/7

Download the latest brochure here Plant Clinic Price List 2016/7 brochure

  • Specific Tests - Bacterial, Virus, Nematodes, GM, Mixed, Pest & Fungal
  • Bespoke Consultancy Service - personal approach designed for you
  • Extensive range of experts & suite of data insight online tools
  • Coming Soon - New Online Portal you can book in your samples at a time that suits you for a faster, more convenient experience
  • CHANGES - our invoicing process is changing from 1 Feb 2017. When we receive your sample we will send you an invoice, which will confirm your order

Advice on submitting a sample

Information on packaging your sample, completion of forms, and sending samples from outside the UK.

Sample submission

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