Assessment of bias associated with incomplete extraction of microbial DNA from soil.
ABSTRACT: DNA extraction bias is a frequently cited but poorly understood limitation of molecular characterizations of environmental microbial communities. To assess the bias of a commonly used soil DNA extraction kit, we varied the cell lysis protocol and conducted multiple extractions on subsamples of clay, sand, and organic soils. DNA, as well as bacterial and fungal ribosomal gene copies as measured by quantitative PCR, continued to be isolated in successive extractions. When terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism was used, a significant shift in community composition due to extraction bias was detected for bacteria but not for fungi. Pyrosequencing indicated that the relative abundances of sequences from rarely cultivated groups such as Acidobacteria, Gemmatimonades, and Verrucomicrobia were higher in the first extraction than in the sixth but that the reverse was true for Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria. This suggests that the well-known phylum-level bacterial cultivation bias may be partially exaggerated by DNA extraction bias. We conclude that bias can be adequately reduced in many situations by pooling three successive extractions, and additional measures should be considered when divergent soil types are compared or when comprehensive community analysis is necessary.
Project description:Currently, characterization of soil microbial communities relies heavily on the use of molecular approaches. Independently of the approach used, soil DNA extraction is a crucial step, and success of downstream procedures will depend on how well DNA extraction was performed. Often, studies describing and comparing soil microbial communities are based on a single DNA extraction, which may not lead to a representative recovery of DNA from all organisms present in the soil. The use of successive DNA extractions might improve soil microbial characterization, but the benefit of this approach has only been limitedly studied. To determine whether successive DNA extractions of the same soil sample would lead to different observations in terms of microbial abundance and community composition, we performed three successive extractions, with two widely used commercial kits, on a range of clay and sandy soils. Successive extractions increased DNA yield considerably (1-374%), as well as total bacterial and fungal abundances in most of the soil samples. Analysis of the 16S and 18S ribosomal RNA genes using 454-pyrosequencing, revealed that microbial community composition (taxonomic groups) observed in the successive DNA extractions were similar. However, successive DNA extractions did reveal several additional microbial groups. For some soil samples, shifts in microbial community composition were observed, mainly due to shifts in relative abundance of a number of microbial groups. Our results highlight that performing successive DNA extractions optimize DNA yield, and can lead to a better picture of overall community composition.
Project description:In many of the DNA-based stable-isotope probing (SIP) studies published to date in which soil communities were investigated, a single DNA extraction was performed on the soil sample, usually using a commercial DNA extraction kit, prior to recovering the (13)C-labeled (heavy) DNA by density-gradient ultracentrifugation. Recent evidence suggests, however, that a single extraction of a soil sample may not lead to representative recovery of DNA from all of the organisms in the sample. To determine whether multiple DNA extractions would affect the DNA yield, the eubacterial 16S rRNA gene copy number, or the identification of anthracene-degrading bacteria, we performed seven successive DNA extractions on the same aliquot of contaminated soil either untreated or enriched with [U-(13)C]anthracene. Multiple extractions were necessary to maximize the DNA yield and 16S rRNA gene copy number from both untreated and anthracene-enriched soil samples. Sequences within the order Sphingomonadales, but unrelated to any previously described genus, dominated the 16S rRNA gene clone libraries derived from (13)C-enriched DNA and were designated "anthracene group 1." Sequences clustering with Variovorax spp., which were also highly represented, and sequences related to the genus Pigmentiphaga were newly associated with anthracene degradation. The bacterial groups collectively identified across all seven extracts were all recovered in the first extract, although quantitative PCR analysis of SIP-identified groups revealed quantitative differences in extraction patterns. These results suggest that performing multiple DNA extractions on soil samples improves the extractable DNA yield and the number of quantifiable eubacterial 16S rRNA gene copies but have little qualitative effect on the identification of the bacterial groups associated with the degradation of a given carbon source by SIP.
Project description:Bias is a pervasive problem when characterizing microbial communities. An important source is the difference in lysis efficiencies of different populations, which vary depending on the extraction protocol used. To avoid such biases impacting comparisons between gene and transcript abundances in the environment, the use of one protocol that simultaneously extracts both types of nucleic acids from microbial community samples has gained popularity. However, knowledge regarding tradeoffs to combined nucleic acid extraction protocols is limited, particularly regarding yield and biases in the observed community composition. Here, we evaluated a commercially available protocol for simultaneous extraction of DNA and RNA, which we adapted for freshwater microbial community samples that were collected on filters. DNA and RNA yields were comparable to other commonly used, but independent DNA and RNA extraction protocols. RNA protection agents benefited RNA quality, but decreased DNA yields significantly. Choice of extraction protocol influenced the perceived bacterial community composition, with strong method-dependent biases observed for specific phyla such as the Verrucomicrobia. The combined DNA/RNA extraction protocol detected significantly higher levels of Verrucomicrobia than the other protocols, and those higher numbers were confirmed by microscopic analysis. Use of RNA protection agents as well as independent sequencing runs caused a significant shift in community composition as well, albeit smaller than the shift caused by using different extraction protocols. Despite methodological biases, sample origin was the strongest determinant of community composition. However, when the abundance of specific phylogenetic groups is of interest, researchers need to be aware of the biases their methods introduce. This is particularly relevant if different methods are used for DNA and RNA extraction, in addition to using RNA protection agents only for RNA samples.
Project description:High-throughput amplicon sequencing technology has been widely used in soil microbiome studies. Here, we estimated the bias of amplicon sequencing data affected by DNA extraction methods in a saline soil, and a non-saline normal soil was used as a control. Compared with the normal soil, several unique points were observed in the saline soil. The soil washing pretreatment can improve not only DNA quantity and quality but also microbial diversities in the saline soil; therefore, we recommend the soil washing pretreatment for saline soils especially hypersaline soils that cannot be achieved with detectable DNA amounts without the pretreatment. Also, evenness indices were more easily affected by DNA extraction methods than richness indices in the saline soil. Moreover, proportions of Gram-positive bacteria had significant positive correlations with the achieved microbial diversities within replicates of the saline soil. Though DNA extraction methods can bias the microbial diversity or community and relative abundances of some phyla/classes can vary by a factor of more than five, soil types were still the most important factor of the whole community. We confirmed good comparability in the whole community, but more attention should be paid when concentrating on an exact diversity value or the exact relative abundance of a certain taxon. Our study can provide references for the DNA extraction from saline and non-saline soils and comparing sequencing data across studies who may employ different DNA extraction methods.
Project description:We examined the effect of different soil sample sizes obtained from an agricultural field, under a single cropping system uniform in soil properties and aboveground crop responses, on bacterial and fungal community structure and microbial diversity indices. DNA extracted from soil sample sizes of 0.25, 1, 5, and 10 g using MoBIO kits and from 10 and 100 g sizes using a bead-beating method (SARDI) were used as templates for high-throughput sequencing of 16S and 28S rRNA gene amplicons for bacteria and fungi, respectively, on the Illumina MiSeq and Roche 454 platforms. Sample size significantly affected overall bacterial and fungal community structure, replicate dispersion and the number of operational taxonomic units (OTUs) retrieved. Richness, evenness and diversity were also significantly affected. The largest diversity estimates were always associated with the 10 g MoBIO extractions with a corresponding reduction in replicate dispersion. For the fungal data, smaller MoBIO extractions identified more unclassified Eukaryota incertae sedis and unclassified glomeromycota while the SARDI method retrieved more abundant OTUs containing unclassified Pleosporales and the fungal genera Alternaria and Cercophora. Overall, these findings indicate that a 10 g soil DNA extraction is most suitable for both soil bacterial and fungal communities for retrieving optimal diversity while still capturing rarer taxa in concert with decreasing replicate variation.
Project description:Shotgun metagenomic sequencing does not depend on gene-targeted primers or PCR amplification; thus, it is not affected by primer bias or chimeras. However, searching rRNA genes from large shotgun Illumina data sets is computationally expensive, and no approach exists for unsupervised community analysis of small-subunit (SSU) rRNA gene fragments retrieved from shotgun data. We present a pipeline, SSUsearch, to achieve the faster identification of short-subunit rRNA gene fragments and enabled unsupervised community analysis with shotgun data. It also includes classification and copy number correction, and the output can be used by traditional amplicon analysis platforms. Shotgun metagenome data using this pipeline yielded higher diversity estimates than amplicon data but retained the grouping of samples in ordination analyses. We applied this pipeline to soil samples with paired shotgun and amplicon data and confirmed bias against Verrucomicrobia in a commonly used V6-V8 primer set, as well as discovering likely bias against Actinobacteria and for Verrucomicrobia in a commonly used V4 primer set. This pipeline can utilize all variable regions in SSU rRNA and also can be applied to large-subunit (LSU) rRNA genes for confirmation of community structure. The pipeline can scale to handle large amounts of soil metagenomic data (5 Gb memory and 5 central processing unit hours to process 38 Gb [1 lane] of trimmed Illumina HiSeq2500 data) and is freely available at https://github.com/dib-lab/SSUsearch under a BSD license.
Project description:Soil microbial communities contain the highest level of prokaryotic diversity of any environment, and metagenomic approaches involving the extraction of DNA from soil can improve our access to these communities. Most analyses of soil biodiversity and function assume that the DNA extracted represents the microbial community in the soil, but subsequent interpretations are limited by the DNA recovered from the soil. Unfortunately, extraction methods do not provide a uniform and unbiased subsample of metagenomic DNA, and as a consequence, accurate species distributions cannot be determined. Moreover, any bias will propagate errors in estimations of overall microbial diversity and may exclude some microbial classes from study and exploitation. To improve metagenomic approaches, investigate DNA extraction biases, and provide tools for assessing the relative abundances of different groups, we explored the biodiversity of the accessible community DNA by fractioning the metagenomic DNA as a function of (i) vertical soil sampling, (ii) density gradients (cell separation), (iii) cell lysis stringency, and (iv) DNA fragment size distribution. Each fraction had a unique genetic diversity, with different predominant and rare species (based on ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis [RISA] fingerprinting and phylochips). All fractions contributed to the number of bacterial groups uncovered in the metagenome, thus increasing the DNA pool for further applications. Indeed, we were able to access a more genetically diverse proportion of the metagenome (a gain of more than 80% compared to the best single extraction method), limit the predominance of a few genomes, and increase the species richness per sequencing effort. This work stresses the difference between extracted DNA pools and the currently inaccessible complete soil metagenome.
Project description:Soil DNA extraction encounters numerous challenges that can affect both yield and purity of the recovered DNA. Clay particles lead to reduced DNA extraction efficiency, and PCR inhibitors from the soil matrix can negatively affect downstream analyses when applying DNA sequencing. Further, these effects impede molecular analysis of bacterial community compositions in lower biomass samples, as often observed in deeper soil layers. Many studies avoid these complications by using indirect DNA extraction with prior separation of the cells from the matrix, but such methods introduce other biases that influence the resulting microbial community composition. To address these issues, a direct DNA extraction method was applied in combination with the use of a commercial product, the G2 DNA/RNA Enhancer, marketed as being capable of improving the amount of DNA recovered after the lysis step. The results showed that application of G2 increased DNA yields from the studied clayey soils from layers from 1.00 to 2.20 m. Importantly, the use of G2 did not introduce bias, as it did not result in any significant differences in the biodiversity of the bacterial community measured in terms of alpha and beta diversity and taxonomical composition. Finally, this study considered a set of customised lysing tubes for evaluating possible influences on the DNA yield. Tubes customization included different bead sizes and amounts, along with lysing tubes coming from two suppliers. Results showed that the lysing tubes with mixed beads allowed greater DNA recovery compared to the use of either 0.1 or 1.4 mm beads, irrespective of the tube supplier. These outcomes may help to improve commercial products in DNA/RNA extraction kits, besides raising awareness about the optimal choice of additives, offering opportunities for acquiring a better understanding of topics such as vertical microbial characterisation and environmental DNA recovery in low biomass samples.
Project description:DNA metabarcoding can contribute to improving cost?effectiveness and accuracy of biological assessments of aquatic ecosystems, but significant optimization and standardization efforts are still required to mainstream its application into biomonitoring programmes. In assessments based on freshwater macroinvertebrates, a key challenge is that DNA is often extracted from cleaned, sorted and homogenized bulk samples, which is time?consuming and may be incompatible with sample preservation requirements of regulatory agencies. Here, we optimize and evaluate metabarcoding procedures based on DNA recovered from 96% ethanol used to preserve field samples and thus including potential PCR inhibitors and nontarget organisms. We sampled macroinvertebrates at five sites and subsampled the preservative ethanol at 1 to 14 days thereafter. DNA was extracted using column?based enzymatic (TISSUE) or mechanic (SOIL) protocols, or with a new magnetic?based enzymatic protocol (BEAD), and a 313?bp COI fragment was amplified. Metabarcoding detected at least 200 macroinvertebrate taxa, including most taxa detected through morphology and for which there was a reference barcode. Better results were obtained with BEAD than SOIL or TISSUE, and with subsamples taken 7–14 than 1–7 days after sampling, in terms of DNA concentration and integrity, taxa diversity and matching between metabarcoding and morphology. Most variation in community composition was explained by differences among sites, with small but significant contributions of subsampling day and extraction method, and negligible contributions of extraction and PCR replication. Our methods enhance reliability of preservative ethanol as a potential source of DNA for macroinvertebrate metabarcoding, with a strong potential application in freshwater biomonitoring.
Project description:DNA metabarcoding can contribute to improving cost-effectiveness and accuracy of biological assessments of aquatic ecosystems, but significant optimization and standardization efforts are still required to mainstream its application into biomonitoring programmes. In assessments based on freshwater macroinvertebrates, a key challenge is that DNA is often extracted from cleaned, sorted and homogenized bulk samples, which is time-consuming and may be incompatible with sample preservation requirements of regulatory agencies. Here, we optimize and evaluate metabarcoding procedures based on DNA recovered from 96% ethanol used to preserve field samples and thus including potential PCR inhibitors and nontarget organisms. We sampled macroinvertebrates at five sites and subsampled the preservative ethanol at 1 to 14 days thereafter. DNA was extracted using column-based enzymatic (TISSUE) or mechanic (SOIL) protocols, or with a new magnetic-based enzymatic protocol (BEAD), and a 313-bp COI fragment was amplified. Metabarcoding detected at least 200 macroinvertebrate taxa, including most taxa detected through morphology and for which there was a reference barcode. Better results were obtained with BEAD than SOIL or TISSUE, and with subsamples taken 7-14 than 1-7 days after sampling, in terms of DNA concentration and integrity, taxa diversity and matching between metabarcoding and morphology. Most variation in community composition was explained by differences among sites, with small but significant contributions of subsampling day and extraction method, and negligible contributions of extraction and PCR replication. Our methods enhance reliability of preservative ethanol as a potential source of DNA for macroinvertebrate metabarcoding, with a strong potential application in freshwater biomonitoring.