Processing faecal samples: a step forward for standards in microbial community analysis.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The microbial community analysis of stools requires optimised and standardised protocols for their collection, homogenisation, microbial disruption and nucleic acid extraction. Here we examined whether different layers of the stool are equally representative of the microbiome. We also studied the effect of stool water content, which typically increases in diarrhoeic samples, and of a microbial disruption method on DNA integrity and, therefore, on providing an unbiased microbial composition analysis. RESULTS: We collected faecal samples from healthy subjects and performed microbial composition analysis by pyrosequencing the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. To examine the effect of stool structure, we compared the inner and outer layers of the samples (N?=?8). Both layers presented minor differences in microbial composition and abundance at the species level. These differences did not significantly bias the microbial community specific to an individual. To evaluate the effect of stool water content and bead-beating, we used various volumes of a water-based salt solution and beads of distinct weights before nucleic acid extraction (N?=?4). The different proportions of water did not affect the UniFrac-based clustering of samples from the same subject However, the use or omission of a bead-beating step produced different proportions of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and significant changes in the UniFrac-based clustering of the samples. CONCLUSION: The degree of hydration and homogenisation of faecal samples do not significantly alter their microbial community composition. However, the use of bead-beating is critical for the proper detection of Gram-positive bacteria such as Blautia and Bifidobacterium.
Project description:For the majority of intestinal parasites, real-time PCR-based diagnosis outperforms microscopy. However, the data for Trichuris trichiura have been less convincing and most comparative studies have been performed in populations with low prevalence. This study aims to improve detection of T. trichuria DNA in human stool by evaluating four sample preparation methods. Faecal samples (n = 60) were collected at Flores island, Indonesia and examined by microscopy. Aliquots were taken and a bead-beating procedure was used both on directly frozen stool and on material preserved with 96% ethanol. PCR on frozen samples showed 40% to be positive for T. trichiura, compared with 45% positive by microscopy. The percentage positive increased when using ethanol preservation (45·0%), bead-beating (51·7%) and a combination (55·0%) and all three methods showed significantly higher DNA loads. The various procedures had a less pronounced effect on the PCR results of nine other parasite targets tested. Most prevalent were Ascaris lumbricoides (?60%), Necator americanus (?60%), Dientamoeba fragilis (?50%) and Giardia lamblia (?12%). To validate the practicality of the procedure, bead-beating was applied in a population-based survey testing 910 stool samples. Findings confirmed bead-beating before DNA extraction to be a highly efficient procedure for the detection of T. trichiura DNA in stool.
Project description:Bead-beating within a DNA extraction protocol is critical for complete microbial cell lysis and accurate assessment of the abundance and composition of the microbiome. While the impact of bead-beating on the recovery of OTUs at the phylum and class level have been studied, its influence on species-level microbiome recovery is not clear. Recent advances in sequencing technology has allowed species-level resolution of the microbiome using full length 16S rRNA gene sequencing instead of smaller amplicons that only capture a few hypervariable regions of the gene. We sequenced the v3-v4 hypervariable region as well as the full length 16S rRNA gene in mouse and human stool samples and discovered major clusters of gut bacteria that exhibit different levels of sensitivity to bead-beating treatment. Full length 16S rRNA gene sequencing unraveled vast species diversity in the mouse and human gut microbiome and enabled characterization of several unclassified OTUs in amplicon data. Many species of major gut commensals such as Bacteroides, Lactobacillus, Blautia, Clostridium, Escherichia, Roseburia, Helicobacter, and Ruminococcus were identified. Interestingly, v3-v4 amplicon data classified about 50% of Ruminococcus reads as Ruminococcus gnavus species which showed maximum abundance in a 9 min beaten sample. However, the remaining 50% of reads could not be assigned to any species. Full length 16S rRNA gene sequencing data showed that the majority of the unclassified reads were Ruminococcus albus species which unlike R. gnavus showed maximum recovery in the unbeaten sample instead. Furthermore, we found that the Blautia hominis and Streptococcus parasanguinis species were differently sensitive to bead-beating treatment than the rest of the species in these genera. Thus, the present study demonstrates species level variations in sensitivity to bead-beating treatment that could only be resolved with full length 16S rRNA sequencing. This study identifies species of common gut commensals and potential pathogens that require minimum (0-1 min) or extensive (4-9 min) bead-beating for their maximal recovery.
Project description:Intense interest centers on the role of the human gut microbiome in health and disease, but optimal methods for analysis are still under development. Here we present a study of methods for surveying bacterial communities in human feces using 454/Roche pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA gene tags. We analyzed fecal samples from 10 individuals and compared methods for storage, DNA purification and sequence acquisition. To assess reproducibility, we compared samples one cm apart on a single stool specimen for each individual. To analyze storage methods, we compared 1) immediate freezing at -80 degrees C, 2) storage on ice for 24 or 3) 48 hours. For DNA purification methods, we tested three commercial kits and bead beating in hot phenol. Variations due to the different methodologies were compared to variation among individuals using two approaches--one based on presence-absence information for bacterial taxa (unweighted UniFrac) and the other taking into account their relative abundance (weighted UniFrac). In the unweighted analysis relatively little variation was associated with the different analytical procedures, and variation between individuals predominated. In the weighted analysis considerable variation was associated with the purification methods. Particularly notable was improved recovery of Firmicutes sequences using the hot phenol method. We also carried out surveys of the effects of different 454 sequencing methods (FLX versus Titanium) and amplification of different 16S rRNA variable gene segments. Based on our findings we present recommendations for protocols to collect, process and sequence bacterial 16S rDNA from fecal samples--some major points are 1) if feasible, bead-beating in hot phenol or use of the PSP kit improves recovery; 2) storage methods can be adjusted based on experimental convenience; 3) unweighted (presence-absence) comparisons are less affected by lysis method.
Project description:Canine faecal microbial populations and metabolome are being increasingly studied to understand the interplay between host and gut microbiome. However, the distribution of bacterial taxa and microbial metabolites throughout the canine stool is understudied and currently no guidelines for the collection, storage and preparation of canine faecal samples have been proposed. Here, we assessed the effects that different sampling points have on the abundance of selected microbial populations and bacterial metabolites within the canine stool. Whole fresh faecal samples were obtained from five healthy adult dogs. Stool subsamples were collected from the surface to the inner part and from three equally sized areas (cranial, central, caudal) along the length axis of the stool log. All samples were finally homogenised and compared before and after homogenisation. Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, <i>Clostridium</i> cluster I, <i>Lactobacillus</i> spp., <i>Bifidobacterium</i> spp. and <i>Enterococcus</i> spp. populations were analysed, as well as pH, ammonia and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) concentrations. Compared to the surface of the stool, inner subsamples resulted in greater concentrations of SCFA and ammonia, and lower pH values. qPCR assay of microbial taxa did not show any differences between subsamples. Homogenisation of faeces does not affect the variability of microbial and metabolome data. Although the distribution patterns of bacterial populations and metabolites are still unclear, we found that stool subsampling yielded contradictory result and biases that can affect the final outcome when investigating the canine microbiome. Complete homogenisation of the whole stool is therefore recommended.
Project description:This study aimed to assess standard and harsher nucleic acid extraction schemes for diagnostic helminth real-time PCR approaches from stool samples. A standard procedure for nucleic acid extraction from stool and a procedure including bead-beating as well as proteinase K digestion were compared with group-, genus-, and species-specific real-time PCR assays targeting helminths and nonhelminth pathogens in human stool samples. From 25 different in-house and commercial helminth real-time PCR assays applied to 77 stool samples comprising 67 historic samples and 10 external quality assessment scheme samples positively tested for helminths, higher numbers of positive test results were observed after bead-beating-based nucleic acid extraction for 5/25 (20%) real-time PCR assays irrespective of specificity issues. Lower cycle threshold values were observed for one real-time PCR assay after the standard extraction scheme, and for four assays after the bead-beating-based scheme. Agreement between real-time PCR results after both nucleic acid extraction strategies according to Cohen's kappa ranged from poor to almost perfect for the different assays. Varying agreement was observed in eight nonhelminth real-time PCR assays applied to 67 historic stool samples. The study indicates highly variable effects of harsh nucleic acid extraction approaches depending on the real-time PCR assay used.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Many studies reported high prevalence of H. pylori infection among patients co-infected with intestinal parasites. Molecular approach for the DNA detection of those microbes in stool have been proposed. However there are a few reports that evaluated the effect of bead-beating in relation to the H. pylori outcome. Therefore, we developed and evaluated two TaqMan-based real-time PCR (rt-PCR) qualitative assays for the detection of ureC (glmM) and cagA of Helicobacter pylori on DNA extracted by three procedures. RESULTS:The two PCRs were analysed on 100 stool samples from patients who were screened for intestinal parasites. Three DNA extraction procedures were used: 1) automation with bead beating, 2) automation without bead beating and 3) hand column. The specificity of the new assays was confirmed by sequencing the PCR products and by the lack of cross-reactivity with other bacteria or pathogens DNA. Rt-PCR assays showed a detection limit of 10^4 bacteria/200?mg stool. The ureC_PCR with bead beating process was compared to conventional stool antigen test (SAT), with 94.12 and 93.75% of respectively sensitivity and specificity. However, the discordant samples were confirmed by DNA sequencing suggesting a potential higher sensitivity and specificity of PCR. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings showed that the automation with bead-beating -suggested procedure for intestinal parasitic infections- can reach highly sensitive results in H. pylori detection on stool compared also with SAT. Thus, this work can provide new insights into the practice of a clinical microbiology laboratory in order to optimize detection of gastro-intestinal infections. Further studies are needed to better define the clinical value of this technique.
Project description:Variability in representation of microbial communities can be caused by differences in microbial composition or artifacts introduced at sample collection or processing. Alterations in community representation introduced by variations in starting DNA concentrations have not been systematically investigated in stool samples. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effect of the genomic DNA (gDNA) concentration in the resulting 16S rRNA gene library composition and compare its effect to other sample processing variables in homogenized human fecal material. Compared to a gDNA input of 1 ng/?l, inputs of ?1.6 × 10-3 ng/?l resulted in a marked decrease in the concentration of the 16S rRNA gene amplicon (P < 0.001). Low gDNA concentrations (?1.6 × 10-3 ng/?l) were also associated with a decrease (P < 0.001) in the number of operational taxonomic units and significant divergence in ?-diversity profiles (unweighted UniFrac distance, P < 0.001), as characterized by an overestimation of Proteobacteria and underestimation of Firmicutes. Even a gDNA concentration of 4 × 10-2 ng/?l showed a significant impact on the ?-diversity profile (unweighted UniFrac distance, P = 0.03). Overall, the gDNA concentration explained 22.4% to 38.1% of the microbiota variation based on various ?-diversity measures (P < 0.001). By comparison, the DNA extraction methods and PCR volumes tested did not significantly affect the microbial composition profile, and the PCR cycling method explained less than 3.7% of the microbiota variation (weighted UniFrac distance, P = 0.03). The 16S rRNA gene yield and the microbial community representation of human homogenized stool samples are significantly altered by gDNA template concentrations of ?1.6 × 10-3 ng/?l. In addition, data from studies with a gDNA input of ?4 × 10-2 ng/?l should be interpreted with caution. IMPORTANCE The genomic DNA input for stool samples utilized for microbiome composition has not been determined. In this study, we determined the reliable threshold level under which conclusions drawn from the data may be compromised. We also determined the type of microbial bias introduced by less-than-ideal genomic input.
Project description:BACKGROUND:A DNA extraction and preservation protocol that yields sufficient and qualitative DNA is pivotal for the success of any nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), but it still poses a challenge for soil-transmitted helminths (STHs), including Ascaris lumbricoides, Trichuris trichiura and the two hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale). In the present study, we assessed the impact of different DNA extraction and preservativation protocols on STH-specific DNA amplification from stool. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:In a first experiment, DNA was extracted from 37 stool samples with variable egg counts for T. trichiura and N. americanus applying two commercial kits, both with and without a prior bead beating step. The DNA concentration of T. trichiura and N. americanus was estimated by means of qPCR. The results showed clear differences in DNA concentration across both DNA extraction kits, which varied across both STHs. They also indicated that adding a bead beating step substantially improved DNA recovery, particularly when the FECs were high. In a second experiment, 20 stool samples with variable egg counts for A. lumbricoides, T. trichiura and N. americanus were preserved in either 96% ethanol, 5% potassium dichromate or RNAlater and were stored at 4°C for 65, 245 and 425 days. DNA was extracted using the DNeasy Blood & Tissue kit with a bead beating step. Stool samples preserved in ethanol proved to yield higher DNA concentrations as FEC increased, although stool samples appeared to be stable over time in all preservatives. CONCLUSIONS:The choice of DNA extraction kit significantly affects the outcome of NAATs. Given the clear benefit of bead beating and our validation of ethanol for (long-term) preservation, we recommend that these aspects of the protocol should be adopted by any stool sampling and DNA extraction protocol for downstream NAAT-based detection and quantification of STHs.
Project description:QIAamp Fast DNA Stool Mini Kit (QIAGEN, Valencia, CA, United States) and RBB + C (Yu and Morrison, 2004) methodologies are widely employed to extract microbial DNA from rumen samples and can exhibit different efficiencies of obtaining DNA yield, quality, and downstream amplicon sequence analysis. No study has conducted to investigate the contributions of chemical and mechanical lysis on DNA extraction, which included chemical lysis from QIAamp Fast DNA Stool Mini Kit (QIA) and RBB + C (YM), bead (BB), and sand beating (SB). Effects of chemical lysis and bead beating (BB) were investigated by conducting a 2 × 2 factorial-designed experiment with four methodologies, including QIA without (QIA-) and with BB (QIA + BB), and YM without (YM-) and with BB (YM + BB). Comparisons between bead and sand were conducted by comparing methodologies of YM + BB and YM + SB. Comparing with QIA, YM had lower (<i>P</i> ? 0.10) OD<sub>260</sub> <sub>/</sub> <sub>280</sub> and diversity of ZOTUs and length polymorphism of protozoal amplicons but harvested greater (<i>P</i> ? 0.086) DNA from fibrolytic bacteria such as <i>Ruminococcaceae</i> lineages. Including BB increased (<i>P</i> = 0.001) total DNA yield without affecting (<i>P</i> ? 0.55) OD<sub>260</sub> <sub>/</sub> <sub>280</sub> and richness of bacterial ZOTUs but decreased (<i>P</i> ? 0.08) richness of both ZOTUs and length polymorphism of protozoal amplicon. Bead beating and SB showed no difference (<i>P</i> ? 0.19) in DNA yield and quality and bacterial and protozoal community. In summary, chemical lysis provided by RBB + C and QIAamp Fast DNA Stool Mini Kit should be better to extract DNA for analyzing bacterial and protozoal community, respectively. Sand can be an alternative beater for DNA extraction, and mechanical lysis is not recommended for protozoal community analysis.
Project description:Stools are commonly used as proxies for studying human gut microbial communities as sample collection is straightforward, cheap and non-invasive. In large-scale human population surveys, however, sample integrity becomes an issue as it is not logistically feasible for researchers to personally collect stools from every participant. Instead, participants are usually given guidelines on sample packaging and storage, and asked to deliver their stools to a centralised facility. Here, we tested a number of delivery conditions (temperature, duration and addition of preservative medium) and assessed their effects on stool microbial community composition using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. The largest source of variability in stool community composition was attributable to inter-individual differences regardless of delivery condition. Although the relative effect of delivery condition on community composition was small compared to inter-individual variability (1.6% vs. 60.5%, permutational multivariate analysis of variance [PERMANOVA]) and temporal variation within subjects over 10 weeks (5.2%), shifts in microbial taxa associated with delivery conditions were non-systematic and subject-specific. These findings indicated that it is not possible to model or accurately predict shifts in stool community composition associated with sampling logistics. Based on our findings, we recommend delivery of fresh, preservative-free stool samples to laboratories within 2 hr either at ambient or chilled temperatures to minimise perturbations to microbial community composition. In addition, subsamples from different fractions of the same stool displayed a small (3.3% vs. 72.6% inter-individual variation, PERMANOVA) but significant effect on community composition. Collection of larger sample volumes for homogenisation is recommended.