Method Validation for Extraction of DNA from Human Stool Samples for Downstream Microbiome Analysis

Lorieza Neuberger-Castillo*, Gaël Hamot, Monica Marchese, Ignacio Sanchez, Wim Ammerlaan, Fay Betsou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Background: A formal method validation for biospecimen processing in the con of accreditation in laboratories and biobanks is lacking. A previously optimized stool processing protocol was validated for fitness-for-purpose for downstream microbiome analysis. Materials and Methods: DNA extraction from human stool was validated with various collection tubes, stabilizing solutions and storage conditions in terms of fitness-for-purpose for downstream microbiome analysis, robustness, and sample stability. Acceptance criteria were based on accurate identification of a reference material, homogeneity of extracted samples, and sample stability in a 2-year period. Results: The automated DNA extraction using the chemagic™ Magnetic Separation Module I (MSM I) extracted 8 out of 8 bacteria in the ZymoBIOMICS® Microbial Community Standard. Seven tested stabilizing solutions (OMNIgene®•GUT, RNAlater®, AquaStool™, RNAssist, PerkinElmer SEB lysis buffer, and DNA Genotek's CP-150) were all compatible with the chemagic MSM I and showed no significant difference in microbiome alpha diversity and no significant difference in the overall microbiome composition compared to the baseline snap-frozen stool sample. None of the stabilizing solutions showed intensive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) inhibition in the SPUD assay. However, when we take into account more stringent criteria which include a higher double-stranded DNA yield, higher DNA purity, and absence of PCR inhibition, we recommend the use of OMNIgene•GUT, RNAlater, or AquaStool as alternatives to rapid freezing of samples. The highest sample homogeneity was achieved with RNAlater- and OMNIgene•GUT -stabilized samples. Sample stability after a 2-year storage in -80°C was seen with OMNIgene•GUT -stabilized samples. Conclusions: We validated a combination of a stool processing method with various collection methods, suitable for downstream microbiome applications. Sample collection, storage conditions and DNA extraction methods can influence the microbiome profile results. Laboratories and biobanks should ensure that these conditions are systematically recorded in the scope of accreditation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-116
Number of pages15
JournalBiopreservation and Biobanking
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • 16S
  • biobank
  • fit-for-purpose
  • microbiome
  • stool
  • validation


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