Long-term stability of microbiome diversity and composition in fecal samples stored in eNAT medium

Rebecca R. Young*, Kirsten Jenkins, Felix Araujo-Perez, Patrick C. Seed, Matthew S. Kelly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Fecal samples collected for microbiome analyses are typically frozen to avoid postcollection changes in microbial composition. eNAT is a guanidine thiocyanate-based medium that stabilizes microbial DNA and allows safe specimen handling and shipping by inactivating microorganisms. We collected fecal samples (n = 50) from children undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. We divided samples into three aliquots: (a) stored in RNAlater and immediately transferred to −80°C; (b) stored in eNAT medium and immediately transferred to −80°C; and (c) stored in eNAT medium at ambient temperature (~20°C) for 30 days prior to transfer to −80°C. Mean (standard deviation) Shannon diversity and Chao1 indices in sample aliquots were 2.05 (0.62) and 23.8 (16.6), respectively. Comparing samples frozen immediately in RNAlater to samples frozen immediately in eNAT, there were no differences in Shannon diversity (p =.51), Chao1 richness (p =.66), and overall microbiome composition (p =.99). Comparing eNAT samples frozen immediately to samples stored at ambient temperature, we identified no differences in Shannon diversity (p =.65), Chao1 richness (p =.87), and overall microbiome composition (p =.99). Storage of fecal samples in eNAT at ambient temperature for 30 days did not alter microbiome richness, diversity, or composition. eNAT may be a useful medium for fecal microbiome studies, particularly when cold chain storage is unavailable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1046
JournalMicrobiologyOpen
Volume9
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Keywords

  • 16S rRNA sequencing
  • bacterial inactivation
  • biological sample shipping
  • stabilization media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology

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