The Microbiome Snapshot

a blog providing new insights into Microbiome Collection and Stabilization by DNA Genotek. DNA Genotek is a subsidiary of OraSure Technologies, Inc.

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Article by: Lexcy Li

Trends from the 9th Microbiome & Probiotics R&D and Business Collaboration Forum, USA

2022-05-03

The 2022 Microbiome & Probiotics R&D and Business Collaboration Forum (Forum) brought together scientists and business individuals in the microbiome field. The Forum took place on March 29-30th with 65 presenters and an interactive in-person exhibition hall with over 20 booths. The diverse two-day program had talks on women & infant health, the latest in probiotics & prebiotics, and advancements in skin & cosmeceuticals research.

 

The Importance of Collecting Quality Skin Samples and Downstream Analysis

The set of microorganisms colonized on the skin is referred to as the skin microbiome. It can be influenced by the host, products used, and the external environment. While there are significant advances in sequencing technologies, there are still challenges in researching and understanding the skin microbiome. First, skin samples have low microbial biomass and high host contamination. Without the proper extraction method, this can lead to inefficient microbial DNA for downstream applications. Second, the lack of adequate bioinformatics tools can also hinder the proper interpretation of the skin microbiome sequence data. Lastly, many collection methods are not validated for providing an accurate representation of the skin microbiome profile consistently.

 

In collaboration with Diversigen, DNA Genotek has validated its latest microbiome collection kit – OMNIgeneTM.Skin. Using Diversigen’s Skin Microbiome Service which combines optimized DNA extraction and tailored amplicon-based sequencing of the V1-V3 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene, DNA Genotek’s OMNIgene.SKIN is validated for its ability to provide an accurate representation of skin microbiome profile. With these validated new tools, skin microbiome researchers can gain a more accurate species-level resolution of skin community and study the impacts of cosmetics and disease etiology with more confidence.

 

Dosing and Regulation with Live Microbes

Preserving and supporting the natural microbiome has been shown to provide benefits to the host. This gives rise to treatments and supplements that utilize microbes naturally found in our bodies. While these treatments and supplements are gaining popularity, the main question researchers and developers often ask is: How much bacteria does one need to achieve efficacy with minimal side effects? While there likely aren’t any serious concerns in overconsuming or applying a beneficial bacteria naturally found in the human microbiome, microbes are expensive to produce and maintain. Commonly used animal models can help to answer some questions during product development but they are not ideal for determining the proper dose for microbiome-modulating drugs containing naturally occurring microbes. The lack of prior pharmacokinetic or pharmacodynamic data for such products, unlike traditional pharmaceutical drugs, also makes dosing a challenging task and government regulatory bodies are aware of this challenge.

 

With such uncertainties in dosing optimization, many have mentioned factors such as feasibility, cost, logistics, and user experience are keys to the decision-making process. In addition, the rise of microbiome-based biomarkers will not only be useful in identifying the optimal patient population to receive a drug or treatment but they are also key to documenting the effects of the treatment to provide better guidance in dosing microbiome-modulating drugs.

 

Expanding Microbiome Insights: Transcriptomic and Metabolomics

One of the common themes we hear often from the microbiome community is that the research is not stopping solely at characterizing the microbial profile. To fully harness the power of the microbiome and truly deliver consumer benefits, researchers also want to know what the microbial species present are doing and how their metabolites can potentially affect their host.

 

The different analytes of interest - DNA, RNA, and metabolites – all have different molecular properties and they require sampling and stabilizing solutions that are suitable for their intended downstream analyses. To overcome the challenges associated with sampling feces for metabolomics, DNA Genotek recently launched the OMNImet•GUT collection device. It allows both targeted and untargeted analysis of fecal metabolites and provides 7 days of ambient temperature stability to ensure easy return or samples to the lab. Another new device is set to hit the market this spring which will allow for the stabilization of microbial DNA and RNA from the same device: OMNIgene•GUT for DNA and RNA. As these devices help to characterize the functional and taxonomic profiles of the gut microbiome, they can advance our scientific understanding of microbiome-host interactions. With such knowledge, the industry can continue their efforts to develop more innovative products with consumer benefits.

 

After almost 2.5 years of not attending shows in-person, it was a pleasure for both the DNA Genotek and Diversigen teams to be out and interacting with the microbiome community. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming conferences

 

If you are interested in gut microbiome/metabolome, vaginal microbiome and skin microbiome collection kits, you can send us an email at info@dnagenotek.com or click the picture below to request free samples to try in your lab.

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