Cell-Free Microbial DNA Analysis: Effects of Blood Plasma and Serum Quantity, Biobanking Protocols, and Isolation Kits

Biopreserv Biobank. 2024 Feb 27. doi: 10.1089/bio.2023.0048. Online ahead of print.


Recent studies highlight the presence of bacterial sequences in the human blood, suggesting potential clinical significance for circulating microbial signatures. These sequences could presumably serve in the diagnosis, prediction, or monitoring of various health conditions. Ensuring the similarity of samples before bacterial analysis is crucial, especially when combining samples from different biobanks prepared under varying conditions (such as different DNA extraction kits, centrifugation conditions, blood collection tubes, etc.). In this study, we aimed to analyze the impact of different sample collection and nucleic acid extraction criteria (blood collection tube, centrifugation, input volume, and DNA extraction kit) on circulating bacterial composition. Blood samples from four healthy individuals were collected into three different sample collection tubes: K2EDTA plasma tube, sodium citrate plasma tube, and gel tube for blood serum. Tubes were centrifugated at standard and double centrifugation conditions. DNA extraction was performed using 100, 200, and 500 μL plasma/serum input volumes. DNA extraction was performed using three different isolation kits: Norgen plasma/serum cell-free circulating DNA purification micro kit, Applied Biosystems MagMAX cell-free DNA isolation kit, and Qiagen QIAamp MinElute cell-free circulating DNA mini kit. All samples were subjected to 16S rRNA V1-V2 library preparation and sequencing. In total, 216 DNA and 18 water control samples were included in the study. According to PERMANOVA, PCoA, Mann-Whitney, and FDR tests the effect of the DNA extraction kit on the microbiota composition was the greatest, whereas the type of blood collection tube, centrifugation type, and sample input volume for the extraction had minor effects. Samples extracted with the Norgen DNA extraction kit were enriched with Gram-negative bacteria, whereas samples extracted with the Qiagen and MagMAX kits were enriched with Gram-positive bacteria. Bacterial profiles of samples prepared with the Qiagen and MagMAX DNA extraction kits were more similar, whereas samples prepared with the Norgen DNA extraction kit were significantly different from other groups.

Keywords: 16s rRNA sequencing; DNA extraction kits; circulating microbial cell-free DNA; sample collection protocol.