The most commonly used non-invasive method of capturing a snapshot of the gut microbiome is by using a fresh fecal sample; whether from a human or an animal. Fresh fecal samples contain rich microbial communities —  a representation of the microbial community existing in the gut — but proper conditions are required to maintain the integrity of this microbiome until it reaches the lab. There are several standardized testing methods to examine the microbiome of fecal samples such as amplicon sequencing, shotgun metagenomics and whole genome sequencing {see full list below}. Our team has experience with various protocols and can advise on a workflow that meets your needs.

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DRY SWABS: For dry swabs we recommend using the Becton-Dickinson, BBL CultureSwab EZ II which includes a double-swab encased in a rigid non-breathable transport tube. For all other dry swabs make sure to keep the wrapper for transport to our lab. To best optimise your downstream process, it is recommended to use two swabs (or one BD DBL CultureSwab II) to maximize your DNA content per sampling session.

DEVICES WITH BUFFER: Both Norgen Biotek and DNA Genotek Inc. are manufacturers of biological specimen collection devices that incorporate a lytic stabilization buffer for storage at ambient temperature. See the Resources section below for a quick link to the recommended kits (for collection from human and animal donors). Please refer to each manufacturer for more detail.