The skin—the human body’s largest organ—is teeming with microbes: bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses. But compared with other parts of the body, the skin does not support a high-biomass microbiome. Thus, microbiome sampling and sequencing for skin require special knowledge and handling.

Microbiome Insights has developed expertise in the skin microbiome through our work with leading scientists and top commercial organizations. We are here to help you decide on the sampling and sequencing strategies that will capture a picture of skin microbes suitable for answering your particular questions.

Our expertise includes:

  • Advanced extraction methods for consideration of particularly robust microbes in the system
  • Total bacterial quantification via qPCR to initially assess the amplification of bacteria in each sample
  • rRNA gene sequencing to determine, at a high level, the role of various microbes and the shifts in the microbiome over time depending on implementation
  • Shotgun metagenome sequencing for a higher resolution of both taxonomic and functional outputs
  • Bioinformatic reporting with a firm understanding of advanced analysis

Services We Offer

Collection

Sampling the skin microbiome with one single swab may limit your volume of DNA to be used on more than one test. 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.

Internal validations have shown that skin microbiome recovery is optimized using pre-moistened swabs as compared to dry swabs or skin tapes. This optimization results in overall higher microbial DNA content while minimizing host DNA content. We recommend using the Becton-Dickinson, BBL Cultureswab EZ II (or similar), which includes a double swab encased in a non-breathable transport tube.

Please talk to us if you are using tape or Biore strips for your collections as these are handled differently.