Fecal Nucleic Acid Isolation
Non-invasive diagnostic sampling is a critical component of Point-of-care testing, and fecal samples are an ideal fit in this diagnostic scheme. Fecal samples have been used for diagnosing infectious diseases, and to study the influence of administered probiotic cultures for a very long time. The digestive tract of living organisms, from insects to human beings, harbors a complex and dynamic microbial community that plays a critical role in the well-being of their hosts. This population includes both, symbionts and commensals, while most of the microorganisms residing in the gastrointestinal tract are bacteria, with a density of approximately 1013 – 1014 cells/g fecal matter, in which 70% of the total microbes colonize the colon (Ley et al. 2006). There is increasing scientific evidence to show a correlation between the health of a host and its microflora. Dysbiosis or compromised microflora results in gastrointestinal tract infections, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis), food allergies, antibiotic-induced diarrhea, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers such as colorectal cancer (Salminen et al., 1995, Salminen et al., 1998, and Schaafsma, 1995). Thus, the vertebrate hindgut microbiome is critical to host organisms’ nutrition, health, and welfare, including control of infectious diseases (Muegge, et al. 2011; De Jong et al. 2014). Fecal samples are the primary means of studying human gut microbiome (Filteau et al. 2013 and Kato-Kataoka et al. 2016) and used as a simple, non-invasive method of sampling microbial community (Beja-pereira et al., 2009). It is increasingly becoming clear that fecal samples could prognosticate the health of an individual.
Noninvasive genetic approaches continue to improve studies in molecular ecology, conservation genetics and related disciplines such as forensics and epidemiology.
Feces are one of the most commonly used noninvasive materials because, for many species, it is the easiest to find in the wild and it provides more information (e.g. diet, stress hormone status, reproductive hormones, parasite infections and parasite DNA) than other sample types (Kohn and Wayne, 1997; Goymann 2005; Luikart et al. 2008a; Schwartz and Monfort, 2008). Fecal DNA extraction is an invaluable tool in noninvasive genetic sampling and it continues to improve studies in molecular ecology, conservation genetics and related disciplines such as forensics and epidemiology (Beja-pereira et al., 2009).