Integrative analysis of high-quality metagenomics and metabolomics data from fecal samples provides novel clues for the mechanism underpinning gut microbe-human interactions. However, data regarding the influence of fecal collection methods on both metagenomics and metabolomics are sparse. Six fecal collection methods (the gold standard [GS] [i.e., immediate freezing at 280°C with no solution], 95% ethanol, RNAlater, OMNIgene Gut, fecal occult blood test [FOBT] cards, and Microlution) were used to collect 88 fecal samples from eight healthy volunteers for whole-genome shotgun sequencing (WGSS) and untargeted metabolomic profiling. Metrics assessed included the abundances of predominant phyla and a- and b-diversity at the species, gene, and pathway levels. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated for microbes and metabolites to estimate (i) stability (day 4 versus day 0 within each method), (ii) concordance (day 0 for each method versus the GS), and (iii) reliability (day 4 for each method versus the GS). For the top 4 phyla and microbial diversity metrics at the species, gene, and pathway levels, generally high stability and reliability were observed for most methods except for 95% ethanol; similar concordances were seen for different methods. For metabolomics data, 95% ethanol showed the highest stability, concordance, and reliability (median ICCs = 0.71, 0.71, and 0.65, respectively). Taken together, OMNIgene Gut, FOBT cards, RNAlater, and Microlution, but not 95% ethanol, were reliable collection methods for gut metagenomic studies. However, 95% ethanol was the best for preserving fecal metabolite profiles. We recommend using separate collecting methods for gut metagenomic sequencing and fecal metabolomic profiling in large population studies.
- Collection method
- Wholegenome shotgun sequencing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology