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Get with the flow! Why you should be using standards for your microbiomics workflow

Published 21 June 2024 by Aoife Holohan

The field of microbiomics is still a relatively new one, and as with any emerging field, encountered issues with processes and standardisation at the beginning. A big issue was the reproducibility and quality of data across publications within the field, given the inherent variability in biological samples and experimental procedures. This issue intensified when comparing data across different laboratories, even from the same samples.

Industry-leading standardisation with Zymo Research

Realising the need for standardisation and controls in the field, Zymo Research lead the way in creating the first commercial microbiome standard in 2017, coinciding the launch with the introduction of the first microbial DNA extraction kit validated for unbiased cell lysis and microbiome profiling, the ZymoBIOMICS DNA Miniprep Kit. ZymoBIOMICS nucleic acid extraction kits, combined with ZymoBIOMICS Microbial Community Standards, provide an effective solution for standardising workflows, which is critical for producing accurate and reproducible data. This miniprep kit is specifically designed for efficient and unbiased extraction of DNA from diverse microbiome samples, ensuring that researchers capture a true representation of microbial communities.

Using ZymoBIOMICS nucleic acid extraction kits offers several advantages that are crucial for standardising workflows in microbiome research. They perform comprehensive DNA and/or RNA extraction, minimising the risk of bias that can arise from differential lysis efficiencies. The kits' protocols are optimised for simplicity and consistency, reducing user-induced variability and enhancing reproducibility across different experiments and laboratories.

Incorporating ZymoBIOMICS Microbial Community Standards into the workflow further enhances the reliability of microbiomic studies. These standards, which include mock microbial communities with known compositions, serve as essential controls for validating DNA extraction and sequencing protocols. By benchmarking their methods against these standards, researchers can identify and correct for procedural biases and inaccuracies, ensuring that their results accurately reflect the true microbial diversity and abundance in their samples.

Enhancing research quality through workflow standardisation

Standardising workflows with tools like the ZymoBIOMICS DNA Miniprep Kit and ZymoBIOMICS microbial standards is of immense benefit. Consistent and reproducible methodologies allow for more reliable comparisons between studies, facilitating meta-analyses and collaborative research efforts. This standardisation also helps in building robust datasets that can be confidently used for developing diagnostic tools, therapeutic strategies, and advancing our understanding of microbial ecology and its impacts on health and disease. Ultimately, standardisation not only improves the quality of individual studies but also enhances the overall integrity and progress of the microbiome research field.

Get with the flow!

Zymo Research’s standards have now been recognised in over 1000 publications, making them the most cited standards in the industry. To extend the reach of their innovation, Zymo Research created the Microbiome Standards and Controls Initiative (M-SCI). Through M-SCI, thousands of microbiome standards have been provided to labs across the world, free of charge. This initiative has encouraged researchers to incorporate controls into their workflows, fostering a deeper understanding of bias and increasing overall data quality. By using Zymo Research's microbiomics standards, researchers can ensure they remain at the forefront of this exciting and rapidly evolving field. So don't be left behind - get your workflow with the flow! 

Learn more about how we can help standardise your microbiomics workflow with our microbiomics and metagenomics range.

Content inspired by Zymo Research's original article.