BioScience Trends. 2019;13(6):360-364. (DOI: 10.5582/ddt.2019.01075)

Feasibility of microbial sample collection on the skin from people in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Benderli NC, Ogai K, Lloyd YM, Arios JP, Jiyarom B, Awanakam AH, Esemu LF, Hori A, Megnekou R, Leke RGF, Kuraishi T, Okamoto S, Ekali GL


Characterization of microbial communities in the skin in healthy individuals and diseased patients holds valuable information for understanding pathogenesis of skin diseases and as a source for developing novel therapies. Notably, resources regarding skin microbiome are limited in developing countries where skin disorders from infectious diseases are extremely common. A simple method for sample collection and processing for skin microbiome studies in such countries is crucial. The aim of this study is to confirm the feasibility of collecting skin microbiota from individuals in Yaoundé, a capital city of Cameroon, and subsequent extraction of bacterial DNA in a resource limited setting. Skin swabs from several individuals in Yaoundé were successfully obtained, and sufficient amount of bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA-coding DNA was collected, which was confirmed by quantitative PCR. The median copy number of 16S ribosomal RNA gene varied across participants and collection sites, with significantly more copies in samples collected from the forehead compared to the left and right forearm, or back. This study demonstrated that collecting surface skin microbes using our swabbing method is feasible in a developing country. We further showed that even with limited resources, we could collect sufficient amount of skin microbiota from the inhabitants in Yaoundé where no studies of skin microbiome were reported, which can be passed to further metagenomic analysis such as next generation sequencing.

KEYWORDS: Skin swabs, surface skin microbiome, developing countries, Cameroon

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