Is your microbiome test giving you an accurate picture? A recent study looked at one of the most well known markers of microbial health – bacterial diversity. The researchers found that taking 5 fecal samples over 5 consecutive days portrays a more accurate picture of microbial diversity than just 1 sample. This study also concluded that when looking at microbial composition (bacterial species and their ratios), 1 fecal sample was sufficient. In a letter to the editor, a group of researchers argue that microbial composition also varies over time. In their study of 61 infants, fecal samples were taken weekly for 6 weeks. Microbial composition varied over time, even from week to week. Researchers point out that the age of the study participants could be partly to blame. But, they ultimately conclude that calculating an average composition from fecal samples taken over a period of time could offer a more complete portrayal. Current Microbiology
→Takeaway: Microbiome testing and analysis, which is usually performed from one fecal sample, is becoming more common among consumers, patients, and researchers. If you are undergoing microbial analysis, taking various samples over time may offer a more accurate picture of both your microbial composition and diversity.