Improved Protocol for DNA Extraction from Subsoils Using Phosphate Lysis Buffer (2019)

Guerra V., Beule L., Lehtsaar E., Liao H., Karlovsky P.

Microorganisms, 8 (4), 532



As our understanding of soil biology deepens, there is a growing demand for investigations addressing microbial processes in the earth beneath the topsoil layer, called subsoil. High clay content in subsoils often hinders the recovery of sufficient quantities of DNA as clay particles bind nucleic acids. Here, an efficient and reproducible DNA extraction method for 200 mg dried soil based on sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) lysis in the presence of phosphate buffer has been developed. The extraction protocol was optimized by quantifying bacterial 16S and fungal 18S rRNA genes amplified from extracts obtained by different combinations of lysis methods and phosphate buffer washes. The combination of one minute of bead beating, followed by ten min incubation at 65°C in the presence of 1 M phosphate buffer with 0.5% SDS, was found to produce the best results. The optimized protocol was compared with a commonly used cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) method, using Phaeozem soil collected from 60 cm depth at a conventional agricultural field and validated on five subsoils. The reproducibility and robustness of the protocol was corroborated by an interlaboratory comparison. The DNA extraction protocol offers a reproducible and cost-effective tool for DNA-based studies of subsoil biology.