The world as we all know it changed dramatically in the early months of 2020 with the onset of COVID-19. With business closures and hospital overloads occurring around the globe, researchers felt the urge to find solutions to the evolving pandemic. However, testing on an individual basis was soon found to be expensive, time consuming, and full of obstacles. With a lack of supplies (i.e. swabs, masks, etc.) and a shortage of healthy and cooperative health care professionals, it was quickly understood that testing every individual was not an effective or realistic solution.
With the advent of microbiome studies, stool sample collection and preservation have been highlighted as key steps in ensuring microbiome authenticity. Freezing at -80°C has been widely accepted as the gold standard for stool sample storage in a variety of research and clinical applications. However, this method of storage renders host cells and microorganisms susceptible to deleterious effects such as freeze-shock, prolonged freezing, and freeze-thaw.
Large-scale human microbiota studies have generated key insights into a variety of disease processes, including cardiovascular disease, carcinogenesis, diabetes, hypertension, and inflammatory bowel disease. However, the utility of such studies is contingent on accurate and consistent representation of microbial communities.