When it comes to collecting skin microbiome samples there are a number of methods used – although until recently, it had never been explicitly reported how these methods differ from one another in terms of collecting skin bacteria. This changed when a study conducted by Kazuhiro Ogai, et al. 2018 was published. This study aimed to show the differences in microbial composition between samples collected using swabbing and tape-stripping methods.
The study revealed interesting results. It suggested that both methods show similar results for skin microbiome analysis, although the tape-stripping method collected more viable bacteria than the swabbing method. It was also found that the tape-stripping method can be used interchangeably with the swabbing method both for the NGS analysis and for the experiments that require viable skin bacteria, such as antibiotic-susceptibility and virulence tests.1
So, looks like both have their merits… what is your preferred method, swabbing or tape-stripping?!
Ogai, K., Nagase, S., Mukai, K., Iuchi, T., Mori, Y., Matsue, M., … Okamoto, S. (2018). A Comparison of Techniques for Collecting Skin Microbiome Samples: Swabbing Versus Tape-Stripping. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.02362