eDNA Collection with Porous Conductive Membranes

With the rapid decline in earth’s biodiversity, there is an urgent need to closely monitor the distribution of species and population sizes on a relevant ecological and political time scale. One way to achieve this task is by retrieving DNA from environmental samples (eDNA), which provides a rich and important source of information on biodiversity found in that environment.

Collection and extraction of DNA from eDNA is a challenging task due to the low concentration of eDNA that is generally found in the environment, as well as degradation of the eDNA during collection, additional challenges are transport and storage and lack of efficient adsorbent traps that are capable of collecting high amounts of eDNA samples within short time frame.

Different types of powdered and granular based materials packed in sachets have previously been used for the collection of eDNA from water samples by passive adsorption which was shown to be useful for the collection of both extracellular and cellular DNA, this method also was shown to minimise degradation of the eDNA. However, these packed sachets suffer from limitations such as being prone to damage and loss by sharp objects that are present in flowing water streams, by the possibility of getting clogged by sand and particulate matter and difficulty in deploying large amount of these adsorbents for eDNA enrichment. Hence there is a need for more flexible, integrated, and high surface area membranes capable of efficient eDNA collection and extraction.

Project lead: Mustafa Musameh (Manufacturing)