The Influence of Sample Processing and Storage Methods on the Feline Fecal Metabolome and Canine Fecal Microbiota
The fecal microbiota and metabolome profiles provide insight into host health. However, standardization of methods for processing and storage of fecal samples prior to microbiota and metabolomic analyses are lacking. Therefore, the present thesis investigated: 1) the influence of room temperature exposure on the feline fecal metabolome; and 2) the influence of homogenization, the addition of RNAlater, room temperature exposure, and storage temperature on the canine fecal microbiota. The first study found that 4 hours of room temperature exposure is acceptable for feline fecal metabolomic analyses, as metabolite concentrations (notably amino acids and volatile fatty acids) changed beyond that. The second study observed no impacts of homogenization, RNAlater, 24-h room temperature exposure, or 24-h fridge storage on diversity, evenness, or richness, or bacterial community membership and structure; however, RNAlater impacted the relative abundances of canine fecal phyla. These factors should be considered in future feline and canine fecal studies.