New methods for selective isolation of bacterial DNA from human clinical specimens

Hans Peter Horz, Sebastian Scheer, Morgana E. Vianna, Georg Conrads

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Separation of bacterial DNA from human DNA in clinical samples may have an important impact on downstream applications, involving microbial diagnostic systems. We evaluated two commercially available reagents (MolYsis ®, Molzym GmbH & Co. KG, Bremen and Pureprove ®, SIRS-Lab GmbH, Jena, both Germany) for their potential to isolate and purify bacterial DNA from human DNA. We chose oral samples, which usually contain very high amounts of both human and bacterial cells. Three different DNA preparations each were made from eight caries and eight periodontal specimens using the two reagents above and a conventional DNA extraction strategy as reference. Based on target-specific real-time-quantitative PCR assays we compared the reduction of human DNA versus loss of bacterial DNA. Human DNA was monitored by targeting the β-2-microglobulin gene, while bacteria were monitored by targeting 16S rDNA (total bacteria and Porphyromonas gingivalis) or the glycosyltransferase gene (Streptococcus mutans). We found that in most cases at least 90% of human DNA could successfully be removed, with complete removal in eight of 16 cases using MolYsis, and two (of 16) cases using Pureprove. Conversely, detection of bacterial DNA was possible in all cases with a recovery rate generally ranging from 35% to 50%. In conclusion, both strategies have the potential to reduce background interference from the host DNA which may be of remarkable value for nucleic-acid based microbial diagnostic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-53
Number of pages7
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Detection of human pathogens
  • Nucleic-acid based microbial diagnostic systems
  • Separation of human and bacterial DNA

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