A practical guide for restoration ecologists to manage microbial contamination risks before laboratory processes during microbiota restoration studies

Christian Cando-Dumancela, Tarryn Davies, Riley J. Hodgson, Craig Liddicoat, Shawn D. Peddle, Carl D. Watson, Martin F. Breed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


Environmental microbiota are becoming more conventional components of restoration ecology studies due to their functional importance in ecosystems. Studying these microbiota offers insight into how they respond to, and potentially drive, ecosystem restoration. However, microbes are everywhere and therefore they pose a risk to sample integrity via uncontrolled contamination, and many of these risks are introduced before entering a molecular facility. Field ecologists who have limited experience in microbial and/or molecular studies may lack the knowledge on how to mitigate microbial contamination risks and, accordingly, may find rigorous collection of microbial samples a daunting task. Here, we present a practical guide that builds on our previous paper to help manage the risks of microbial contamination when undertaking a microbiota restoration study prior to entering a molecular facility. We cover study design and planning, undertaking field sampling, and sample transport and storage. We hope to provide a useful and practical guide to restoration ecologists who wish to include a microbiota component in their studies. If done well, this inclusion offers improved research quality and ultimately enhanced restoration outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13687
Number of pages6
JournalRestoration Ecology
Issue number1
Early online date23 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • DNA
  • environmental DNA
  • microbial contamination
  • microbiome
  • restoration genomics

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