Strong work from Bradbury and coworkers in the IWJ. Bottom line: Both swabs and tissues appeared to perform well for 16s sampling and sequencing.
Identifying the microbiome within chronic diabetic foot ulcers is essential if effective antimicrobial therapies are to be administered. Using culture and 16S rRNA gene sequencing, the aim of this study was to compare the microbiome of paired tissue scraping samples with swab samples, collected from participants during attendance at a high-risk foot clinic. The mean richness of cultured swab and tissue scraping samples was consistent, with anaerobes infrequently isolated from both sample types. Comparing percentage frequencies of detection of selected genera of known and potential pathogens namely Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, Enterococcus, Corynebacterium, Enterobacteriaceae and Pseudomonas from cultured and sequenced swab and tissue scrapings indicated that both collection methods captured varying percentages of all the selected genera. The mean abundance of sequenced samples was not significantly different between swabs and tissue scrapings. The mean richness or number of distinct operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and Shannon’s H diversity index were not significantly different between the two collection methods. The mean relative abundance of the selected genera of known and potential pathogens, including anaerobes Anaerococcus and Finegoldia, was higher in swabs compared with tissue scrapings and significantly so in Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas genera. Multivariate analyses confirmed no significant differences between the bacterial community compositions of the paired samples. These results suggest that tissue scrapings and swabs can effectively capture the microbiome of chronic DFUs using culture and 16S rRNA gene sequencing.