How does it work?
Many different micro-organisms reside in our intestine, primarily of bacterial origin, which are collectively termed the ‘microbiome’. These bacteria have a prominent influence on human health. Due to the advent of gut-microbiome testing, scientific knowledge has been generated on the composition of the gut microbiome and how this composition is affected by, for example, a change in dietary regimen. MyMicroZoo™ analyses the gut-microbiome using a DNA-analysis technique called microbial profiling.
In the MyMicroZoo™ test kit you will find an instruction for sampling your gut microbiome, a tube to collect the sample, a faeces catcher to hygienically collect your sample using the swab and a plastic bag with absorbent material to send your sample to MyMicroZoo™ in the included envelope. The liquid in the tube (RNA Shield®) will prevent the gut microbiome sample from undergoing any significant change in composition during transit time to our laboratory.
Sample registration, information, and security
On the kit, as well as in the instruction manual and on the sample tube, a unique code is labelled which you are required to register on your personal account on the MyMicroZoo™ website after registration. Only when you have registered your personal code are we able to deliver your results, due to privacy regulations that disallow us to combine the kit-code and address information at one place.
Using a safe-connection we transfer the DNA analysis results from our laboratory to the MyMicroZoo™ website.
When registering your kit code, you will be prompted to fill out a short survey concerning your lifestyle, diet and sports activities, which we will use to calculate the averages for these factors across all MyMicroZoo™ customers, hereby allowing you to compare your results within a selected lifestyle- or diet-related context. Furthermore, your input will aid MyMicroZoo™ in attaining her goal of increasing understanding of the gut microbiome and its role in (mental) health.
Please send the bubble envelope, with sufficient postal stamps (!), to the address below.
2333 BE Leiden
Determination of the bacterial composition of your sample
The first step is to isolate the DNA from the fecal sample. To identify the bacteria present in the sample we look at the 16S rRNA gene, which is present in every bacterial species and thus serves as a key species identifier for bacteria. This gene has a constant and variable region, where the variable region provides taxonomical evidence of the bacterial species present, as it differs (slightly) from the variable region of other bacteria. The 16S rRNA gene is amplified using PCR and is subsequently sequenced on an in-house Illumina MiSeq™ DNA sequencer. Your microbiome data is finally analyzed by our proprietary microbial profiling software, after which a visual report is generated for your MyMicroZoo™ sample.
Your own gut bacteria composition
You will receive an email indicating your results are available on your account. You can log in using your regular MyMicroZoo™ website credentials, and then by selecting your specific registered kit code you can download both a PDF- or Excel-format report of your microbiome composition. The PDF-report (overview) is the formal MyMicroZoo™ report that contains information on the different bacteria and related foods, whereas the Excel-report provides the output from the DNA analysis, or the bacterial taxonomy and respective abundances.
In the overview you will see a round ‘donut’ shaped figure showing the abundances, expressed in percentages, of the bacteria that were detected in your sample. By moving over the diagram you will see additional information about the function of specific bacteria if this is available.
This overview and the additional information will give you more insights into your own gut bacteria and what these bacteria in your gut may be doing. If you are participating in a diet or lifestyle change, such as increased excersise or a different form of physical excersise, you can follow the changes in the composition in gut bacteria using multiple analyses by MyMicroZooTM and determine if the lifestyle change has a positive effect. For example, an increase of beneficial bacteria such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii that can produce fatty acids associated with the digestion of fibre rich food.