Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 99, Issue 13, pp 5397–5406 | Cite as

Biopolymers for sample collection, protection, and preservation

  • Iryna Sorokulova
  • Eric Olsen
  • Vitaly VodyanoyEmail author


One of the principal challenges in the collection of biological samples from air, water, and soil matrices is that the target agents are not stable enough to be transferred from the collection point to the laboratory of choice without experiencing significant degradation and loss of viability. At present, there is no method to transport biological samples over considerable distances safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively without the use of ice or refrigeration. Current techniques of protection and preservation of biological materials have serious drawbacks. Many known techniques of preservation cause structural damages, so that biological materials lose their structural integrity and viability. We review applications of a novel bacterial preservation process, which is nontoxic and water soluble and allows for the storage of samples without refrigeration. The method is capable of protecting the biological sample from the effects of environment for extended periods of time and then allows for the easy release of these collected biological materials from the protective medium without structural or DNA damage. Strategies for sample collection, preservation, and shipment of bacterial, viral samples are described. The water-soluble polymer is used to immobilize the biological material by replacing the water molecules within the sample with molecules of the biopolymer. The cured polymer results in a solid protective film that is stable to many organic solvents, but quickly removed by the application of the water-based solution. The process of immobilization does not require the use of any additives, accelerators, or plastifiers and does not involve high temperature or radiation to promote polymerization.


Biopolymer Acacia gum Trehalose Water Soil Air Pathogens 



This study was supported by Air Force CRADA grant 13-268-SG-C13016. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Air Force, Department of Defense, or the US Government.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomy, Physiology and PharmacologyAuburnUSA
  2. 2.US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Epidemiology LaboratoryDaytonUSA

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