Researchers use biospecimens like urine, blood, stool, and saliva to study many diseases and compounds. Saliva samples are an especially great source of biological data about drugs and disease biomarkers. Saliva is universally considered an easy bio-fluid to collect using non-invasive, painless methods.
However, storing and transporting wet saliva can be expensive and problematic. Additionally, the biomarkers of disease are subject to degradation during storage and delivery.
Dried Saliva for Greater Sample Stability?
Dried saliva samples (DSS) are easier to transport and store, and can furnish researchers with the same rich data. They also provide better sample stability. Sample stability in long-term storage is vital because researchers may want to use the stored samples for related studies in the future. Dried saliva samples are also more cost-effective to store and more convenient to use in research studies.
Storage of Dried Saliva Samples
Scientists have conducted various studies on different ways to store dry saliva samples. A research group from Germany dried human saliva samples on filter paper using sucrose as a lyoprotective agent under ambient conditions. They then stored the samples under varying humidity and temperature conditions. They assessed the different cell types and their DNA contents and evaluated the effects of storage using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR).
The results showed saliva dried without sucrose has a higher content of some protein structures than samples dried with sucrose. This means dried saliva on filters containing sucrose has a high stability rate during storage. Dried saliva samples also eliminate the need for liquid nitrogen tanks or freezers for storage; they can be stored in non-laboratory settings, making this approach ideal for studies in low-resource regions.
Benefits of Saliva Sampling
Saliva sampling can serve as an excellent alternative to blood sampling. Saliva-producing glands are highly porous, which means they allow for free exchange between blood and the cells. However, saliva has lower immunoglobulin and DNA amounts compared to blood.
Dry saliva sampling is non-invasive compared to blood sample collection. Saliva doesn’t clot and is also safe for handling, with a lower transmission risk than other bio-fluid samples.
Additionally, saliva can be used to analyze many diseases, including cancers. Saliva samples can detect protein markers for the diagnosis of systemic cancers, for example. It can also be used for pregnancy testing and detection of drugs and alcohol. Another application is the detection of viral and bacterial infections.
Mitra Devices for DSS (Dried Saliva Sampling)
Mitra® devices from Neoteryx make it possible for study subjects to collect saliva samples remotely. The devices are small, portable, and have a patented VAMS® tip, which is made from a unique material designed to absorb a fixed volume of bio-fluid sample. The collection process is easy and convenient, and so is transportation to the lab for analysis.