Derek Harris, Dixie State University
The presence of extracellular DNA (eDNA) in various environmental and biological media has become the subject of growing interest in the field of research. In media such as bacterial biofilms, it has been shown to play a vital role in their structure and antimicrobial properties. Existing methods for extraction of pure eDNA from these media are complex and problematic; particularly from biological media where cells containing genomic DNA are also present. Novel surfactants have been developed, whose miscibility and polarity are easily tuned to suit a variety of conditions necessary for eDNA extractions. They can accomplish extraction of pure eDNA through concurrent hydrophilic and hydrophobic interactions in a single step, while remaining unreactive with the surrounding media or lysing cells and exposing genomic DNA. We have shown by spectrophotometric quantification that these surfactants extract measurable amounts of DNA into a water-immiscible solvent layer, which can then be removed from the media. The DNA can then be further amplified and purified for analysis. Further refinement of extraction methods utilizing these surfactants could prove a tremendous asset to research attempting to elucidate the possible genetic content of eDNA and the mechanisms behind its often crucial role in environmental and biological media.