A system for rapid eDNA detection of aquatic invasive species

Thomas et al. 2019. Environmental DNA

The paper is available at the publisher's website. You can read the abstract below:

                                                                         Abstract

"Environmental DNA (eDNA) detection of aquatic invasive species using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is a powerful tool for resource managers, but qPCR has traditionally been confined to laboratory analysis. Laboratory results often take days or weeks to be produced, limiting options for rapid management response. To circumvent laboratory delay, we combined a purpose-built eDNA filtration system (Smith-Root eDNA-Sampler) with a field DNA extraction and qPCR analysis platform (Biomeme) to form a complete field eDNA sampling and detection process. A controlled laboratory study involving serial dilutions of New Zealand mudsnail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum; Gray, 1843) eDNA was conducted to compare the detection capabilities of the field system with traditional bench qPCR. Additionally, field validation studies were conducted to determine whether field eDNA analysis can be used to map mudsnail eDNA distribution and quantify temporal fluctuations. In the laboratory experiment, both qPCR platforms (Biomeme, bench qPCR) lost the ability to reliably detect mudsnail eDNA at the same dilution level, with starting quantity values as low as 21 DNA copies/reaction. A strong linear relationship was observed between the average quantification cycle values of the two platforms (slope = 1.101, intercept = −1.816, R2 = 0.997, p < 0.001). Of the 80 field samples collected, 44 (55%) tested positive for mudsnail eDNA with Biomeme, and results identified both spatial and temporal fluctuations in mudsnail eDNA/L. However, the average qPCR inhibition rate with Biomeme was 28% for field samples, and up to 39% in the temporal dataset. With additional optimization to reduce inhibition, the eDNA-Sampler/Biomeme system has potential to be a rapid and highly effective detection/quantification tool for aquatic invasive species."