Protocol for Mechanical Dissociation and DNA Extraction of sample (Using QIAmp DNA Mini Kit)

This protocol was designed for microbiome analysis in sputum (although other samples can be used with slight modifications) and was adapted and used in this article by Burgener et al for phage DNA extraction you can use the isolation-of-phage-DNA-miniprep-protocol.

 In brief, if necessary for aliquoting, neat sputum will crudely be homogenized with 5–10 pumps of 18 g needle and syringe. Approximately 200 μL of neat sputum will be added to a 2.0 ml tube filled ∼1/5 by volume with 1 mm ceramic beads. Proteinase K (20 μL) and buffer AL (Qiagen) (200 μL) from the QIAamp DNA Mini Kit by QIAGEN will be added before the samples undergo mechanical bead beating (MagNA Lyser Instrument) for 60 s at 6500 rpm followed by 2–3 min of cooling and the second round of 60 s at 6500 rpm. The homogenate will then be incubated for lysis and disinfection. DNA extraction will then be performed as per the manufacturer's protocol for tissue starting with the steps after buffer AL (Qiagen) addition. DNA will be eluted by adding 200 μL of elution buffer AE (Qiagen). This is described in detail below.

DNA extraction steps
DNA extraction

Protocol for Mechanical Dissociation and DNA Extraction


 • Ethanol
 • Proteinase K and buffers from QIAmp DNA Mini Kit


 • 18-Gauge needles
 • 3 mL syringes
 • Pipettes
 • Ceramic beads (1 mm) and 2 mL impact-resistant sterile tubes with a screw cap
 • Mechanical homogenizer such as MagNA Lyser Instrument (Roche)
 • Dry block incubator
 • 2 mL spin columns from QIAmp DNA Mini Kit
 • 1.5 mL Eppendorf tubes
 • Vortex mixer
 • Centrifuge


  1. Thaw sputum at room temperature
  2. If unable to pipette sputum, then use 18 g needle to homogenize, 5–10 slow pumps up and down. Then pipette 200 μL of sputum sample in bead beating tube with ∼1/5 filled with ceramic beads
  3. Add 20 μL of proteinase K and 200 μL of buffer AL (Qiagen) to the sample
  4. Vortex for 15 s
  5. Bead beat for 30 s at 6500 rpm on MagNA Lyser Instrument. Place in a cooling rack for ∼1 to 2 min. Beat again for 30 s at 6500 rpm.
  6. Incubate at 56°C for 10 min
  7. Incubate at 95°C for 5 min for lysis and disinfection
  8. Add 200 μL ethanol to the sample in the bead beating tube
  9. Vortex for 15 s, followed by brief centrifuging of the tube
  10. Carefully apply the mixture to the QIAmp spin column in a 2 ml collection tube. Centrifuge at 6000 g for 1 min
  11. Place the column in a clean 2 mL collection tube. Pour the flow through into a toxic waste bottle (buffer AL contains guanidine hydrochloride) and discard the empty collection tube
  12. Add 500 μL wash buffer AW1 (Qiagen) to the spin column. Centrifuge at 6000 g for 1 min
  13. Place column in a clean 2 ml collection tube (kit). Pour the flow through into a toxic waste bottle (buffer AW1 contains guanidine hydrochloride) and discard the empty collection tube
  14.  Add 500 μL wash buffer AW2 (Qiagen). Centrifuge at 20,000 g for 3 min
  15.  Place the column in a clean 1.5 mL Eppendorf tube (not provided by kit) and discard the tube containing the flow-through (buffer AW2 (Qiagen) does not contain guanidine hydrochloride)
  16. Add 200 μL elution buffer AE (Qiagen). Incubate at room temperature for 5 min
  17. Centrifuge at 6000 g for 1 min
  18. Store DNA at −20°C or −80°C

Nucleic acid measurement

The yield of nucleic acid after DNA extraction can be measured using a NanoDrop 2000 Spectrophotometer (Thermo Fisher Scientific) in 2 μL of the sample.

About the author

Hello there!
I'm Raphael Hans Lwesya, My true passion lies in the world of phage research and science communication. As a diligent phage researcher and an enthusiastic science communicator, I've founded "," a platform dedicated to unraveling the fascinating universe of bacteriophages – viruses that specifically target microbes. My ultimate mission is to bridge the communication gap between the general public and the often intricate world of scientific concepts. I take pride in simplifying complex ideas, breaking them down into easily understandable pieces, and making cutting-edge phage-related research accessible to a wide audience. Thank you for visiting The Phage blog. If you have got any question or suggestion please drop it as a comment or via [email protected]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *