The effect of filtration method on the efficiency of environmental DNA capture and quantification via metabarcoding

Jianlong Li, Lori Jayne Lawson Handley, Daniel S. Read, Bernd Hänfling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a promising tool for rapid and noninvasive biodiversity monitoring. eDNA density is low in environmental samples, and a capture method, such as filtration, is often required to concentrate eDNA for downstream analyses. In this study, six treatments, with differing filter types and pore sizes for eDNA capture, were compared for their efficiency and accuracy to assess fish community structure with known fish abundance and biomass via eDNA metabarcoding. Our results showed that different filters (with the exception of 20-μm large-pore filters) were broadly consistent in their DNA capture ability. The 0.45-μm filters performed the best in terms of total DNA yield, probability of species detection, repeatability within pond and consistency between ponds. However performance of 0.45-μm filters was only marginally better than for 0.8-μm filters, while filtration time was significantly longer. Given this trade-off, the 0.8-μm filter is the optimal pore size of membrane filter for turbid, eutrophic and high fish density ponds analysed here. The 0.45-μm Sterivex enclosed filters performed reasonably well and are suitable in situations where on-site filtration is required. Finally, prefilters are applied only if absolutely essential for reducing the filtration time or increasing the throughput volume of the capture filters. In summary, we found encouraging similarity in the results obtained from different filtration methods, but the optimal pore size of filter or filter type might strongly depend on the water type under study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1102-1114
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Ecology Resources
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2018


  • eDNA method development
  • fish monitoring
  • lentic systems
  • prefiltration


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