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Guide to Saliva Sample Handling for Proteomics and Metabolomics Studies

Saliva, a biologically significant fluid produced by the salivary glands, is replete with data that has garnered escalating prominence in the realms of proteomics and metabolomics research. Saliva stands out as a non-intrusive and accessible reservoir of biomarkers, rendering it a favored selection for a spectrum of purposes, including ailment diagnosis, pharmaceutical tracking, and the exploration of novel biomarkers.

Why Choose Saliva Samples?

Non-Invasive and Stress-Free Sampling for Humans and Animals: Saliva is a versatile choice for sample collection, ensuring a comfortable and non-invasive experience for both human and animal subjects. The non-invasive nature of saliva collection minimizes stress and discomfort, making it suitable for a broad range of research subjects.

Dynamic Biomarkers for Health and Disease: Saliva is a dynamic biofluid that contains a wide spectrum of biomolecules, including proteins, metabolites, hormones, and nucleic acids. These biomarkers provide real-time insights into the physiological and metabolic states of both humans and animals. Changes in saliva composition can reflect dynamic alterations in health or disease status, offering an opportunity for early disease detection, monitoring disease progression, and assessing responses to therapeutic interventions.

Applications in Human and Animal Research:

  • Early Disease Detection: Saliva samples are invaluable for early disease detection in both human and animal populations. Specific biomarkers present in saliva can serve as indicators of disease presence or risk, allowing for timely intervention.
  • Pharmacokinetics Studies: Saliva is an excellent choice for pharmacokinetics studies in both humans and animals. It is particularly useful for assessing drug concentrations in the oral cavity, making it relevant for studies involving oral medications.
  • Stress and Hormone Research: The analysis of saliva biomarkers is applicable to studies investigating stress responses and hormonal fluctuations in both humans and animals. This is crucial for fields like psychology, endocrinology, and veterinary medicine.
  • Psychological and Behavioral Studies: Saliva samples can be employed to assess psychological states, emotional responses, and even cognitive function in both humans and animals. This contributes to a deeper understanding of the mind-body connection in research involving psychological and behavioral aspects.

Reproducibility and Longitudinal Studies for Humans and Animals: Saliva samples can be collected at multiple time points, making them suitable for longitudinal studies involving both humans and animals. This capability allows researchers to track changes over time, providing valuable data for understanding disease progression or the effects of interventions in various species.

Convenience and Compliance: The simplicity of collecting saliva samples enhances subject and animal compliance. Subjects, whether human or animal, are more likely to participate in studies involving non-invasive sample collection methods, resulting in larger and more representative datasets.

Saliva Sample Collection Procedure

Subject Preparation:

  • Instruct subjects (human or animal) not to eat, drink, or smoke for at least 30 minutes before sample collection.
  • Explain the collection procedure clearly to minimize anxiety and ensure compliance.

Collection Method:

  • Use Salivette tubes for human samples or appropriate animal-specific collection devices.
  • Collect samples at the desired time points and record the exact timing for each sample.

Human Sample Collection:

  • Instruct human subjects to chew on a sterile cotton swab or place it under their tongue until it becomes saturated with saliva.
  • For each human subject, collect approximately 2 mL of saliva into the Salivette tube.

Animal Sample Collection:

  • Follow established, species-specific methods to stimulate saliva flow in animals without causing stress.
  • Collect an appropriate volume of saliva, typically 0.5 mL to 1 mL, based on the animal's size and saliva production rate.

Sample Storage:

  • Transfer the saturated cotton swabs or collection devices into sterile containers.
  • Label each container with the subject's identification, date, and time of collection.

Saliva Sample Storage Conditions


  • Store saliva samples at an appropriate temperature to maintain their integrity:
  • Long-term storage: -80°C or in liquid nitrogen
  • Short-term storage: -20°C

Avoid Freeze-Thaw Cycles:

  • Minimize freeze-thaw cycles to prevent biomarker degradation.
  • Divide samples into smaller aliquots to limit the need for repeated freeze-thaw cycles.

Protection from Contamination:

  • Ensure that all handling procedures are conducted under aseptic conditions to prevent contamination.

Temperature Monitoring:

  • Regularly monitor and record temperature conditions in storage equipment to maintain stability.

Documentation and Tracking

1. Maintain comprehensive and organized records of sample storage conditions, sample identity, and other pertinent information.

2. Proper documentation is essential for tracking and tracing samples throughout the research process.

* For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.
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