A hands-free stool sampling system for monitoring intestinal health and disease

TitleA hands-free stool sampling system for monitoring intestinal health and disease
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsSonia Grego, Claire M. Welling, Graham H. Miller, Peter F. Coggan, Katelyn L. Sellgren, Brian T. Hawkins, Geoffrey S. Ginsburg, Jose R. Ruiz, Deborah A. Fisher, and Brian R. Stoner
JournalScientific Reports
Date PublishedJan-12-2022
Keywordsbiochemical assays, biomedical engineering, gastroenterology, gastrointestinal diseases

Analysis of stool offers simple, non-invasive monitoring for many gastrointestinal (GI) diseases and access to the gut microbiome, however adherence to stool sampling protocols remains a major challenge because of the prevalent dislike of handling one’s feces. We present a technology that enables individual stool specimen collection from toilet wastewater for fecal protein and molecular assay. Human stool specimens and a benchtop test platform integrated with a commercial toilet were used to demonstrate reliable specimen collection over a wide range of stool consistencies by solid/liquid separation followed by spray-erosion. The obtained fecal suspensions were used to perform occult blood tests for GI cancer screening and for microbiome 16S rRNA analysis. Using occult blood home test kits, we found overall 90% agreement with standard sampling, 96% sensitivity and 86% specificity. Microbiome analysis revealed no significant difference in within-sample species diversity compared to standard sampling and specimen cross-contamination was below the detection limit of the assay. Furthermore, we report on the use of an analogue turbidity sensor to assess in real time loose stools for tracking of diarrhea. Implementation of this technology in residential settings will improve the quality of GI healthcare by facilitating increased adherence to routine stool monitoring.

Short TitleSci Rep