Biobanking in microbiology: From sample collection to epidemiology, diagnosis and research

Paolo De Paoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Millions of biological samples, including cells of human, animal or bacterial origin, viruses, serum/plasma or DNA/RNA, are stored every year throughout the world for diagnostics and research. The purpose of this review is to summarize the resources necessary to set up a biobanking facility, the challenges and pitfalls of sample collection, and the most important techniques for separation and storage of samples. Biological samples can be stored for up to 30 years, but specific protocols are required to reduce the damage induced by preservation techniques. Software dedicated to biological banks facilitate sample registration and identification, the cataloguing of sample properties (type of sample/specimen, associated diseases and/or therapeutic protocols, environmental information, etc.), sample tracking, quality assurance and specimen availability. Biobank facilities must adopt good laboratory practices and a stringent quality control system and, when required, comply with ethical issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897-910
Number of pages14
JournalFEMS Microbiology Reviews
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Biological bank
  • Cryopreservation
  • Freeze-drying
  • Quality control
  • Sample preparation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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