ISO 17601:2016 specifies the crucial steps of a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) method to measure the abundance of selected microbial gene sequences from soil DNA extract which provides an estimation of selected microbial groups.
It is noteworthy that the number of genes is not necessarily directly linked to the number of organisms that are measured. For example, the number of ribosomal operon is ranging from one copy to 20 copies in different bacterial phyla. Therefore, the number of 16S rRNA sequences quantified from soil DNA extracts does not give an exact estimate of the number of soil bacteria. Furthermore, the number of sequences is not necessarily linked to living microorganisms and can comprise sequences amplified from dead microorganisms.