The practical advantages of capillary whole blood collection over venipuncture plasma collection for human exposome research are well known. However, before epidemiologists, clinicians, and public health researchers employ these microvolume sample collections, a rigorous evaluation of pre-analytical storage conditions is needed to develop protocols that maximize sample stability and reliability over time. Therefore, we performed a controlled experiment of dried whole blood collected on 10 μL Mitra microsamplers (DBM), 5-mm punches of whole blood from a dried blood spot (DBS), and 10 μL of plasma, and evaluated the effects of storage conditions at 4 °C, −20 °C, or −80 °C for up to 6 months on the resulting metabolite profiles measured with untargeted liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS). At −80 °C storage conditions, metabolite profiles from DBS, DBM, and plasma showed similar stability. While DBS and DBM metabolite profiles remained similarly stable at −20 °C storage, plasma profiles showed decreased stability at −20 °C compared to −80 °C storage. At refrigerated temperatures (4 °C), metabolite profiles collected on DBM were more stable than plasma or DBS, particularly for lipid classes. These results inform robust capillary blood sample storage protocols for DBM and DBS at potentially warmer temperatures than −80 °C, which may facilitate blood collections for populations outside of a clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number169383
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 20 Feb 2024


  • Dried blood spots
  • Exposome
  • Metabolomics
  • Microsamplers
  • Storage conditions
  • Temperature


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