Handheld DNA sequencers could become a useful tool for manufacturers


Handheld units might allow meals producers to carry out routine surveillance shortly and has benefits over conventional lab-based strategies – although there are hurdles to beat.

Handheld units are properly suited to environmental monitoring throughout meals manufacturing, and have key benefits in ease of use and in figuring out a broad number of micro organism, in response to a brand new examine printed within the journal npj science of meals (a Nature companion journal).
The examine, by researchers from the Teagasc Meals Analysis Programme and APC Microbiome Eire SFI Analysis Centre, is reportedly the primary to check handheld DNA sequencers as a routine microbial monitoring resolution for meals manufacturing services.
Microbes trigger meals spoilage and illness, so routine checks on the microbial life in meals manufacturing services is clearly necessary. Nonetheless, the analysis group says present strategies and strategies, although tried and examined, have their limitations.
“Microbiology testing within the meals chain has, and continues to, depend on older, classical microbiology testing comparable to using agar and petri dishes,” defined the examine’s senior creator, Professor Paul Cotter. “This can be a time-consuming method and solely microorganisms which can be being particularly examined for are recognized.”
DNA sequencing provides an alternate. As an alternative of culturing bacterial samples in petri dishes, it may well quickly analyse bacterial DNA and determine the species in a pattern.
Nonetheless, typical DNA sequencing can contain costly lab-based tools and solely extremely educated lab technicians can carry out the process and analyse the outcomes.
This makes it doubtlessly unsuitable for meals manufacturing services which have to shortly and often take a look at their merchandise. A more moderen expertise provides speedy DNA sequencing with an easy-to-use handheld system, however no-one had examined its potential in meals manufacturing – till now. Professor Cotter and colleagues, led by Dr Aoife McHugh, investigated how moveable sequencing expertise would evaluate with lab-based sequencing, utilizing swab samples from a working dairy facility.
The hand-held system proved to be much like the bigger lab-based sequencing system by way of the variety of bacterial species it might determine within the samples, which the analysis group believes might make it appropriate to be used by busy meals producers. Nonetheless, the small system requires a minimal quantity of DNA earlier than it may well perform accurately.
Within the well-cleaned dairy facility, researchers stated there merely weren’t sufficient micro organism in most of the samples, so the researchers needed to carry out an additional step to amplify the bacterial DNA earlier than there was sufficient to analyse.
“As microbiologists, using DNA sequencing has revolutionised our understanding of fascinating microbial communities on the backside of oceans, the tops of icebergs and an enormous vary of different environments,” stated Professor Cotter.
“Whereas such research have the potential to influence on our lives in the long run, using these applied sciences to boost meals high quality and security can have a really speedy influence on on a regular basis life. This examine represents a key step in direction of a day when non-experts can use DNA sequencing instruments to hold out microbiology testing within the meals chain.”


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