Scientists test handheld DNA sequencers for microbial monitoring



Researchers have evaluated a handheld DNA sequencing system to be used in environmental monitoring at meals factories.
The research, by researchers from the Teagasc meals analysis program and APC Microbiome Eire’s Science Basis Eire Analysis Centre, examined transportable DNA sequencers as a routine microbial monitoring instrument in meals manufacturing services. It was funded by the Division of Agriculture, Meals and the Marine (DAFM).
Small, transportable, DNA sequencers present the primary steps towards real-time business paced microbial classification and evaluation, mentioned researchers within the journal npj Science of meals.
Microbes in meals may cause spoilage and illness, so routine checks in manufacturing websites are obligatory. Correct identification of microorganisms within the meals chain permits sources of contamination to be recognized and management measures to be put in place. Nevertheless, present strategies, whereas tried and examined, have some limitations, researchers reported.
Advancing microbiology
“Microbiology testing within the meals chain has, and continues to, depend on older, classical microbiology testing corresponding to the usage of agar and petri dishes. It is a time-consuming method and solely microorganisms which are being particularly examined for are recognized,” mentioned professor Paul Cotter, the research’s senior creator.
As an alternative of culturing bacterial samples in petri dishes, DNA sequencing can quickly analyze bacterial DNA and establish the species in a pattern. Nevertheless, typical sequencing entails costly lab-based tools and solely extremely skilled technicians can do the process and analyze outcomes. This implies it isn’t an excellent match for routine microbial surveillance in busy meals manufacturing crops.
Professor Cotter and colleagues, led by Aoife McHugh, in contrast the efficiency of Oxford Nanopore Applied sciences and Illumina sequencing to culture-based strategies for environmental monitoring of a dairy plant.
Oxford Nanopore’s MinION handheld system was much like the bigger lab-based sequencing system by way of the variety of bacterial species it may establish in samples, suggesting it has potential as a routine monitoring system in meals manufacturing. Nevertheless, the small system requires a minimal quantity of DNA earlier than it may well operate appropriately.
A step towards non-experts utilizing DNA sequencing instruments
Eight places within the facility had been swabbed on three totally different days in October, November, and December 2018, after cleansing in place however earlier than the subsequent spherical of dairy processing.
Within the cleaned dairy facility there weren’t sufficient micro organism in lots of the samples, so researchers needed to carry out an additional step to amplify the bacterial DNA earlier than there was sufficient to investigate. They mentioned additional improvement of the expertise might assist to beat this subject.
Researchers beforehand decided the power of MinION-based speedy sequencing to appropriately classify a four-strain, mock group of associated spore-forming microorganisms of relevance to the dairy processing chain together with Bacillus cereus, which may trigger infections in people.
Cotter mentioned the usage of DNA sequencing applied sciences to boost meals high quality and security can have an effect on on a regular basis life.
“This research represents a key step towards a day when non-experts can use DNA sequencing instruments to hold out microbiology testing within the meals chain.”
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