Currently, the detection of food poison outbreaks caused by bacteria takes a long time and is expensive, but this does not have to be the case in the future. Researchers from the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen have found a method for the precise identification of bacteria in just a few hours on a mobile-phone-sized device that costs about 200 times less than alternative approaches.
A new bacterial identification method, called ON-rep-seq, examines selective, strain-specific fragments of the bacterial genome, allowing the generation of results that earlier required DNA sequencing of the entire bacterial genome or tedious approaches like pulsed field gel electrophoresis, which previously has been the golden standard for strain-level typing of microorganisms. Hence, the method has the potential to change the approach utilized for investigating food-based disease outbreaks by making analysis much less time- and cost consuming.
Currently, bacterial detection and identification based on bacterial DNA requires expensive instrumentation and many hours of work by highly trained specialists. Let’s imagine, for example, there is a suspected Salmonella outbreak. Usually in order to locate its origin, not only will investigators have to analyze many samples, but the analysis has to be precise in order to distinguish one bacterial strain from another.
“Our new method allows identification and typing of hundreds of samples in less than two hours, and we expect that this will even be reduced to “real time” in a short period of time,” says one of the researchers behind the study, Lukasz Krych, Associate Professor at the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Method builds on a device that was used for DNA sequencing in space
The new method is based on nanopore sequencing, which is a new, real-time DNA sequencing approach “that will definitely revolutionize the future of DNA sequencing” according to Lukasz Krych.
The research project was carried out in collaboration with the polish company GenXone S.A., which helped to set up a bioinformatics pipeline that is needed to perform fast and efficient analysis of the sequencing data.
The smallest ever sequencer offered by Oxford Nanopore Technologies, called MinION, is a $999 hand-held, USB-powered device that became commercially available in 2015. A year later it was taken to the International Space Station, where it achieved the first DNA sequencing in history performed in zero-gravity conditions. Despite the indisputable revolution in DNA sequencing offered by MinION, it quickly became clear that the data generated with the device are still not perfect due to e.g. sequencing errors while the analysis remained relatively expensive to perform (app. $150 per bacterium).
Small device with fast and cheap analysis offers huge opportunities within food safety
The scientists from the Department of Food Science at the University of Copenhagen have found a way to utilize this technology to analyze hundreds of bacteria at a time, cutting costs to less than $2 per bacterium, while at the same time increasing the accuracy to more than 99%.
“Our method can be used both within food safety, where you can quickly find disease-causing or health-promoting bacteria, and also in the health sector, where you will be able to perform certain analyses that you are not even considering today because of the price and time-consuming nature of traditional analysis,” says another of the researchers behind the study, Post Doc Josue Leonardo Castro Mejia.
At the moment, there are several companies testing the method to implement in their systems for establishing rapid screening programmes for thousands of strains.
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Food poisoning outbreaks
- Matt Forman: The one Wolves man for whom Chorley is not a horroron January 19, 2021 at 10:02 pm
Chorley – is enough to prompt an outbreak of cold sweats and painful flashbacks. Thoughts of a cold and miserable night, 35 years ago this November when Wolves, not long after winning a League Cup and ...
- Sweden publishes a decade of food poisoning dataon January 19, 2021 at 9:00 pm
A high number of Campylobacter infections and more cases of Salmonella infection linked to foods of non-animal origin have been identified in Sweden ...
- What You Need to Know About Listeria, the Biggest Foodborne Threat to Pregnancyon January 19, 2021 at 11:28 am
With yet another warning about Listeria being found in food products, here's what to look out for, especially if you're pregnant.
- Marin salmonella outbreak killing songbirdson January 15, 2021 at 3:17 pm
Pine Siskin songbirds sick with salmonellosis, an infection caused by salmonella bacteria, have been admitted to WildCare.
- Officials probe restaurant link in outbreak in Singaporeon January 14, 2021 at 9:00 pm
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has suspended the license of a restaurant linked to a food poisoning outbreak that left six people needing hospital ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Food poisoning outbreaks
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Food poisoning downs 6 detainees in Angeles City jailon January 19, 2021 at 10:01 pm
At least six persons under the custody of Police Station 3 of the Angeles City Police Officer (ACPO) were rushed to the hospital on Tuesday, January 19, complaining of severe abdominal pain and ...
- Two Chefs food hygiene grade goes from 'B' to 'C' after 11 people get food poisoningon January 19, 2021 at 8:26 pm
The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has adjusted the food hygiene grade of Two Chefs Eating Place from “B” to “C”, the agency said on Jan. 19, 2021. This comes after 11 people were reported to have ...
- EY staff told to work 16 hour days, weekends, and berated for getting food poisoningon January 19, 2021 at 2:34 am
It's all work and no play for EY staff in the Hong Kong office, as employees were pressured to work until 11:30pm each week night and at the weekend during the busiest period.
- 'I almost died': Former Love Island star Shelby Bilby reveals she's got food poisoningon January 18, 2021 at 10:18 pm
Former Love Island star Shelby Bilby has revealed she 'almost died' at the hands of her best friend, Ashley Irvin.
- Getting Food Poisoning, a Pregnant Woman Vomited and had Diarrhea Over 100 Timeson January 15, 2021 at 8:23 pm
It was just a simple bowl of wonton noodles, but it was enough to land one pregnant woman in hospital with food poisoning. Speaking to Shin Min Daily News, the woman, who is seven months pregnant, ...