Neogen expands next generation sequencing services

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Neogen’s GeneSeek facilities in Lincoln, Nebraska
Neogen’s GeneSeek facilities in Lincoln, Nebraska

Related tags: Dna, Bacteria

Neogen Corporation has launched next generation sequencing services for the food industry.

NeoSeek uses an application of 16s metagenomics to determine all bacteria in a sample, without introducing biases from culture media or the need to generate a bacterial isolate for each microbe in a sample.

Next generation sequencing provides additional data to determine spoilage organisms and potential sources, microbiological profiles of a facility or potential microbiological limitations of shelf life.

Neogen said comparing sample types such as raw materials, environmental swabs and in-process materials, provides an understanding of all bacteria in a food facility and their sources.

Companies can then use this information to make adjustments to food safety protocols.

Removing media bias

Joe Heinzelmann, of Neogen, said turnaround time is 10-14 days.

“We are using the Illumina short read platforms. Most of the work is being done on the MiSeq. We are targeting the v4 region of the 16s gene. Approximately ~450 base pairs in length.

“This is a targeted approach. We amplify the v4 region of the 16s gene. The short read Illumina technology is better at analyzing a lot of genes (or different 16s genes) in multiple samples versus traditional Sanger sequencing.

“This is a great example of the expansion of CIDT and showcases how the information can really change as you move away from culture dependence. We are seeing a lot of anaerobic or non-culturable organisms in these analyses.”

Culture-independent diagnostic tests (CIDTs) detect the presence of a specific antigen or genetic sequence of a germ and do not require isolation and identification of living organisms so are quicker and give results sooner than traditional culturing methods.

However, because they do not provide isolates (the organism that caused illness), it is not possible to run tests that determine an organism’s DNA fingerprint, strain or subtype or resistance pattern.

Deeper level of understanding

Tests will be done at the GeneSeek facilities in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“NeoSeek genomic testing services will provide food production companies a new and deeper level of information that was previously not accessible through traditional testing methods​,” said Neogen’s Ed Bradley, VP of food safety.

“Accurately and definitively determining the bacteria responsible for a food spoilage issue, for example, and where it may be located in a facility using one test, can help the food industry identify and eliminate food quality and safety concerns before they occur.

The bioinformatics have been supplied by Metagenome Analytics (MGA) and will help Neogen build and maintain databases for the food industry.

NeoSeek genomic services also include Salmonella serotyping, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) confirmation service and meat species identification.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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