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Thermo Fisher Scientific Launches Industry’s Only End-to-End, NGS Genotyping Solution for Expanded Microbial Analysis

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Scientists conducting microbial research now have access to the industry’s first end-to-end next-generation sequencing genotyping solution that enables culture-free assessment of complex bacterial populations. Designed for microbiome and industrial bioproduction applications, the new Ion 16S Metagenomics Kit provides a streamlined method for identifying bacteria from mixed culture samples.

Recent years have seen a steady increase in studies of the human microbiome -- the community of an estimated 100 trillion bacterial organisms that live on and inside the body -- as researchers work to understand the role it plays in human health and disease. Early studies suggest that there is a direct correlation between changes in the microbiome population and various disease states. However, until now, the field has lacked a solution that offers a uniform sample preparation, sequencing and analysis workflow for genetic classification of microbial species. The new kit is designed for use with the Ion PGM System and Ion Reporter software for data analysis.

“We found the Ion 16S Metagenomics Kit to be easy to work with,” said George Watts, Ph.D., co-director, Genomics Shared Service, University of Arizona Cancer Center. “In addition to standardizing our 16S library preparation, the Ion Reporter metagenomics work-flow simplified data analysis and storage. Comparison of our results obtained through home-brewed methods and the Ion Torrent kit showed good concordance. For laboratories without established in-house protocols and bioinformatics pipelines, the Ion 16S Metagenomics Kit paired with Ion Reporter will allow them to implement 16S rRNA sequencing with minimal effort.”

Researchers previously relied on culturing techniques to identify bacterial population in samples, yet the accuracy of this approach is limited since some microbes are difficult to culture in the lab – leading some to go undetected. The Ion 16S Metagenomics Kit removes the need to culture by employing targeted genetic sequencing for rapid and sensitive detection of bacteria species in complex samples.

“The rapidly growing body of evidence supporting the microbiome’s role in human health has inspired our R&D team to create a complete solution that leverages the speed and accuracy of next generation sequencing,” said Chris Linthwaite, head of Genetic Sciences Research for Thermo Fisher Scientific. “The new Ion16S Metagenomics Kit now provides scientists with a fast and low-cost approach to elucidate what is yet to be discovered in this emerging field of research.”

The 16S Metagenomics Kit’s speed and ease-of-use also has the potential to detect contaminants in commercial facilities in conjunction with currently available genotypic identification methods, allowing users to reduce time and cost of quality control.

“The Ion 16S metagenomics system is a great complement to the industry-leading genotypic microbial identification method employed by the MicroSEQ Rapid Microbial Identification System,” said Michael Brewer, head of Pharmaceutical Analytics, Bioproduction at Thermo Fisher Scientific. “The kit enables customers to rapidly assess the bacterial population in complex samples via genus or species level identification, generally without a culture step. We see the combination of these two approaches as a new paradigm in accuracy and rapid time-to-result for identifications in the modern microbiology lab.”
Ion 16S Metagenomics Kit is for research use only; not for use in diagnostic procedures.