A preliminary study of the use of MinION sequencing to specifcally detect Shiga toxin‑producing Escherichia coli in culture swipes containing multiple serovars of this species
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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An important challenge relating to clinical diagnostics of the foodborne pathogen Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC), is that PCR-detection of the shiga-toxin gene (stx) in DNA from stool samples can be accompanied by a failure to identify an STEC isolate in pure culture on agar. In this study, we have explored the use of MinION long-read sequencing of DNA from bacterial culture swipes to detect the presence of STEC, and bioinformatic tools to characterize the STEC virulence factors. The online workflow “What’s in my pot” (WIMP) in the Epi2me cloud service, rapidly identified STEC also when it was present in culture swipes together with multiple other E. coli serovars, given sufficient abundance. These preliminary results provide useful information about the sensitivity of the method, which has potential to be used in clinical diagnostic of STEC, particularly in cases where a pure culture of the STEC isolate is not obtained due to the ‘STEC lost Shiga toxin’ phenomenon.