Targeted Next-Generation Sequencing Assay for Direct Detection and Serotyping of Salmonella from Enrichment

Andrew Lin et al. February 28, 2024

Journal of Food Protection

Lin A., Singh A., Allred A., Allard M., Waltman D., Imanian B., Ng J.H.J, Sanahmadi Y. & Khaksar R.


In this study, an automated, targeted next-generation sequencing (tNGS) assay to detect and serotype Salmonella from sample enrichments was evaluated. The assay generates millions of reads to detect multiple Salmonella-specific genes and serotype-specific alleles, detecting all Salmonella spp. tested to date, and serotyping 62 common Salmonella serotypes. Accuracy was tested on 291 pure reference cultures (251 Salmonella, 40 non-Salmonella), 21 artificially contaminated poultry carcass rinse samples, and 363 naturally contaminated poultry environmental samples. Among the 291 pure reference cultures, the automated tNGS assay resulted in 100% detection accuracy, 100% serotyping accuracy for the claimed serotypes, and 0% false positives. The limit of detection was estimated at 5 × 104 CFU/mL by testing enumerated cultures of strains representative of six serotypes. In cocontamination studies with mixtures of two serotypes (Enteritidis, Typhimurium, Kentucky, Infantis, and Newport) at a 1:1 ratio, tNGS detected both serotypes with 100% accuracy. The assay demonstrated 100% accuracy in artificially contaminated poultry carcass rinse sample enrichments. Targeted NGS was highly effective in detecting Salmonella in samples collected from poultry production facilities. Results demonstrated that tNGS could detect Salmonella and provide accurate serotyping information consistent with conventional serology. These findings highlight the reliable and efficient performance of a fully automated tNGS Salmonella assay in detecting and identifying Salmonella strains in complex matrices, reducing the time to results from 4 to 5 days required by the traditional isolation and serotyping to 10–12 h for tNGS after primary enrichment.

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