Surveillance of Foodborne Pathogens: Towards Diagnostic Metagenomics of Fecal Samples

Sandra Christine Andersen, Jeffrey Hoorfar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Diagnostic metagenomics is a rapidly evolving laboratory tool for culture-independent tracing of foodborne pathogens. The method has the potential to become a generic platform for detection of most pathogens and many sample types. Today, however, it is still at an early and experimental stage. Studies show that metagenomic methods, from sample storage and DNA extraction to library preparation and shotgun sequencing, have a great influence on data output. To construct protocols that extract the complete metagenome but with minimal bias is an ongoing challenge. Many different software strategies for data analysis are being developed, and several studies applying diagnostic metagenomics to human clinical samples have been published, detecting, and sometimes, typing bacterial infections. It is possible to obtain a draft genome of the pathogen and to develop methods that can theoretically be applied in real-time. Finally, diagnostic metagenomics can theoretically be better geared than conventional methods to detect co-infections. The present review focuses on the current state of test development, as well as practical implementation of diagnostic metagenomics to trace foodborne bacterial infections in fecal samples from animals and humans.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
Issue number1
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • culture independent
  • fecal sample
  • shotgun metagenomics
  • next generation sequencing
  • Genetics
  • QH426-470

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