visual representation of DNA

Study Identifies Key Contamination Sources in Metagenomic Next-Generation Sequencing

Micronbrane Medical sets a new standard for mNGS-grade reagents to enhance the accuracy of pathogen identification.

ZHUBEI CITY, TAIWAN, June 25, 2024  – Micronbrane Medical, a pioneering force in metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS), today announced results from research conducted by the Po-Ren Hsueh lab at the China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan that was featured at the 2024 American Society of Microbiology conference. The study, entitled “Deciphering the Impact of Contaminating Microflora in DNA Extraction Reagents on mNGS Workflows,” shows how common and detrimental it is when foreign genetic material is introduced into clinical samples and proposes measures to improve mNGS results for pathogen identification.

Metagenomic NGS is increasingly used to study, diagnose, and track infectious diseases. Unlike current testing methods, mNGS can simultaneously identify known and novel bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. While fast and comprehensive, mNGS is highly sensitive because it sequences genetic material from the host, laboratory environment, and reagents used in the workflow. To identify the cause of infection by mNGS, the tiny amount of microbial DNA must be separated from the larger proportion of host and contaminating DNA.

“Our study shows that background microflora are introduced in the laboratory, but especially from extraction reagents, and that contamination levels vary by manufacturer and lot,” said Po-Ren Hsueh, Vice President of China Medical University. “These data indicate a need to reduce laboratory contamination events, obtain reagent-lot background data, implement workflow controls, and use mNGS-specific bioinformatic pipelines to accurately report the true microbial content of the sample.”

Without compensating for the overwhelming amount of host DNA and contaminants, mNGS protocols will require more sequencing resources, which generate more data, complicating and extending the turnaround time for results.

“Dr. Hsueh’s findings highlight the importance of improved mNGS assays that are more efficient and cost-effective to advance microbiology and build trust in the technology’s capabilities,” said Mengchu Wu, Ph.D., co-founder, CEO, and chairwoman of Micronbrane Medical. “Our Pathogen Real-Time Identification by Sequencing (PaRTI-Seq™) assay uses specially developed reagents to mitigate the effect of contaminating nucleic acids. Combined with our host depletion filters, library preparation, and PaRTI-Cular™ bioinformatic pipeline, we hope these improvements will help mNGS become an indispensable tool for infectious disease diagnosis.”

In the study, Micronbrane Medical’s Devin™ Microbial Enrichment Kit demonstrated fewer contaminants compared to other common reagent brands. The company, focusing exclusively on microbiology, employs stringent measures during development and manufacturing to minimize contamination. Each lot is accompanied by a certificate of authorization detailing any background microflora. As a result, the Devin Microbial Enrichment Kit is classified as ‘mNGS-grade,’ signifying its high level of precision and suitability for metagenomic next-generation sequencing. 

By addressing contaminations that obscure microbial signals, the scientific and clinical communities can take a significant step towards more reliable and accurate pathogen detection through mNGS. For more information about the study and Micronbrane Medical’s PaRTI-Seq assay, including the Devin Microbial Enrichment kit, please visit micronbrane.com.

About Micronbrane Medical

At Micronbrane Medical, our mission is to develop genomic innovations that enrich our understanding of microorganisms to benefit human health and sustainability. The company’s proprietary technologies include specialized collection devices, novel host depletion, mNGS-grade reagents and consumables, advanced metagenomic sequencing assays, plus rapid bioinformatic analysis software. The combined Micronbrane Medical solution enables fast and accurate identification and monitoring of a broad range of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites. Headquartered in Taiwan, the company has partnerships and collaborations with leading academic institutions, health systems, and clinical laboratories worldwide, underscoring its commitment to transforming our relationship with microorganisms. For more information visit https://micronbrane.com/.