• Detection and Enumeration of Spore-Forming Bacteria in Powdered Dairy Products

      McHugh, Aoife; Feehily, Conor; Hill, Colin; Cotter, Paul D.; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Frontiers, 2017-01-31)
      With the abolition of milk quotas in the European Union in 2015, several member states including Ireland, Luxembourg, and Belgium have seen year on year bi-monthly milk deliveries to dairies increase by up to 35%. Milk production has also increased outside of Europe in the past number of years. Unsurprisingly, there has been a corresponding increased focus on the production of dried milk products for improved shelf life. These powders are used in a wide variety of products, including confectionery, infant formula, sports dietary supplements and supplements for health recovery. To ensure quality and safety standards in the dairy sector, strict controls are in place with respect to the acceptable quantity and species of microorganisms present in these products. A particular emphasis on spore-forming bacteria is necessary due to their inherent ability to survive extreme processing conditions. Traditional microbiological detection methods used in industry have limitations in terms of time, efficiency, accuracy, and sensitivity. The following review will explore the common spore-forming bacterial contaminants of milk powders, will review the guidelines with respect to the acceptable limits of these microorganisms and will provide an insight into recent advances in methods for detecting these microbes. The various advantages and limitations with respect to the application of these diagnostics approaches for dairy food will be provided. It is anticipated that the optimization and application of these methods in appropriate ways can ensure that the enhanced pressures associated with increased production will not result in any lessening of safety and quality standards.
    • Evaluation of methods for the reduction of contaminating host reads when performing shotgun metagenomic sequencing of the milk microbiome

      Yap, Min; Feehily, Conor; Walsh, Calum J.; Fenelon, Mark; Murphy, Eileen F.; McAuliffe, Fionnuala M.; van Sinderen, Douwe; O’Toole, Paul W.; O’Sullivan, Orla; Cotter, Paul D.; et al. (Springer, 2020-12-10)
      Shotgun metagenomic sequencing is a valuable tool for the taxonomic and functional profiling of microbial communities. However, this approach is challenging in samples, such as milk, where a low microbial abundance, combined with high levels of host DNA, result in inefficient and uneconomical sequencing. Here we evaluate approaches to deplete host DNA or enrich microbial DNA prior to sequencing using three commercially available kits. We compared the percentage of microbial reads obtained from each kit after shotgun metagenomic sequencing. Using bovine and human milk samples, we determined that host depletion with the MolYsis complete5 kit significantly improved microbial sequencing depth compared to other approaches tested. Importantly, no biases were introduced. Additionally, the increased microbial sequencing depth allowed for further characterization of the microbiome through the generation of metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs). Furthermore, with the use of a mock community, we compared three common classifiers and determined that Kraken2 was the optimal classifier for these samples. This evaluation shows that microbiome analysis can be performed on both bovine and human milk samples at a much greater resolution without the need for more expensive deep-sequencing approaches.