NCIMB's skilled microbiologists have extensive experience of providing fast, accurate identification of bacteria to Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) standards. We offer a range of turnaround times and prices, and will keep you informed throughout the process.
MicroSEQ microbial identification system
Benefits of a sequenced-based approach
Best available match
By their nature, environmental isolates can be very diverse, and no commercially available validated identification methods (of any kind) are exhaustive in their coverage. Therefore we sometimes find that the validated database we use returns a genus rather than a species level match. In these cases we use the the sequenced data to search other published (but non-validated) sources in order to obtain a species level match. We can also compare the sequence to the client's own historic data, or use it to search the NCIMB reference collection.
As custodians of the UK’s National Collection of Industrial, Food and Marine Bacteria, we have immediate access to this unique source of authentic reference material. We also have access to a number of private collections, ensuring a comprehensive coverage of genera and species. We believe this approach ensures our customers can obtain the best available identification for their isolates.
Mixed cultures and samples - microbial community analysis
Strain to strain comparison and differentiation
NCIMB offers comparison of isolates at strain level. This can be valuable when tracing the source of objectionable organisms in manufacturing environments and comparing them to previous contaminants. It can also be very important with respect to the use of bacteria in patented processes and for the production of probiotic products. There are two approaches we use:
- 16S rDNA sequencing can be used for basic strain comparison when the full 16s (1500bp) is sequenced. Alignment of sequences highlights major differences, but does not always distinguish between closely related strains.
- We undertake whole genome sequencing for strain to strain comparison. Various analyses can be run to compare the sequences and indicate if two genomes are the same species or strain. We also run analyses that look for genes that are shared between the genomes, and highlight those that are not, and we can look for small nucleotide variations between genomes.
Pure cultures can be sent to us for identification as plates, slopes or broths that have been incubated to produce sufficient growth. Please get in touch before shipping samples, complete a sequencing request form and send with the isolates to be identified.
We can also accept mixed cultures and other sample formats, such as samples of water, swabs, slimes or contaminated products, but please contact us to discuss the options available prior to submitting them for identification. Same and next day services may not be available for these sample types.
NCIMB does not accept active cultures of dangerous human pathogens or organisms isolated from clinical or diseased plant materials for identification. We cannot accept isolates known to be greater than ACDP category 2 and ACGM class 1.
Take care to package samples appropriately.