Researchers plan to develop a screening assay for the detection of pathogens and antibiotic-resistant genes in certain environments.

The Center for Microbial Ecology and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan State University will use BioTrove OpenArray™ technology for pathogen detection, genetic screening, and microbial community analysis.

“With technology superior to many traditional approaches, the OpenArray platform enables us to study mixed microbial systems in a manner that is not possible by any other technology,” notes Syed Hashsham, Ph.D., Edwin Willits associate professor of environmental engineering, and one of the research leaders. “In terms of quantitation, sample throughput, number of target genes to be analyzed, specificity, amount of biological material needed, cost, robustness, ruggedness, and sensitivity, OpenArray truly represents the next generation of real-time PCR and SNP genotyping technology.”

The Michigan State research team will use this tool to develop an assay to screen for pathogens and antibiotic-resistant genes, allowing researchers to identify particular pathogens and confirm or refute their presence in environments such as the water supply. Additionally, by studying the dynamics of functional genes and key microbial populations in environmental systems such as wastewater treatment plants and contaminant remediation sites, researchers will be able to evaluate the effectiveness of such treatment facilities.

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