AOAC meeting recap: metagenomics, Meiothermus and an award-winning poster

For over a century — a whopping 131 years, to be exact — the AOAC has held an annual meeting and exposition where scientists from around the world gather to hold roundtables, workshops and present their latest work to others in the community.

Neogen was proud to present several posters this year, including one from Edan Hosking, whose work was honored with an award, the “First-Time Poster Presenter,” at the expo, which took place in Atlanta, Georgia.

Here’s what Hosking had to say about the event, his research, and the award.

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At the meeting, I was fortunate to attend several scientific talks on metagenomics and proteomics as food safety tools for food producers.

Not only are these great learning opportunities for myself, they are also opportunities for those of us at Neogen to discuss the technology we’ve developed to address the issues our customers face. We also get to educate our industry partners on these technologies, and how they’re being used by government and regulatory agencies.

While at the meeting, I also presented a poster titled, “16s Metagenomic Sequencing of a Facility to Determine Point Source Contamination of Products.” The data presented on the poster — and the discussion that was had about it — centered on a particular case study. The study outlined Neogen’s efforts to identify sources of contamination of a client’s supplied product and environmental samples. With the research, we hoped to find out what the contaminating microorganisms were and where in the facility they were being harbored.

The poster’s data was generated at Neogen’s GeneSeek operations in Lincoln, Nebraska. We found that one contamination source was a microorganism called Meiothermus, which was residing in a hot water bath. Removing said bath made the contaminating organism disappear.

The case study shows how 16s metagenomics sequencing can be used by food producers to better understand spoilage events: by identifying the organism responsible, and what the source is.

This study is a great tool because it shows we practice what we preach, using it to solve our own issues. Studies around sanitation and cleaning can also be performed to help our customers know if their practices are efficiently controlling potential spoilage microorganisms in their plants. That’s why we enjoy presenting at these expos; we can highlight the ways we can help our customers, and bring a greater scientific understanding to the technology and its applications.

As a first-time poster presenter at AOAC, I was eligible for the “First-Time Poster Presenter” award, and was honored by being one of the three presenters selected as winners. The judges evaluated the presenter’s ability to communicate their message, as well as the poster itself.

At last year’s meeting in Dallas, Neogen’s Brooke Roman was announced one of the winners for her poster, “Validation of MAX Aqueous Extraction on Veratox for Total Aflatoxin ELISA Test Kit.”

For more information on what Neogen’s 16s metagenomics services can do for the food processing industry, click here.

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