The hereditary material present in all living cells, DNA, is well-suited for use in diagnosis. Our scientists use DNA-based methods to detect bacterial communities (microbiota) in food, people and production animals. Methods based on DNA and RNA are used to study bacterial function.
At Nofima, we use “next generation sequencing” (NGS)to characterise the microbiota, sequence bacterial genomes, and study gene expression (the transcriptome) in bacteria. Most analyses are carried out with our MiSeq (Illumina) sequencing machine.
Studies of microbiota in the environment, food and intestinal samples
We analyse the microbiota in many different types of sample – anything from samples of biofilms in the production environment, spoilage bacteria in food, the bacteria that arises during spontaneous fermentation, and the faeces of people and animals. Nofima emphasises the importance of understanding the significance of the intestinal flora for health in animals and people, and we study how the food one eats can modify the intestinal flora in a positive direction. We use our in vitro model of the large intestine in this research, and we collaborate with medical and veterinary scientists for in vivo studies.
Nofima uses state-of-the-art technology and methods to study the microbiota, and we use advanced bioinformatical and statistical analysis. Our experts in statistics have led the way since the 1970s in developing multivariate methods for data analysis. These methods are necessary to extract relevant information from large amounts of data, and are used, for example, to identify the bacteria in the intestinal flora that have an important relationship to various dietary and health indicators. The analysis of the microbiota generates information about taxonomy and diversity.
“Omics” – bacterial functionality
We use genome- and transcriptome sequencing to map the functional properties of bacteria. We study the properties of both beneficial and pathogenic bacteria, and we study how bacteria adapt to changes in the environment on a genetic level.