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J. T. Connell - K. Yeo - G. Bouras - A. Bassiouni - K. Fenix - C. Cooksley - S. Vreugde - P.J. Wormald - A.J. Psaltis
INTRODUCTION: 16S rRNA next generation sequencing (NGS) has been the de facto standard of microbiome profiling. A limitation of this technology is the inability to accurately assign taxonomy to a species order. Long read 16S sequencing platforms, including Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT), have the potential to overcome this limitation. The paranasal sinuses are an ideal niche to apply this technology, being a low biomass environment where bacteria are implicated in disease propagation. Characterising the microbiome to a species order may offer new pathophysiological insights.
METHODOLOGY: Cohort series comparing ONT and NGS biological conclusions. Swabs obtained endoscopically from the middle meatus of 61 CRSwNP patients underwent DNA extraction, amplification and dual sequencing (Illumina Miseq (NGS) and ONT GridION). Agreement, relative abundance, prevalence, and culture correlations were compared.
RESULTS: Mean microbiome agreement between sequencers was 61.4%. Mean abundance correlations were strongest at a familial/genus order and declined at a species order where NGS lacked resolution. The most significant discrepancies applied to Corynebacterium and Cutibacterium, which were estimated in lower abundance by ONT. ONT accurately identified 84.2% of cultured species, which was significantly higher than NGS.
CONCLUSIONS: ONT demonstrated superior resolution and culture correlations to NGS, but underestimated core sinonasal taxa. Future application and optimisation of this technology can advance our understanding of the sinonasal microenvironment.
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