The MinION sequencing platform offers near real-time analysis of DNA sequence; this makes the tool attractive for deployment in fieldwork or clinical settings. We used the MinION platform coupled to the NanoOK RT software package to perform shotgun metagenomic sequencing and profile mock communities and faecal samples from healthy and ill preterm infants. Using Nanopore data, we reliably classified a 20-species mock community and captured the diversity of the immature gut microbiota over time and in response to interventions such as probiotic supplementation, antibiotic treatment or episodes of suspected sepsis. We also performed rapid real-time runs to assess gut-associated microbial communities in critically ill and healthy infants, facilitated by NanoOK RT software package, which analysed sequences as they were generated. Our pipeline reliably identified pathogenic bacteria (that is, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Enterobacter cloacae) and their corresponding antimicrobial resistance gene profiles within as little as 1 h of sequencing. Results were confirmed using pathogen isolation, whole-genome sequencing and antibiotic susceptibility testing, as well as mock communities and clinical samples with known antimicrobial resistance genes. Our results demonstrate that MinION (including cost-effective Flongle flow cells) with NanoOK RT can process metagenomic samples to a rich dataset in <5 h, which creates a platform for future studies aimed at developing these tools and approaches in clinical settings with a focus on providing tailored patient antimicrobial treatment options.
Shotgun metagenomic sequencing (using the MinION platform) of mock microbial communities and faecal samples from healthy and ill preterm infants can be used to identify pathogens and their antimicrobial resistance gene profiles in real time, indicating the potential for translation into clinical settings.