ZyGem has introduced a new microbial fingerprinting diagnostic technology that is expected to reduce the complexity and time needed to identify unknown infectious agents in mixed population samples.

The approach is designed to run on ZyGem’s new MicroLab platform. The company claimed that the platform has the potential to accurately identify up to 30 types of microbes simultaneously from a single sample in less than an hour.

The microbial fingerprinting assay run on the new ZyGem/MicroLab platform uses a catalog of DNA markers to identify multiple microbial infectious agents in a single reaction that is expected to take less than an hour from sample to answer.

The system combines ZyGem’s proprietary DNA extraction and microbial detection technologies with PCR amplification in a single automated reaction that occurs in its integrated ZyGem/MicroLab microfluidic device.

The device miniaturizes the entire DNA testing process within a single closed system, which reduces the amount of sample and reagents needed while virtually eliminating the chance for handling error or contamination.

ZyGem has also developed complementary technology that enables the approach to accurately identify microbes from dilute samples.

The ZyGem/MicroLab system can perform multiplexed analyses and can also be configured for specific applications. Its small size and ease-of-use make it suitable for applications both in the laboratory and in the field.

Paul Kinnon, CEO of ZyGem, said: “Our DNA microbial fingerprinting platform is a premier example of the transformational potential of combining our unique assays and reagents with MicroLab’s revolutionary microfluidic device. ZyGem’s integrated system can rapidly produce accurate microbial profiles from mixed samples of unknown origin in a single step, compared to the multi-step, multiple-instrument, many-hours-long process that is required currently.”