Aims: The aim of this investigation was to establish the degree of correlation between measurements from culture-dependent microbiological techniques and from next generation sequencing technologies.
Methods and results: Data generated by both techniques were collected from faecal samples from 185 elderly Irish people involved in the ongoing ELDERMET study (http://eldermet.ucc.ie). The results for three groups of intestinal bacteria were compared. Bifidobacterium sp., Lactobacillus sp. and Enterobacteriaceae were enumerated on selective media through culture-dependent techniques, whereas proportions of these bacteria were determined through sequencing technology against the background of other bacteria. The Spearman's rank correlation coefficient determined a good correlation between results from culture-dependent microbiology and culture-independent techniques for all three bacterial groups assessed (correlation coefficients for Bifidobacterium sp., Lactobacillus sp. and Enterobacteriaceae were 0·380, 0·366 and 0·437, respectively).
Conclusion: Correlation between the two methods implies that a single method is capable of profiling intestinal Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Enterobacteriaceae populations. However, both methods have advantages that justify their use in tandem.
Significance and impact of the study: This is the first extensive study to compare bacterial counts from culture-dependent microbiological techniques and from next generation sequencing technologies.
© 2011 The Authors. Journal of Applied Microbiology © 2011 The Society for Applied Microbiology.