Microbial profiling of combat wound infection through detection microarray and next-generation sequencing

Nicholas A. Be*, Jonathan E. Allen, Trevor S. Brown, Shea N. Gardner, Kevin S. McLoughlin, Jonathan A. Forsberg, Benjamin C. Kirkup, Brett A. Chromy, Paul A. Luciw, Eric A. Elster, Crystal J. Jaing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Combat wound healing and resolution are highly affected by the resident microbial flora. We therefore sought to achieve comprehensive detection of microbial populations in wounds using novel genomic technologies and bioinformatics analyses. We employed a microarray capable of detecting all sequenced pathogens for interrogation of 124 wound samples from extremity injuries in combat-injured U.S. service members. A subset of samples was also processed via next-generation sequencing and metagenomic analysis. Array analysis detected microbial targets in 51% of all wound samples, with Acinetobacter baumannii being the most frequently detected species. Multiple Pseudomonas species were also detected in tissue biopsy specimens. Detection of the Acinetobacter plasmid pRAY correlated significantly with wound failure, while detection of enteric-associated bacteria was associated significantly with successful healing. Whole-genome sequencing revealed broad microbial biodiversity between samples. The total wound bioburden did not associate significantly with wound outcome, although temporal shifts were observed over the course of treatment. Given that standard microbiological methods do not detect the full range of microbes in each wound, these data emphasize the importance of supplementation with molecular techniques for thorough characterization of wound-associated microbes. Future application of genomic protocols for assessing microbial content could allow application of specialized care through early and rapid identification and management of critical patterns in wound bioburden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2583-2594
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes


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