March 27, 2020

Recapping a successful year, speakers at the Stakeholder Program on Agent Detection Assays (SPADA) session at the AOAC INTERNATIONAL Midyear Meeting highlighted the achievements of the several working groups, including the publication of three new guidance documents as appendices to the Official Methods of Analysis (OMA). The appendices are available at

The meeting kicked off with John Santa Lucia’s (Wayne State University and DNA Software) background on OMA Appendix Q, “Recommendations for Developing Molecular Assays for Microbial Pathogen Detection Using Modern in Silico Approaches.” The presentation emphasized that while sequencing databases have expanded, the quality of these sequences has declined as they may contain discrepancies or are partial sequences.

Following this, the meeting focused on the newly published Appendix R, “Guidelines for Verifying and Documenting Relationships Between Microbial Cultures.” David Rozak (USAMRIID) provided an overview on development of this standard, highlighting the importance of tracking and verifying relatedness of microbial test and index cultures.

The last update, by Morgan Minyard (Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) of the working group responsible for developing a guidance document for soil analysis, provided the outcomes for the reference document which can now be found in AOAC OMA Appendix P, “Guidance for Soil Collection, Characterization, and Application for Biothreat Agent Detection Method and Site Evaluations.”

Moving into potential future areas of exploration by SPADA, Greg Tyson (U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-Center for Veterinary Medicine) highlighted perspectives on the correlation between genotypic and phenotypic identification as it relates to the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS), which tracks the consequences of antimicrobial usage in animals.

For more information, visit AOAC INTERNATIONAL’s SPADA Program Page or email [email protected].