Based on number of factors including study design and budgets, researchers need to decide the approach to use in human and animal microbiome studies. Generally this choice is between the low-cost microbial profiling (amplicon/16S sequencing) and the high-cost approach of complete metagenome sequencing (shotgun metagenomics). BaseClear has now launched a new service that combines benefits of both approaches. With our new shallow shotgun sequencing service, we offer a thoroughly tested workflow for cost-efficient species-level community profiling and functional analysis for human and animal microbiome studies.

Species-level characterisation and functional microbiome analysis

Many applications in today’s human and animal microbiome research require species-level characterisation of gut microbiome (faecal) samples. Questions that require reliable and complete species-level microbiome analyses include:

  • How does our treatment change the overall microbiome population compared to controls?
  • Do we see an increase in the abundance of fermenting species in animals who were fed by our product?
  • Do we find back our probiotic species after a week of consumption?
  • How does this particular diet change the alpha and beta diversity in samples?
  • Are we able to eliminate the microbe of interest in the population that received the treatment?

Functional microbiome analysis, on the other hand, provides essential information on the abundance of microbial gene groups and pathways. This information is key for a good understanding of the molecular microbial mechanisms that are associated with a certain group of samples or subjects. Questions that can only be answered by functional microbiome analysis include:

  • What are the microbial functions that are significantly differentially abundant in the healthy subjects compared to those with disease?
  • How does our product influence the abundance and diversity of antibiotic resistance genes?
  • Which KEGG modules are found more in animals with reduced inflammation in their gut?

From a method point of view, species-level community profiles and functional microbiome analyses require one thing in common: shotgun metagenome sequencing of samples. In short, shotgun-based approaches allow species-level community profiling, cross-domain coverage (bacteria, fungi, archaea, phages and other viruses in one experiment) and insight into active microbial functions and pathways. Deep shotgun microbiome sequencing can have a high cost, especially for large-scale (e.g. clinical) studies with hundreds or even thousands of samples are analysed. Especially for such studies, shallow shotgun microbiome sequencing is an attractive option.

Microbiome analysis by shallow shotgun

Our new shallow shotgun microbiome analysis workflow is based on state-of-the-art experimental and computational methods and customised databases. With a limited sequencing depth, our approach delivers robust and complete profiles for species-level community profiles and functional characterisation of microbiome samples for animal and human microbiome research.

Want to know more? Or would you like to receive the report on how we validated the workflow for human and poulty microbiome samples? Fill in our contact form to get in touch with our experts!

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Meet Radhika Bongoni!

Radhika is our Head of Business Development. She is specialised in microbiome analysis and regulatory affairs and its applications in Human Health, Personal Care and Animal Nutrition. Radhika received her Ph.D. in Food technology from Wageningen University and an MBA from Tias School for Business & Society. With techno-commercial expertise, she is involved in business growth and market penetration by fostering relationships with partners. Prior to BaseClear, Radhika was responsible for establishing dietary supplements market in western Europe, India, South Africa and Russia.

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