, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 399-409
Date: 07 Mar 2013

A practical introduction to microbial community sequencing

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The use of molecular methods is gaining popularity throughout the field of microbial community ecology studies thanks to their flexibility of application, which ranges from community structure to function and trait determination. Nonetheless, there are environmental microbiologists, who are new in the field and are just starting to get to grips with the genetic tool box. It is for them that this practitioner’s mini-review was compiled. The methods available for microbial community structure analysis are discussed, after which, the reader is introduced to sequencing, as this tool is the most appropriate and has seen the greatest development in recent years. A focus on the practical aspects of the methodology is maintained throughout. The sample preparation procedure from extraction to sequencing is described. Different applications and considerations of sequencing are briefly explained, including clone library sequencing vs. amplicon library sequencing, shotgun-metagenomics vs. metatranscriptomics and the ‘double RNA approach’.