Metagenomics Research Platform Established in QIBEBT

Metagenome refers to the sum of all genetic information existing in an environmental sample; it consists of the genomes of many individual organisms. Metagenomics bypasses the need for isolation or cultivation of microbes, thus enables studies into the unculturable. Metagenomics has been a powerful tool exploring the ecology and metabolism of environmental microbial communities.

Metagenomics research relies on a powerful and integrated sequence collection and bio-informatics analysis pipeline. Supported by the National 863 program (from Ministry of Sciences and Technology) and the E-Science project (from Chinese Academy of Sciences, CAS) grants, Functional Genomics Group of Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) led by Prof. XU Jian developed an experimental and computational analysis platform for metagenomics, based on new-generation sequencing and supercomputer technology. This platform involves raw data production and quality control, high throughput and multi-dimensional metagenomic analysis and comparison, and community data visualization tools. The large-scale, high throughput, and automatic collection and analysis of metagenomic data allowed the simulation and screening of the structure, function and regulation of microbial communities.

Recently, the Group collaborated with Prof. JIA Zhongjun of Institute of Soil Science, CAS and Prof. LING Junqi of Sun Yat-Sen University and together published two research articles in The ISME Journal, a prestigious journal in microbial ecology. The two papers focused on metagenomes from different environments and revealed the structure and function of the corresponding microbial communities.

Currently, the metagenome platform is supporting more than 30 collaborative projects and finding its applications in many microbial systems including cellulosic fermentation community, rumen community, and symbiotic community of microalgae. It will play increasingly important roles in the research and development of microbial processes, such as those in bioenergy, environmental remediation and human nutrition and health.

The recent research progresses have been published in ISME Journal listed below:

1.   Xia, W.,, Autotrophic growth of nitrifying community in an agricultural soil. The ISME Journal. The ISME Journal (2011) 5, 1226–1236. Abstract available at:

2.   Yang F.,, Saliva microbiomes distinguish caries-active from healthy human-populations. The ISME Journal, (30 June 2011) | doi:10.1038/ismej.a2011.71. Abstract available at:


Ms. YANG Xutong,
R&D Department
Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology
Chinese Academy of sciences