Bulk root species identification and biomass quantification by DNA metabarcoding

Dr. Silvia Matesanz

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

“We have carried out several metabarcoding projects with plants, fungi, and bacteria with this company. We are extremely satisfied with the result. They are highly professional, master the techniques, and are constantly updating their processes. The treatment is unbeatable. They are always willing to quickly and efficiently resolve any existing doubts. 100 % recommendable!”

GOAL

With the goal of implementing DNA metabarcoding in plant ecology studies, the research team was interested in using the percentage of reads assigned to each plant taxon as a proxy to estimate root biomass.

APPROACH

By mixing DNAs extracted from root tissues of the five dominant species in a semi-arid Mediterranean shrubland at known biomass proportions, we prepared “mock communities” and analysed them using DNA metabarcoding.

RESULTS

The research team was then able to study the amplification bias of the primer pair used and establish correction factors that could be applied to DNA metabarcoding results so these results would be quantitative. The correction factors were then validated with multispecies mixtures that simulated field collected samples. The research team demonstrated that using correction factors in DNA metabarcoding results allows researchers to determine not only species’ presence but also their relative abundance in field samples of root mixtures.

This research has been published in the journal Molecular Ecology Resources.

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