In the meantime, next generation sequencing enables the metagenome analysis of microbial communities with reasonable efforts. Bioinformatics tools play a dominant role due to the fact that each read of a high-throughput sequencing run has to be assessed taxonomically and functionally. In addition to metagenome analyses, metatranscriptome analyses have become possible. Within the Senior Research Gorup, metagenome research was established using the example of microbial communities residing in a biogas plant. In the meantime, a variety of projects in the field of biogas production are carried out in cooperation with several groups in Germany. These projects are for example financed by the Agency for Renewable Resources (Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. A cooperation with the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in Walnut Creek, Calinfornia, USA, is of high importance. It includes the analysis of metagenomes of microbial communities residing in a biogas plant and the sequencing of single chromosomes of separated cells of microbial communities. Several CeBiTec researchers are involved in the JGI project, namely A. Sczyrba, J. Stoye , A. Goesmann and A. Schlüter.

Biogas -> power and heat
Fig. 5: From biomass to biogas to power and heat generation

Aside from metagenome analysis of microbial communities of biogas fermenters, microbial communities from silage fermentation were analyzed. These projects were carried out in close cooperation with the group of R. Grabherr, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria, and the group of H. Schwab, Graz University of Technology, Austria. At Bielefeld, the metagenome analyses are carried out by A. Schlüter and several PhD students.