Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2020, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (4): 395-408.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2019.0222

Special Issue: 生态学研究的技术和方法专辑

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Techniques and methods of microbiomics and their applications

GAO Gui-Feng1,CHU Hai-Yan1,2,*()   

  1. 1Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
    2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2019-08-19 Accepted:2019-10-23 Online:2020-04-20 Published:2020-02-24
  • Contact: CHU Hai-Yan ORCID:0000-0001-9004-8750
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(31870480)


Microbiome is the combination of all microorganisms and their genetic information in a specific environment or ecosystem, which contains abundant microbial resources. A comprehensive and systematic analysis of the structure and function of microbiome will provide new ideas in solving the core issues in the fields of energy, ecological environment, industrial and agricultural production and human health. However, the study of microbiome largely depends on the development of relevant technologies and methods. Before to the advent of high-throughput sequencing technology, microbial research was mainly based on techniques such as isolation, pure-culture and fingerprint. However, due to the technical restrictions, scientists could only get limited knowledge of microorganisms. Since the beginning of 21st century, the revolutionary advances in the technology of high-throughput sequencing and mass spectrometry have greatly improved our understanding on the structure and ecological functions of environmental microbiome. However, the application of microbiomics technology in microbial research still faces many challenges. In addition, the descriptive studies focusing on the structure and diversity of microbiome have already matured, and the study of microbiomics is facing a critical transition period from quantity to quality and from structure to function. Hence, this paper will firstly introduce the basic concepts of microbiomics and a brief development history. Secondly, this paper introduces the related technologies and methods of microbiomics with their development process, and further expounds the applications and main problems of microbiomics technologies and methods in ecological study. Finally, this paper expounds the frontier direction of the development of microbiomics technology and methods from the technical, theoretical and application levels, and proposes the priority development areas of microbiome research in the future.

Key words: microbiomics, high-throughput sequencing, mass spectrometry, microbial functions