Impacts of Metagenomics



Share |

Translate This Page

Applications of Metagenomics

By studying metagenomics and the microbial community one could discover countless helpful information.

New concepts of evolution, genomes, species, and ecosystem will form due to the information available about microbes; this knew knowledge will transform our world as we know it since it has been applied to many different environmental types including : soils, oceans, hot springs, soil, and human mouth and gastrointestinal tract.

uestions such as life diversity, evolution of microbes, and "the role of microbes in  maintaining the health of their host" will be answered with the help of Metagenomics (Citation 2). 


Human Health



Human microbiomes are the completed genomes of microbial communities that live on and in the human body. By studying the human microbiome, we can understand and possibly cure diseases such as obesity, cancer, and immune disorders (such as asthma or multiple sclerosis).


The human intestine carries most of the microbes in our body. These microorganisms perform useful functions such as extracting nutrients and calories and creating amino acids and essential vitamins. The bacteria in our guts also help us detoxify the harmful chemicals contained within food.


By studying metagenomics, we can gain more information about diseases such as obesity. In a recent study, metagenomics compared the microbial communities' genes in the guts of the obese mice with the genes of their leaner relatives. Results found that a shift in the amount of two major groups (of bacteria found) was associated with obesity. Then researchers harvested the microbial communities from both obese and lean animals and transplanted the genes into "lean germ-free mice" the mice that received gut microbes from the obese mice had gain more fat (Citation 13). This is only one of the many factors that determine a person's predisposition to obesity.

Both natural and human-made hazardous substances need the aid of microbial communities to clean up their mess. These microbes can transform deadly chemicals into safe and benign forms for people and the environment. Some microbes consume methane gas (a major greenhouse gas) and others work in water treatment facilities and degrade waste in sewage water.

Drink Up

     Microbes help our groundwater sources remain uncontaminated. In the United States, every gas station has at least three or more underground tanks that dispense gasoline. However these tanks leak or will leak in the future and contaminating the groundwater.

     Since 50% of the United States population relies on groundwater as a source of drinking water, this contamination could be a problem without the aid of microbe communities within the soil. As the gasoline (composed of hundreds of chemicals) penetrates the soil, many microbial communities within the soil become active and degrade the gasoline.

     The microbial communities work together to deplete the oxygen in the ground water while others can use nitrate for energy and start to degrade the gasoline. Then bacteria that use manganese, iron, and sulfate  complete the pattern to alter the contaminants into carbon dioxide and water (Citation 14).

Oil Spills & Clean Up

     Metagenomics will help us understand the process of how the microbial communities are useful in degrading waste and oil spills.  Marine bacteria can degrade and clean up the oil spills in the Earth's ocean.  The knowledge of helpful microbes is well established within the world; however, the process in which it transforms the world remains limited. Metagenomics will help us understand the process of how the microbial communities are useful in degrading waste and spills (Citation 14).



 A conceptual image the depicts an enlargement of bacteria on a drop to water. This represents the millions of bacteria found in water contamination.


Global Impact

Photosynthetic bacteria transform carbon dioxide into a usable form through photosynthesis. A photosynthetic bacteria removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which lessens the effect of greenhouse gases.
Click for information about Photosynthetic Bacteria

Bucket Brigades

Microbial communities must work together  through a system called the bucket brigade. In this system, each microbe will  complete its task and its product will start its neighbor. Metagenomics will allow scientist to examine the genetic bases of these complex bucket brigades and investigate the influence of how the genes of organisms influence each other (Citation 16).


 The world relies on energy however, the source of most of our energy originate from nonrenewable fossil fuels. Our dependence on depleting fossil fuels sources and the effect of  burning these fossil fuels (emission of greenhouse gas) will have a negative impact on our future.  Click for information about Global Warming


Cellulosic ethanol or grain alcohol is an emerging source of energy. Cellulosic ethanol originates from the cellulose found in common agricultural wastes and other biomass (such as corn fiber or miscanthus). A Microbial communities converts cellulose to usable ethanol.  This  process transforms the cellulose from agricultural wastes into sugar. From there, the sugar ferments and with the aid of microbes and ethanol is produced (Citation 15).

Reliable Energy



Microbial communities are critical in producing the nutrients plants need for growth. Certain bacteria can convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia for plants and animals to use; others can recycle the nutrients from decayed plants and animals, while some can convert elements into plant nutrition. However, a community of microorganisms is needed to perform these bio-transformations, one individual microbe cannot convert ammonia to nitrate, but a community of microorganism can complete this task.

Suppressive Soil

Suppressive soil allows plants to remain healthy even when the presence of pathogens and disease causing organisms are abundant. Sterilized soil kills both harmful and helpful bacteria, so when pathogens re-enter the soil, the plant will come become ill and die. Scientists found that a community of microbes could suppress disease and infections that harm the plant, making suppressive soil beneficial to agriculture (Citation 17).

Metagenomics allows a more comprehensive understanding of how microbial communities affect crops and plants thus leading to a more productive process of producing healthier and nutritious crops (Citation 17).


 There are numerous advantages of  studying microbial communities. Metagenomics will advance the progress and development of industrial, health, and food products to benefit the world (Citation 18).


Biodefense & Microbial Forensics

 Metagenomics aid scientists in the study the DNA and biochemical fingerprints of the microbial communities in order to monitor pathogens. In addition, scientist are able to produce more effective treatments and vaccines that fight against viruses (Citation 18).


Home  //  Microbes  //  What is Metagenomics  //  Process  //  Challenges  //  Studies  //  Impact  //  Innovators //  References 

This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola