Trends in bacterial and fungal communities in ant nests observed with Terminal-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP) and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques-validity and compatibility in ecological studies

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Lindström , S , Rowe , O , Timonen , S , Sundström , L & Johansson , H 2018 , ' Trends in bacterial and fungal communities in ant nests observed with Terminal-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP) and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques-validity and compatibility in ecological studies ' , PeerJ , vol. 6 , 5289 . https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5289

Title: Trends in bacterial and fungal communities in ant nests observed with Terminal-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP) and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques-validity and compatibility in ecological studies
Author: Lindström, Stafva; Rowe, Owen; Timonen, Sari; Sundström, Liselotte; Johansson, Helena
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme
University of Helsinki, Sari Timonen / Research Group
University of Helsinki, Department of Microbiology
University of Helsinki, Evolution, Sociality & Behaviour
University of Helsinki, Biosciences
Date: 2018-07-20
Language: eng
Number of pages: 24
Belongs to series: PeerJ
ISSN: 2167-8359
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/239796
Abstract: Microbes are ubiquitous and often occur in functionally and taxonomically complex communities. Unveiling these community dynamics is one of the main challenges of microbial research. Combining a robust, cost effective and widely used method such as Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP) with a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) method (Illumina MiSeq), offers a solid alternative for comprehensive assessment of microbial communities. Here, these two methods were combined in a study of complex bacterial and fungal communities in the nest mounds of the ant Formica exsecta, with the aim to assess the degree to which these methods can be used to complement each other. The results show that these methodologies capture similar spatiotemporal variations, as well as corresponding functional and taxonomical detail, of the microbial communities in a challenging medium consisting of soil, decomposing plant litter and an insect inhabitant. Both methods are suitable for the analysis of complex environmental microbial communities, but when combined, they complement each other well and can provide even more robust results. T-RFLP can be trusted to show similar general community patterns as Illumina MiSeq and remains a good option if resources for NGS methods are lacking.
Subject: NGS
T-RFLP
Fungi
Bacteria
Ants
Formica exsecta
Illumina MiSeq
Spatiotemporal trends
Microbial communities
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
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