Agriculture

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Microorganisms are present almost everywhere, and they are never just there. They are numerous, highly diverse and very active. In animals they influence the metabolism of food, the response to antibiotics and health and activity of physiological systems from the immune system to bone density. In soil the microorganisms digest organic material, influence humus content, fight parasites invasions and influence the bioavailability of chemicals for plants, just to mention a few key functions.

Microbiome analysis of soil, plant or animal samples

Insight into the composition of beneficial or pathogenic microbes presents a promising strategy to optimize plant yield, promote the health and productivity of livestock, or foster agricultural sustainability. But until recently, the value of knowing the community of microorganisms (the microbiome) of plants, animals and soil has been largely inaccessible. This has changed over the last decade. Due to recent technological developments, analyzing the microbiome directly in a sample, has become possible. The technology is called next generation sequencing (NGS), and it facilitate the detection of microorganisms directly in a sample by sequencing the organism’s DNA.

The use of Next generation sequencing (NGS) instruments allows us at BIOMCARE to obtain an incredibly detailed picture of the range and diversity of microorganisms in a microbiome community. The high accuracy and low cost of this method makes it feasible to detect the microbial diversity at a much greater scale than previously. Incorporating microbiome analysis in your activities can provide insight and guide developments.

Microbiome analysis can provide valuable insights in many fields, such as:

  • Development and evaluation of fertilizers and pesticides
  • Fodder development
  • Smart farming
  • Crop characterization and breeding

From idea to results with BIOMCARE

At BIOMCARE we offer to sequence your samples and to analyze the resulting data. If requested, we also support with project planning to ensure the right project design and samples collection. We perform all data processing and statistical analysis and provide the needed support to harvest the full value of the results.

BIOMCARE use the genetic material (DNA) in a sample to evaluate what microorganisms it contains. Depending on the aim of the individual project a sequencing method is selected. All methods have their pros and cons and we can help guide the selection. Independent of the used method(s), DNA sequencing result in large amounts of data that need processing before interesting information can be obtained. Therefore, at BIOMCARE we first perform all necessary data cleaning and processing. This results in a so-called microbiome profile for each sample (tables of relative abundance for the individual microbes).

Depending on your wish, we can provide you with the microbiome profiles for your own further statistical analysis, or we can help with the further analysis and interpretations of results. The statistical analysis we perform depend on the specific questions you like to have answered. We will often relate the microbiome data to other information (called metadata). In projects on plant and soil, relevant meta data may be information on fertilizers, plant yield, plant infections, pH, tilling etc. For project in animal farming, relevant information relates to the animal characteristics, housing, medication or fodder.

Insight into such data allow us to identify interesting differences e.g. between soil from high yield vs low yield areas, or effects of new nutrients on animal growth rates. We can identify broad differences such as microbe diversity, or specific differences such as single bacteria that associate with the variables of interest.

Please see the main services page for a step by step introduction to a microbiome project in collaboration with BIOMCARE.

We used Biomcare to analyse the occurrence and composition of bacteria and fungi in soil samples, in a project evaluating soil fertility and the effect of tilling. ... The results were presented in easily understandable and illustrative reports, and by personal communication, and all communication went swiftly. I can highly recommend BIOMCARE for their expertise. 

Annette Vibeke Vestergaard

Senior specialist - soil and soil management. Crop Innovation and Environment, SEGES