How Our Technology Improves Metagenomics

Metagenomics has the potential to provide unique insight into the composition of heterogeneous microbial communities and tap into their vast biodiversity. However, current analysis techniques are limited, as scientists cannot grow mixed populations of cells without the fast-growing strains out-competing the slower-growing strains. These scattered growth patterns result in a loss of metabolic diversity (which is where the value lies) and useful information that can create new scientific breakthroughs.

Our systems are designed to compartmentalise individual microbes, enabling you to separate the fast- and slow-growing microbes to eliminate competition. We’ve developed a unique platform that works on a miniature scale, helping you to save money while increasing throughput. By tapping into the microbial diversity that is masked and eliminated using other systems, our technology gives you the competitive edge in the pursuit of novel products with commercial value.

Microbial culture

The Unique Benefits of Our Systems for Metagenomics

Researchers working in metagenomics often don’t have the funds or resources needed to grow individual microbes in culture using plates or flasks, which would eliminate the problem of competition between strains. Our picodroplet technology is the answer. It enables the compartmentalisation of millions of individual microbes from a mixed community into single cells, which act as pico-scale ‘petri dishes’ for each strain, allowing you to grow and screen them without the need for significant amounts of space, resources and funds.

This approach means that both slow-growing and fast-growing microbial strains can grow, unimpeded by saturation or competition. This offers the potential to identify new strains of interest, for example microbes that produce novel antibiotics, enzymes or other valuable molecules.

Our picodroplet technology could also be used to study a variety of mixed cell populations. This could help you gain a more detailed understanding of the interactions and sequential processing of drugs or metabolites that some microbes perform, such as those in the human gut or skin.

What’s more, you save on the cost of reagents, can speed up your screens and give your lab the best chance of discovering a rare variant or gaining insight into a valuable molecule.