Knowledge of bacterial diversity is a critical step in understanding and manipulating microbial communities and processes, ranging from environmental bioremediation to improving human health. Researchers at The Ohio State University have significantly improved a novel method for rapidly and comprehensively analyzing bacterial diversity. Serial Ribosomal Sequence Tags (SARST) is a newly described method of examining microbial diversity, and we have developed a modified version of SARST (mSARST) that greatly improves the efficacy of the approach. Both methods use a series of enzymatic reactions to produce concatemers of ribosomal sequence tags that can be cloned sequenced, but mSARST can be readily adapted to a kit-based format and offers up to a 20-fold increase in throughput over traditional clone libraries. To our knowledge, mSARST is also the only cloning technology available to provide both qualitative and quantitative information about the structure of microbial communities, in a high throughput format.
- Characterization of any type of microbial community irrespective of the level of complexity.
- Comprehensive studies of human gastrointestinal microbiology in support of the prediction and diagnosis of illness and disease.
- Comprehensive analysis and monitoring of the temporal or spatial changes in microbial diversity in complex natural and managed microbial communities, for quality control and quality assurance purposes.
- Fundamental studies of microbial ecology.
- Provides more detailed, rapid and cost effective analysis of bacterial diversity and community structure than previously possible.
- Offers up to 20-fold increase in throughput over traditional clone libraries.
- Bias and chimera formation associated with PCR-based analysis is minimized.
- RSTs can be used to design microarrays for further analysis.
- Procedure can be packaged into a commercial reagent kit.