Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

High-Throughput Sequencing and Unsupervised Analysis of Formyltetrahydrofolate Synthetase (FTHFS) Gene Amplicons to Estimate Acetogenic Community Structure

Singh, Abhijeet; Nylander, Johan A. A.; Schnurer, Anna; Bongcam-Rudloff, Erik; Mueller, Bettina


The formyltetrahydrofolate synthetase (FTHFS) gene is a molecular marker of choice to study the diversity of acetogenic communities. However, current analyses are limited due to lack of a high-throughput sequencing approach for FTHFS gene amplicons and a dedicated bioinformatics pipeline for data analysis, including taxonomic annotation and visualization of the sequence data. In the present study, we combined the barcode approach for multiplexed sequencing with unsupervised data analysis to visualize acetogenic community structure. We used samples from a biogas digester to develop proof-of-principle for our combined approach. We successfully generated high-throughput sequence data for the partial FTHFS gene and performed unsupervised data analysis using the novel bioinformatics pipeline "AcetoScan" presented in this study, which resulted in taxonomically annotated OTUs, phylogenetic tree, abundance plots and diversity indices. The results demonstrated that high-throughput sequencing can be used to sequence the FTHFS amplicons from a pool of samples, while the analysis pipeline AcetoScan can be reliably used to process the raw sequence data and visualize acetogenic community structure. The method and analysis pipeline described in this paper can assist in the identification and quantification of known or potentially new acetogens. The AcetoScan pipeline is freely available at.


FTHFS; acetogens; AcetoScan; AcetoBase; high-throughput sequencing

Published in

Frontiers in Microbiology
2020, Volume: 11, article number: 2066