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For whom is the Metapathviewer approach intended?

The Metapathviewer is intended for anybody who wants to gain insight in biological populations in their process or system, for example:

  • Researcher

    This enables you to focus your research more quickly and effectively on what really matters: which enzymes are potentially valuable to the industry.

  • Process engineer

    This forms the necessary starting point from which the specific biological conversions can be monitored and optimised so that the bioreactor produces the maximum amount of bio-plastics.

  • Operator

    Now specific strategies can be sought to control and prevent the problems occurring in the future. This will increase production efficiency and minimise down-time of the process.

Metapathviewer - Next Generation Sequencing

The Metapathviewer package focuses on the identification of the whole microbial population in a sample including their bio-functionalities (specific microbial conversions or activities). This is possible due to the use of state of the art molecular tools i.e. Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). The NGS technique derives much more biological relevant information on the microbial population compared to other, more classic, molecular tools. The advantage of the Metapathviewer package is that it will give you insights in how to control (stimulate or discourage) the microbiology in your specific situation even when little or no prior information exists.

How does the Metapathviewer approach work?

The Metapathviewer approach consists of a series of steps that are specifically designed to access as much biological information as possible. The steps are briefly described below.

First of all samples are taken of the process or system under investigation according to specific procedures (depending on the sample type). Both DNA and RNA is extracted and purified from the samples. The purified DNA and RNA is subsequently analysed using a Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technique so that the genetic code of all the DNA and RNA becomes available.


The result of the NGS analysis is a digital file containing the genetic code of all the fragments of DNA or RNA. Databases available online are subsequently used to determine which fragments of DNA/RNA corresponds to which organism or trait (mRNA). Fragments of mRNA are also translated to amino acid sequences so that identification can also occur at protein level. The identification of organisms and traits is therefore done on multiple levels (DNA, RNA, protein, ribosomal and mRNA).


Identified organisms and traits are presented in Metapathviewer. The precise content depends on the wishes of the end user. This might for example include:

  • identified species of organisms;
  • identified functional traits (mRNA, proteins);
  • as yet unknown organisms and functional traits;
  • specific groups of organisms (e.g. only bacteria and fungi, or only protozoa);
  • data analyses performed at request (e.g. a search into potential pathogens, comparison of various samples, etc.)

The underlying genetic information belonging to a specific Metapathviewer is stored by Bioclear and can, in consultation, be made available to end users for further research.

What makes the Metapathviewer approach unique?

Next Generation Sequencing analyses are already frequently performed within fundamental scientific research. What makes the Metapathviewer approach unique is that biological information is disclosed of all species of organisms and all functional traits. This is an advantage as the maximum amount of information is gained. On the other hand it can prove challenging as large amounts of data are received that need to be organised and functional so that an end user can use the information effectively.

To avoid this it has become common practise to make a pre-selection for specific groups of organisms (such as only bacteria or only fungi) or biological traits (such as only potential pathogens or only nitrifying bacteria) before an NGS analysis is performed. The data analysis is consequently made easier, however the bulk of the biological information is lost.

With Metapathviewer the selection or focus for specific groups or traits takes place after all the information has been acquired by filtering the digital data. In this way the maximum amount of information of a sample is accessed and preserved. The focus or selection can always be redefined at a later date without the necessity of performing additional NGS analyses.

What can you do with Metapathviewer results?

This depends entirely on the questions defined by the end user. If the aim is to gain insight in the biological composition of a process or sample, then the results as such are sufficient. If the results are a starting point for further research then various options are possible. We will gladly advise you on the most suitable approach for your specific situation and budget.