Integrated omics for the identification of key functionalities in biological wastewater treatment microbial communities

Microb Biotechnol. 2015 May;8(3):363-8. doi: 10.1111/1751-7915.12255. Epub 2015 Feb 12.


Biological wastewater treatment plants harbour diverse and complex microbial communities which prominently serve as models for microbial ecology and mixed culture biotechnological processes. Integrated omic analyses (combined metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics and metabolomics) are currently gaining momentum towards providing enhanced understanding of community structure, function and dynamics in situ as well as offering the potential to discover novel biological functionalities within the framework of Eco-Systems Biology. The integration of information from genome to metabolome allows the establishment of associations between genetic potential and final phenotype, a feature not realizable by only considering single 'omes'. Therefore, in our opinion, integrated omics will become the future standard for large-scale characterization of microbial consortia including those underpinning biological wastewater treatment processes. Systematically obtained time and space-resolved omic datasets will allow deconvolution of structure-function relationships by identifying key members and functions. Such knowledge will form the foundation for discovering novel genes on a much larger scale compared with previous efforts. In general, these insights will allow us to optimize microbial biotechnological processes either through better control of mixed culture processes or by use of more efficient enzymes in bioengineering applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ecosystem*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Metagenomics / methods*
  • Microbial Consortia*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Systems Biology
  • Wastewater / microbiology*
  • Water Purification


  • Waste Water