MetaBAT, an Efficient Tool for Accurately Reconstructing Single Genomes From Complex Microbial Communities

PeerJ. 2015 Aug 27;3:e1165. doi: 10.7717/peerj.1165. eCollection 2015.


Grouping large genomic fragments assembled from shotgun metagenomic sequences to deconvolute complex microbial communities, or metagenome binning, enables the study of individual organisms and their interactions. Because of the complex nature of these communities, existing metagenome binning methods often miss a large number of microbial species. In addition, most of the tools are not scalable to large datasets. Here we introduce automated software called MetaBAT that integrates empirical probabilistic distances of genome abundance and tetranucleotide frequency for accurate metagenome binning. MetaBAT outperforms alternative methods in accuracy and computational efficiency on both synthetic and real metagenome datasets. It automatically forms hundreds of high quality genome bins on a very large assembly consisting millions of contigs in a matter of hours on a single node. MetaBAT is open source software and available at

Keywords: MetaBAT; Metagenome binning.

Grant support

The work was supported by the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.