Article: Journal of Ecology

Bioinformatics matters: The accuracy of plant and soil fungal community data is highly dependent on the metabarcoding pipeline C Pauvert, M Buée, V Laval, V Edel-Hermann… – Fungal Ecology, 2019


Fungal communities associated with plants and soilinfluence plant fitness and ecosystem functioning. They are frequently studied by metabarcoding approaches targeting the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS), but there is no consensusconcerning the most appropriate bioinformaticapproach for the analysis of these data. We sequenced an artificial fungal community composed of 189 strainscovering a wide range of Ascomycota and Basidiomycota, to compare the performance of 360 software and parameter combinations. The most sensitive approaches, based on the USEARCH and VSEARCH clustering algorithms, detected almost all fungal strains but greatly overestimated the total number of strains. By contrast, approaches using DADA2 to detect amplicon sequence variants were the most effective for recovering the richness and composition of the fungal community. Our results suggest that analyzing single forward (R1) sequences with DADA2 and no filter other than the removal of low-quality and chimeric sequences is a good option for fungal community characterization.