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MiDAS 4: A global catalogue of full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences and taxonomy for studies of bacterial communities in wastewater treatment plants

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Thomas CurtisORCiD, Professor David Jenkins



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022, The Author(s). Microbial communities are responsible for biological wastewater treatment, but our knowledge of their diversity and function is still poor. Here, we sequence more than 5 million high-quality, full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences from 740 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) across the world and use the sequences to construct the ‘MiDAS 4’ database. MiDAS 4 is an amplicon sequence variant resolved, full-length 16S rRNA gene reference database with a comprehensive taxonomy from domain to species level for all sequences. We use an independent dataset (269 WWTPs) to show that MiDAS 4, compared to commonly used universal reference databases, provides a better coverage for WWTP bacteria and an improved rate of genus and species level classification. Taking advantage of MiDAS 4, we carry out an amplicon-based, global-scale microbial community profiling of activated sludge plants using two common sets of primers targeting regions of the 16S rRNA gene, revealing how environmental conditions and biogeography shape the activated sludge microbiota. We also identify core and conditionally rare or abundant taxa, encompassing 966 genera and 1530 species that represent approximately 80% and 50% of the accumulated read abundance, respectively. Finally, we show that for well-studied functional guilds, such as nitrifiers or polyphosphate-accumulating organisms, the same genera are prevalent worldwide, with only a few abundant species in each genus.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Dueholm MKD, Nierychlo M, Andersen KS, Rudkjobing V, Knutsson S, Arriaga S, Bakke R, Boon N, Bux F, Christensson M, Chua ASM, Curtis TP, Cytryn E, Erijman L, Etchebehere C, Fatta-Kassinos D, Frigon D, Garcia-Chaves MC, Gu AZ, Horn H, Jenkins D, Kreuzinger N, Kumari S, Lanham A, Law Y, Leiknes TO, Morgenroth E, Muszynski A, Petrovski S, Pijuan M, Pillai SB, Reis MAM, Rong Q, Rossetti S, Seviour R, Tooker N, Vainio P, van Loosdrecht M, Vikraman R, Wanner J, Weissbrodt D, Wen X, Zhang T, Nielsen PH, Albertsen M, Nielsen PH

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Communications

Year: 2022

Volume: 13

Issue: 1

Print publication date: 01/12/2022

Online publication date: 07/04/2022

Acceptance date: 10/03/2022

Date deposited: 09/06/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2041-1723

Publisher: Nature Research


DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-29438-7

PubMed id: 35393411


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Funder referenceFunder name
Danish Research Council (grant 6111-00617 A, P.H.N.)
Villum Foundation (Dark Matter and grant 13351, P.H.N.)