Generating new insights into how microbial communities function and interact with their environments requires improved approaches. Long-read sequencing enables species-level resolution and drives functional insights with full-length 16S sequencing and 10 kb HiFi reads for metagenome profiling and assembly.

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Explore the microbial world with confidence

Highly accurate long reads – HiFi reads – with single-molecule resolution are ideal for full-length 16S rRNA sequencing, shotgun metagenomic profiling, and metagenome assembly, so that you can:

  • Determine community composition at the species or strain-level with competitively priced full-length 16S sequencing
  • Identify 6-8 full-length genes in every HiFi read with efficient, cost-effective metagenomic profiling
  • Generate up to 35 high quality (HQ) metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) for up to 4 multiplexed human fecal samples or up to 110 HQ MAGs for 1 sample
  • Leverage epigenomic data to associate contigs and plasmids from closely related strains



Accurate and flexible HiFi solutions for metagenomics and microbiome sequencing allow researchers to study microbes and microbial communities in high resolution without the need for culturing. The exceptional accuracy and long read lengths of HiFi sequencing gives scientists the flexibility and high resolution they need.

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Workflow: from DNA to resolved microbial communities

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Library preparation

Prepare targeted sequences or shotgun libraries to characterize your microbial community.

Explore recommendations for all SMRT sequencing applications

Extract DNA using the commercially available kit of your choice

Full-length 16S sequencing

Shotgun metagenomic profiling and metagenome assembly


Use the Sequel II or IIe systems for affordable, high-quality metagenomic sequencing

Full-length 16S sequencing

  • With 1.6 kb HiFi reads generate up to 3.5 million >Q20 reads with a 10-hour movie collection time
  • Resolve up to 192 communities per SMRT Cell 8M

Metagenome profiling

  • With 10 kb HiFi reads generate up to 2.9 million >Q20 reads with a 30-hour movie collection time
  • Profile up to 48 communities per SMRT Cell 8M for taxonomic or functional profiling

Metagenome assembly

  • With 10 kb HiFi reads generate up to 2.9 million >Q20 reads with a 30-hour movie collection time
  • Multiplex up to 4 samples per SMRT Cell 8M to generate high-quality MAGs

*Read lengths, reads/data per SMRT Cell 8M and other sequencing performance results vary based on sample quality/type and insert size.

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Data analysis

Make discoveries using bioinformatics tools in SMRT Analysis or PacBio DevNet.

Full-length 16S sequencing

Metagenome profiling

Metagenome assembly

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  • Learn the recent advances by PacBio in shotgun metagenomics that are leading to improved results, capacity, and cost effectiveness in microbial community profiling and MAG assembly
  • Understand the importance of both high accuracy and long reads for metagenomics
  • Hear how hifiasm-meta can be utilized to obtain more HQ, complete, circular, single contig MAGs with PacBio HiFi shotgun metagenomics data

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Application brief

Metagenome sequencing with HiFi reads

Learn more these best practices for metagenomic sequencing with HiFi reads



Strain-level identification of bacterial communities with the exceptional accuracy of PacBio full-length 16S sequencing

Using DADA2 software, all copies of the 16S housekeeping gene can be recovered from microbial communities. 16S sequence variants from the same strain appear in the data in integer ratios that reflect their copy number in each genome. In some cases, for example E. coli O157:H7 in the Zymo mock community, this high-resolution information can be used to unambiguously identify not only the species but the strain present. Explore this research further:

Callahan, B. J.,  et al. (2019). High-throughput amplicon sequencing of the full-length 16S rRNA gene with single-nucleotide resolution. Nucleic Acids Research.


Both read length and accuracy matter for metagenome assembly and functional profiling

Comparing analysis results using HiFi data from a sheep fecal sample to results using lower accuracy subreads from the same data set show the impact of improving accuracy on assembly contiguity, MAG recovery and gene discovery. In the figure above, the more contiguous HiFi assembly enabled recovery of 25% more complete biosynthetic gene clusters (BCGs) than noisy CLR long reads. Explore this research further:

Bickhart, D.M. et al. (2022). Generation of lineage-resolved, complete metagenome-assembled genomes from complex microbial communities.. Nature Biotechnology, 0.1038/s41587-021-01130-z

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