Experiments that involve sequencing bulk DNA found in a sample to determine what species are present, as opposed to sequencing just a single specific specimen. Examples of samples that are often used:
- river water to determine which bacteria are present, notably to determine if the water is free of dangerous bacteria. A concrete example is shown at: Section "How to use an Oxford Nanopore MinION to extract DNA from river water and determine which bacteria live in it".
- sea water biodiversity: ocean-microbiome.embl.de/companion.html
- food, including searching for desirable microorganisms such as in cheese or bread yeast
- poo, e.g. to study how the human microbiome influences health. There are companies actively working on this, e.g.: www.microbiotica.com/
One related application which most people would not consider metagenomics, is that of finding circulating tumor DNA in blood to detect tumors.