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Environmental Sample Preparation and Sequencing Facility

The Environmental Sample Preparation and Sequencing Facility at Argonne National Laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility for nucleic acid extraction, library preparation, and ultra-high throughput sequencing.

The ESPSF was originally established in 2007 at Argonne National Laboratory and is housed in Argonne’s Computing, Environment and Life Sciences (CELS) directorate, providing world-class computation power, software, and expertise critical to the acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of the unprecedented volume of genetic information being generated on next generation DNA sequencing platforms. The facility provides resources and services to Argonne and University of Chicago users, and to the broader scientific community (both US and abroad). ESPSF is involved in a wide range of scientific research from the sequencing of metagenomic samples to both 16S and 18S rRNA amplicon sequencing for microbial community analysis, and ITS sequencing for fungal community analysis. The ESPSF team helps users determine the most efficient and cost effective approach to meet their research needs.

The ESPSF currently supports the Illumina HiSeq2500 and Illumina MiSeq for high-throughput sequencing. The Illumina HiSeq2500 offers around 200 million reads at 50bp, 100bp, 150bp, or 250bp in length per read. The Illumina MiSeq generates over 24 million reads at 50bp, 150 bp, 250bp or 300bp in length per read. Applications on both the Illumina HiSeq2500 and MiSeq include shotgun metagenome sequencing, metatranscriptome sequencing, rRNA-based amplicon library sequencing, and genome sequencing and resequencing.

Contact us to discuss which platform and sequencing depth is best suited for your project.


Shotgun sequencing for microbial community metagenomes 

  • Recommended platform: Illumina HiSeq2500. We recommend no more than 4-8 samples per lane. 
  • Required material: 1ug of DNA 

Amplicon library sequencing 

  • Recommended platform: Illumina MiSeq. Results are best when 200-700 samples are sequenced simultaneously in a single pool.

Amplicon library preparation 

  • Required material: 1-50ng/ul of DNA, 20ul volume in 96-well full-skirted PCR plate

Genome sequencing 

  • Recommended platform: Illumina HiSeq2500 or Illumina MiSeq 
  • Required material: 1ug of DNA 

Metatranscriptomic Sequencing 

  • Recommended platform: Illumina HiSeq2500
  • Required material: 5ug of total RNA