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J Biotechnol. 2012 Jul 31;160(1-2):17-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2012.03.009. Epub 2012 Mar 23.

Modeling microbial communities: current, developing, and future technologies for predicting microbial community interaction.

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Argonne National Laboratory, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, IL 60439, USA.


Never has there been a greater opportunity for investigating microbial communities. Not only are the profound effects of microbial ecology on every aspect of Earth's geochemical cycles beginning to be understood, but also the analytical and computational tools for investigating microbial Earth are undergoing a rapid revolution. This environmental microbial interactome, the system of interactions between the microbiome and the environment, has shaped the planet's past and will undoubtedly continue to do so in the future. We review recent approaches for modeling microbial community structures and the interactions of microbial populations with their environments. Different modeling approaches consider the environmental microbial interactome from different aspects, and each provides insights to different facets of microbial ecology. We discuss the challenges and opportunities for the future of microbial modeling and describe recent advances in microbial community modeling that are extending current descriptive technologies into a predictive science.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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