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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2015 Oct;27:37-44. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2015.06.014. Epub 2015 Jul 24.

Metabolic interactions in microbial communities: untangling the Gordian knot.

Author information

1
Structural and Computational Biology Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.
2
Structural and Computational Biology Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address: patil@embl.de.

Abstract

Metabolic exchanges are ubiquitous in microbial communities. However, detecting metabolite cross-feedings is difficult due to their intrinsically dynamic nature and the complexity of communities. Thus, while exhaustive description of metabolic networks operating in natural systems is a task for the future, the battle of today is divided between detailed characterizations of small, reduced complexity microbial consortia, and focusing on particular metabolic aspects of natural ecosystems. Detecting metabolic interactions requires methodological blend able to capture species identity, dependencies and the nature of exchanged metabolites. Multiple combinations of diverse techniques, from metagenomics to imaging mass spectrometry, offer solutions to this challenge, each combination being tailored to the community at hand.

PMID:
26207681
DOI:
10.1016/j.mib.2015.06.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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