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Nat Microbiol. 2018 Apr;3(4):514-522. doi: 10.1038/s41564-018-0123-9. Epub 2018 Mar 19.

Nutritional preferences of human gut bacteria reveal their metabolic idiosyncrasies.

Author information

1
European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.
2
Humboldt University Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
3
EMBL-EBI, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
4
Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.
5
European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany. bork@embl.de.
6
Max-Delbrück-Centre for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany. bork@embl.de.
7
Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit, Heidelberg, Germany. bork@embl.de.
8
Department of Bioinformatics, Biocenter, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany. bork@embl.de.
9
European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany. typas@embl.de.
10
European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany. patil@embl.de.

Abstract

Bacterial metabolism plays a fundamental role in gut microbiota ecology and host-microbiome interactions. Yet the metabolic capabilities of most gut bacteria have remained unknown. Here we report growth characteristics of 96 phylogenetically diverse gut bacterial strains across 4 rich and 15 defined media. The vast majority of strains (76) grow in at least one defined medium, enabling accurate assessment of their biosynthetic capabilities. These do not necessarily match phylogenetic similarity, thus indicating a complex evolution of nutritional preferences. We identify mucin utilizers and species inhibited by amino acids and short-chain fatty acids. Our analysis also uncovers media for in vitro studies wherein growth capacity correlates well with in vivo abundance. Further value of the underlying resource is demonstrated by correcting pathway gaps in available genome-scale metabolic models of gut microorganisms. Together, the media resource and the extracted knowledge on growth abilities widen experimental and computational access to the gut microbiota.

PMID:
29556107
DOI:
10.1038/s41564-018-0123-9

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