Published on Thu Sep 02 2021

Nutrient availability shifts the biosynthetic potential of soil-derived microbial communities

Chevrette, M., Himes, B., Carlos-Shanley, C.

secondary metabolites produced by microorganisms are the main source of antimicrobials other pharmaceutical drugs. Soil microbes have been the primary discovery source for these secondary metabolites, often producing complex organic compounds with specific biological activities.

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Abstract

Secondary metabolites produced by microorganisms are the main source of antimicrobials other pharmaceutical drugs. Soil microbes have been the primary discovery source for these secondary metabolites, often producing complex organic compounds with specific biological activities. Research suggests that secondary metabolism broadly shapes microbial ecological interactions, but little is known about the factors that shape the abundance, distribution, and diversity of biosynthetic gene clusters in the context of microbial communities. In this study, we investigate the role of nutrient availability on the abundance of biosynthetic gene clusters in soil-derived microbial consortia. We found that soil microbial consortia enriched in medium with 150 mg/L of glucose and 200 mg/L of trehalose (here defined as high sugar) had more biosynthetic gene cluster and higher inhibitory activity than soil microbial consortia enriched in medium with 15 mg/L of glucose + 20 mg/L of trehalose (here defined as low sugar). Our results demonstrate that laboratory microbial communities are a promising tool to study ecology of specialized metabolites.