NorthenLab: Exometabolomics linking genomes with environments to understand how webs of microbes sustain biomes

Uncovering algal interactions using molecular networking

Northen Lab researchers Vanessa Brisson, Benjamin Bowen, Amber Golini, and Trent Northen are authors on the new paper “Identification of Effector Metabolites Using Exometabolite Profiling of Diverse Microalgae.” In this study, untargeted metabolomic analysis was conducted on nonpolar exometabolites produced by four microalgal strains. Understanding microalgal interactions is important, given they contribute almost 50% of photosynthetic carbon fixation and are key organisms with regard to biofuels.

Feature-based molecular networking revealed the algae were producing di- and tripeptides, lumichrome, and prostaglandin-like molecules. Five of the compounds identified (lumichrome, 5′-S-methyl-5′-thioadenosine, 17-phenyl trinor prostaglandin A2, dodecanedioic acid, and aleuritic acid) had an impact on algal growth when added to cultures, as measured by chlorophyll production. To learn more about these interactions and check out the full results, read the original paper