Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Digitalizing the microbiome

Hundreds of different bacterial species live in the human gut, helping us to digest our food. The metabolic processes of these bacteria are not only tremendously important to our health—they are also tremendously complex. A research team has taken an important step in modelling the complexity of the human gut’s bacterial communities—the microbiome—on the computer.

A research team at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg has taken an important step in modelling the complexity of the human gut's bacterial communities -- the microbiome -- on the computer. The researchers gathered all known data on the metabolism of 773 bacterial strains -- more than ever before. Working from this data, they developed a computer model for each bacterial strain. This collection, known as AGORA, can now be used on the computer to simulate metabolic processes taking place in the microbes and to investigate how they affect the metabolism of other microbes and that of the human host. The collection of predictive metabolic models is available to researchers via http://vmh.life.

For further details see:

Stefanía Magnúsdóttir, Almut Heinken, Laura Kutt, Dmitry A Ravcheev, Eugen Bauer, Alberto Noronha, Kacy Greenhalgh, Christian Jäger, Joanna Baginska, Paul Wilmes, Ronan M T Fleming, Ines Thiele. Generation of genome-scale metabolic reconstructions for 773 members of the human gut microbiota. Nature Biotechnology, 2016; DOI:10.1038/nbt.3703

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle