First of all a very happy 2017 to all readers. It will be my new year’s resolution to update the blog more frequently (for instance, I have not blogged about really interesting visits to Prof Haiwei Luo in Hong Kong, the natural product discovery company Selcia in the UK or a talk for the Cornish Microbiological Society with our colleagues at the hospital in Truro….).
Anyway, I was fortunate enough to be invited to contribute (a little bit!) to a review paper on volatile secondary metabolites with lead author Dr. Paolina Garbeva at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (see here for a short post on a visit last year). Paolina have a collaboration planned for this year which I am very excited about (and which will be documented on the blog). The paper in Trends in Microbiology came out just before the end of 2016, from the Abstract:
The rich diversity of secondary metabolites produced by soil bacteria has been appreciated for over a century, and advances in chemical analysis and genome sequencing continue to greatly advance our understanding of this biochemical complexity. However, we are just at the beginning of understanding the physicochemical properties of bacterial metabolites, the factors that govern their production and ecological roles. Interspecific interactions and competitor sensing are among the main biotic factors affecting the production of bacterial secondary metabolites. Many soil bacteria produce both volatile and soluble compounds. In contrast to soluble compounds, volatile organic compounds can diffuse easily through air- and gas-filled pores in the soil and likely play an important role in long-distance microbial interactions. In this review we provide an overview of the most important soluble and volatile classes of secondary metabolites produced by soil bacteria, their ecological roles, and their possible synergistic effects.