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Marine Metabolomics: a Method for Nontargeted Measurement of Metabolites in Seawater by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry.

MPS-Authors
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Sogin,  Emilia
Department of Symbiosis, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Puskas,  Erik
Department of Symbiosis, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Dubilier,  Nicole
Department of Symbiosis, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Liebeke,  Manuel
Department of Symbiosis, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Max Planck Society;

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Sogin_19.pdf
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Citation

Sogin, E., Puskas, E., Dubilier, N., & Liebeke, M. (2019). Marine Metabolomics: a Method for Nontargeted Measurement of Metabolites in Seawater by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry. mSystems, 4(6). doi:10.1128/mSystems.00638-19.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-C08D-3
Abstract
Microbial communities exchange molecules with their environment, which plays a major role in regulating global biogeochemical cycles and climate. While extracellular metabolites are commonly measured in terrestrial and limnic ecosystems, the presence of salt in marine habitats limits the nontargeted analyses of the ocean exometabolome using mass spectrometry (MS). Current methods require salt removal prior to sample measurements, which can alter the molecular composition of the metabolome and limit the types of compounds detected by MS. To overcome these limitations, we developed a gas chromatography MS (GC-MS) method that avoids sample altering during salt removal and that detects metabolites down to nanomolar concentrations from less than 1 ml of seawater. We applied our method (SeaMet) to explore marine metabolomes in vitro and in vivo First, we measured the production and consumption of metabolites during the culture of a heterotrophic bacterium, Marinobacter adhaerens Our approach revealed successional uptake of amino acids, while sugars were not consumed. These results show that exocellular metabolomics provides insights into nutrient uptake and energy conservation in marine microorganisms. We also applied SeaMet to explore the in situ metabolome of coral reef and mangrove sediment porewaters. Despite the fact that these ecosystems occur in nutrient-poor waters, we uncovered high concentrations of sugars and fatty acids, compounds predicted to play a key role for the abundant and diverse microbial communities in coral reef and mangrove sediments. Our data demonstrate that SeaMet advances marine metabolomics by enabling a nontargeted and quantitative analysis of marine metabolites, thus providing new insights into nutrient cycles in the oceans.IMPORTANCE Nontargeted approaches using metabolomics to analyze metabolites that occur in the oceans is less developed than those for terrestrial and limnic ecosystems. One of the challenges in marine metabolomics is that salt limits metabolite analysis in seawater to methods requiring salt removal. Building on previous sample preparation methods for metabolomics, we developed SeaMet, which overcomes the limitations of salt on metabolite detection. Considering that the oceans contain the largest dissolved organic matter pool on Earth, describing the marine metabolome using nontargeted approaches is critical for understanding the drivers behind element cycles, biotic interactions, ecosystem function, and atmospheric CO2 storage. Our method complements both targeted marine metabolomic investigations as well as other "omics" (e.g., genomics, transcriptomics, and proteomics) approaches by providing an avenue for studying the chemical interaction between marine microbes and their habitats.