Illuminating the Dark Metabolome of Pseudo-nitzschia-microbiome Associations
The exchange of metabolites mediates algal and bacterial interactions that maintain ecosystem function. Yet, while 1000s of metabolites are produced, only a few molecules have been identifiedin these associations. Using the ubiquitous microalgae Pseudo-nitzschia sp., as a model, we employed an untargeted metabolomics strategy to assign structural characteristics to themetabolites that distinguished specific diatom-microbiome associations. We cultured five species of Pseudo-nitzschia, including two species that produced the toxin domoic acid, and examinedtheir microbiomes and metabolomes. A total of 4826 molecular features were detected by tandem mass spectrometry. Only 229 of these could be annotated using available mass spectral libraries,but by applying new in-silico annotation tools, characterization was expanded to 2710 features. The metabolomes of the Pseudo-nitzschia-microbiome associations were distinct and distinguished by structurally diverse nitrogen compounds, ranging from simple amines andamides to cyclic compounds such as imidazoles, pyrrolidines, and lactams. By illuminating the dark metabolomes, this study expands our capacity to discover new chemical targets that facilitatemicrobial partnerships and uncovers the chemical diversity that underpins algae-bacteria interactions.