PLoS computational biology

Glycoside Hydrolases across Environmental Microbial Communities.

PMID 27992426


Across many environments microbial glycoside hydrolases support the enzymatic processing of carbohydrates, a critical function in many ecosystems. Little is known about how the microbial composition of a community and the potential for carbohydrate processing relate to each other. Here, using 1,934 metagenomic datasets, we linked changes in community composition to variation of potential for carbohydrate processing across environments. We were able to show that each ecosystem-type displays a specific potential for carbohydrate utilization. Most of this potential was associated with just 77 bacterial genera. The GH content in bacterial genera is best described by their taxonomic affiliation. Across metagenomes, fluctuations of the microbial community structure and GH potential for carbohydrate utilization were correlated. Our analysis reveals that both deterministic and stochastic processes contribute to the assembly of complex microbial communities.