A mass-spectrometry technique that can characterise and spatially resolve the metabolites produced by bacteria could lead to a better understanding of how different microbes interact with each other, and how their chemistry could be harnessed industrially.
Of the thousands of chemical metabolites produced by bacteria, only a tiny fraction are accessible to the organic chemist using traditional synthetic techniques. Microbes can defend against attack with their own herbicides, pesticides and antibiotics, and encourage plants and animals that are beneficial to their survival by producing stimulants or substances that inhibit pathogens.
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Spatially resolved analysis of glycolipids and metabolites in living Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002 using nanospray desorption electrospray ionization
Ingela Lanekoff, Oleg Geydebrekht, Grigoriy E. Pinchuk, Allan E. Konopka and Julia Laskin
Analyst, 2013,138, 1971-1978