The main results of the postdoc research of Javier Ruiz and Miguel de Celis in our lab, in collaboration with Álvaro Sanchez lab (formerly at Yale, now at CNB-CSIC) are now out in Molecular Systems Biology. Read the summary of the work, and access the full text (open access) below!
Predictively linking taxonomic composition and quantitative ecosystem functions is a major aspiration in microbial ecology, which must be resolved if we wish to engineer microbial consortia. Here, we have addressed this open question for an ecological function of major biotechnological relevance: alcoholic fermentation in wine yeast communities. By exhaustively phenotyping an extensive collection of naturally occurring wine yeast strains, we find that most ecologically and industrially relevant traits exhibit phylogenetic signal, allowing functional traits in wine yeast communities to be predicted from taxonomy. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the quantitative contributions of individual wine yeast strains to the function of complex communities followed simple quantitative rules. These regularities can be integrated to quantitatively predict the function of newly assembled consortia. Besides addressing theoretical questions in functional ecology, our results and methodologies can provide a blueprint for rationally managing microbial processes of biotechnological relevance.
Click here to access the open access version of the paper, publised in Molecular Systems Biology