The pennate diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum
is a model organism able to synthesize industrially-relevant molecules. Commercial-scale cultivation currently requires large monocultures, prone to bio-contamination. However, little is known about the identity of the invading organisms. To reduce the complexity of natural systems, we systematically investigated the microbiome of non-axenic P. tricornutum
cultures from a culture collection in reproducible experiments. The results revealed a dynamic bacterial community that developed differently in “complete” and “minimal” media conditions. In complete media, we observed an accelerated “culture crash”, indicating a more stable culture in minimal media. The identification of only four bacterial families as major players within the microbiome suggests specific roles depending on environmental conditions. From our results we propose a network of putative interactions between P. tricornutum
and these main bacterial factions. We demonstrate that, even with rather sparse data, a mathematical model can be reconstructed that qualitatively reproduces the observed population dynamics, thus indicating that our hypotheses regarding the molecular interactions are in agreement with experimental data. Whereas the model in its current state is only qualitative, we argue that it serves as a starting point to develop quantitative and predictive mathematical models, which may guide experimental efforts to synthetically construct and monitor stable communities required for robust upscaling strategies.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited