The introduction of 13C-labelled substrates to soils, sediments or cultures followed by 13C analysis of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) provides quantitative and chemotaxonomic information for the groups of microorganisms utilizing a given substrate. Gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry has provided the high precision necessary to measure small isotopic changes (differences in the relative abundances of 13C to 12C expressed as [delta]13C values) for nanogram amounts of individual compounds, such as microbial PLFAs. This methodology constitutes a powerful new culture-independent method for investigating microbial communities in the environment. The information obtained is highly complementary to that obtained from gene-probe-based methods, and considerable possibilities exist to extend this methodology to include other biochemical components of microorganisms.
Bibliographical notePublisher: Elsevier
Evershed, RP., Crossman, ZM., Bull, ID., Mottram, HR., Dungait, JAJ., Maxfield, PJ., & Brennand, EL. (2006). 13C-Labelling of lipids to investigate microbial communities in the environment. Current Opinion Biotechnol, 17 (1), 72 - 82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copbio.2006.01.003