Microbiome Protocol Development

From Sample to Multi-Omics Conclusions in under 48 Hours


Authors: Robert A. Quinn, Jose A. Navas-Molina, Embriette R. Hyde, Se Jin Song, Yoshiki Vázquez-Baeza, Greg Humphrey, James Gaffney, Jeremiah J. Minich, Alexey V. Melnik, Jakob Herschend, JeffDeReus, Austin Durant, Rachel J. Dutton, Mahdieh Khosroheidari, Clifford Green, Ricardo da Silva, Pieter C. Dorrestein, Rob Knight

Multi-omics methods have greatly advanced our understanding of the biological organism and its microbial associates. However, they are not routinely used in clinical or industrial applications, due to the length of time required to generate and analyze omics data. Here, we applied a novel integrated omics pipeline for the analysis of human and environmental samples in under 48 h. Human subjects that ferment their own foods provided swab samples from skin, feces, oral cavity, fermented foods, and household surfaces to assess the impact of home food fermentation on their microbial and chemical ecology. These samples were analyzed with 16S rRNA gene sequencing, inferred gene function profiles, and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) metabolomics through the Qiita, PICRUSt, and GNPS pipelines, respectively. The human sample microbiomes clustered with the corresponding sample types in the American Gut Project (http://www.americangut.org), and the fermented food samples produced a separate cluster. The microbial communities of the household surfaces were primarily sourced from the fermented foods, and their consumption was associated with increased gut microbial diversity. Untargeted metabolomics revealed that human skin and fermented food samples had separate chemical ecologies and that stool was more similar to fermented foods than to other sample types. Metabolites from the fermented foods, including plant products such as procyanidin and pheophytin, were present in the skin and stool samples of the individuals consuming the foods. Some food metabolites were modified during digestion, and others were detected in stool intact. This study represents a first-of-its-kind analysis of multi-omics data that achieved time intervals matching those of classic microbiological culturing.