Issue 5, 2017

Fingerprinting microbiomes towards screening for microbial antibiotic resistance


There is an increasing need to investigate microbiomes in their entirety in a variety of contexts ranging from environmental to human health scenarios. This requirement is becoming increasingly important with the emergence of antibiotic resistance. In general, more conventional approaches are too expensive and/or time-consuming and often predicated on prior knowledge of the microorganisms one wishes to study. Herein, we propose the use of biospectroscopy tools as relatively high-throughput, non-destructive approaches to profile microbiomes under study. Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) or Raman spectroscopy both generate fingerprint spectra of biological material and such spectra can readily be subsequently classed according to biochemical changes in the microbiota, such as emergence of antibiotic resistance. FTIR spectroscopy techniques generally can only be applied to desiccated material whereas Raman approaches can be applied to more hydrated samples. The ability to readily fingerprint microbiomes could lend itself to new approaches in determining microbial behaviours and emergence of antibiotic resistance.

Graphical abstract: Fingerprinting microbiomes towards screening for microbial antibiotic resistance

Article information

Article type
Review Article
12 Jan 2017
23 Apr 2017
First published
27 Apr 2017

Integr. Biol., 2017,9, 406-417