COG3 Seminar - Darcy McRose

Speaker: 
Darcy McRose
Date: 
Friday, April 9, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Location: 
Virtual

A surprising role for microbial “antibiotics” in the promotion of phosphorus bioavailability

Microbial communities in soils and sediments are key players in global biogeochemical cycles and influence primary production, carbon storage, and the growth of agricultural plants. While important, these environments and the microbial communities they host are notoriously challenging to understand in a predictive manner. One productive approach to this problem may be to focus on the small molecule tools that microbes use to modify their surroundings. Almost every microbe (and plant) makes numerous excreted “secondary metabolites”, which aid in nutrient acquisition, defense, and communication. Production of these metabolites is ubiquitous and significant amounts of fixed carbon and nitrogen can be devoted to their synthesis. Yet, because secondary metabolites have been primarily studied as antibiotics, we know surprisingly little about their other functions in the environment. In this talk, I will discuss ways in which considerations of the chemical properties, genetic regulation, and environmental context for secondary metabolite production can yield surprising insights into their functions in biogeochemical processes. I will focus specifically on the identification of new roles for redox-active microbial antibiotics in increasing the bioavailability of phosphorus via reductive dissolution.

About this Series:

The Chemical Oceanography, Geology, Geochemistry, and Geobiology Seminar [COG3] is a student-run seminar series. Topics include chemical oceanography, geology, geochemistry, and geobiology. The seminars usually take place on Fridays from 10-11am, unless otherwise noted (term-time only). Contact: cog3_seminar_organizers@mit.edu