Research Topic

Metabolomics of Human Microbiome Studies: Recent Advances in Methods and Applications

About this Research Topic

The microbial communities living in or on the human body are now widely recognized as a key determinant of human health and disease. High-throughput next-generation sequencing techniques have enabled the discovery of “who” makes up the human microbial community. Naturally, the next question is, “What are they doing there?” To answer this fundamental question, many metabolomics approaches have been developed to sensitively and specifically detect microbial metabolites. Eventually, the qualitative and quantitative detection of microbial metabolites will greatly enhance our understanding of their potential functionality, and the consequential impact on the human host.

Advances in high-sensitivity and high-throughput metabolomics technologies have enabled the comprehensive detection of thousands of small-molecule metabolites in microbial communities. Analyzing metabolic differences between differentially regulated biochemical pathways can facilitate the discovery of potential biomarkers associated with human dysbiosis or diseases, and provide insights into the underlying pathogenesis. This has been highlighted by an increase in studies that rely on multi-omic profiling to simultaneously characterize community ecology, metabolic signatures, and functional attributes of the human microbiome. For example, among the most-studied bioactive microbial metabolites influencing human health are the short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) including acetate, butyrate, and propionate, which have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer. Other examples include the tryptophan derivatives, branch chain amino acids, bile acids, biogenic amines and sphingolipids, all with evidence of microbial interactions (both mutualistic and pathogenic ones) and bioactivity.

The present Research Topic aims to cover recent advances and updates in the human microbial metabolomics studies, relevant method developments, as well as their applications, both basic and clinical researches are welcomed. A variety of article types will be considered, includes Original Research, Review, Hypothesis and Theory, Methods, Mini-Review, and Perspective.
Themes to be addressed in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:

• Metabolomics method development and validation for human microbial metabolism analysis.
• Challenges and opportunities for human microbial metabolomics analysis.
• Metabolomics studies that reveal the connections of microbial metabolic profiles and their functions related to particular site of human body, especially for important cluster of health-related microbes such as lung microbiome, gut microbiome, etc.
• Human microbial metabolomics analysis that connect distance organs with metabolites as signaling molecules, such as the studies of gut microbe-microbial metabolites-brain axis.
• Quantitative metabolomics analysis of human microbial metabolites for disease diagnosis.
• Multi-omics studies involve metabolomics in combination with other ‘omics’ techniques for human microbial analysis.

A list of accepted article types including descriptions can be found at this link.


Keywords: metabolomics, multi-omics, microbiota, quantitative analysis, microbial metabolism


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The microbial communities living in or on the human body are now widely recognized as a key determinant of human health and disease. High-throughput next-generation sequencing techniques have enabled the discovery of “who” makes up the human microbial community. Naturally, the next question is, “What are they doing there?” To answer this fundamental question, many metabolomics approaches have been developed to sensitively and specifically detect microbial metabolites. Eventually, the qualitative and quantitative detection of microbial metabolites will greatly enhance our understanding of their potential functionality, and the consequential impact on the human host.

Advances in high-sensitivity and high-throughput metabolomics technologies have enabled the comprehensive detection of thousands of small-molecule metabolites in microbial communities. Analyzing metabolic differences between differentially regulated biochemical pathways can facilitate the discovery of potential biomarkers associated with human dysbiosis or diseases, and provide insights into the underlying pathogenesis. This has been highlighted by an increase in studies that rely on multi-omic profiling to simultaneously characterize community ecology, metabolic signatures, and functional attributes of the human microbiome. For example, among the most-studied bioactive microbial metabolites influencing human health are the short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) including acetate, butyrate, and propionate, which have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and colorectal cancer. Other examples include the tryptophan derivatives, branch chain amino acids, bile acids, biogenic amines and sphingolipids, all with evidence of microbial interactions (both mutualistic and pathogenic ones) and bioactivity.

The present Research Topic aims to cover recent advances and updates in the human microbial metabolomics studies, relevant method developments, as well as their applications, both basic and clinical researches are welcomed. A variety of article types will be considered, includes Original Research, Review, Hypothesis and Theory, Methods, Mini-Review, and Perspective.
Themes to be addressed in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:

• Metabolomics method development and validation for human microbial metabolism analysis.
• Challenges and opportunities for human microbial metabolomics analysis.
• Metabolomics studies that reveal the connections of microbial metabolic profiles and their functions related to particular site of human body, especially for important cluster of health-related microbes such as lung microbiome, gut microbiome, etc.
• Human microbial metabolomics analysis that connect distance organs with metabolites as signaling molecules, such as the studies of gut microbe-microbial metabolites-brain axis.
• Quantitative metabolomics analysis of human microbial metabolites for disease diagnosis.
• Multi-omics studies involve metabolomics in combination with other ‘omics’ techniques for human microbial analysis.

A list of accepted article types including descriptions can be found at this link.


Keywords: metabolomics, multi-omics, microbiota, quantitative analysis, microbial metabolism


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

30 November 2020 Abstract
31 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 November 2020 Abstract
31 March 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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