Bacteria produce and release into their headspace a wide variety of volatile secondary metabolites. However, While detection and quantification of these volatiles as attractive or repellent odors and aromas are of great interest in food and cosmetic bioprocesses, little is known about their ecological roles of bacterial volatile compounds (BVCs), able to diffuse in heterogeneous environments (soil, gut, etc.) colonized by bacteria. We are currently investigating the nature of BVCs produced by bacterial communities and their contribution to bacterial biofilm ecology and biology.
In collaboration with the Perception and Memory Team, we investigate whether microbe-derived volatile chemicals trigger specific behavioral responses in rodents. The strength of attractiveness and repulsivity will be assessed for volatile chemicals originated from precise bacterial species and single compound will be identified using mass spectrometry coupled with Gas chromatography. This study aims at demonstrating that bacterial-emitted chemicals represent signaling that goes beyond intra-species communication.
Audrain, B., M. Farag, C.M. Ryu, and J.M. Ghigo. (2015). Role of bacterial volatiles compounds in bacterial biology. FEMS Microbiology Reviews