In a recent paper, SFI External Professor Elhanen Borenstein and co-authors show that when living together, communities of microbial species commonly produce novel, potentially useful compounds that single species growing alone do not produce. They begin to define the mechanisms and time signatures of such "emergent biosynthetic capacities" and present a computational framework for modeling, exploring, tracking, and predicting this phenomenon in simple two-species communities.

Such enhanced metabolic capacities represent a promising route to many medical, environmental, and industrial applications and call for the development of a predictive, systems-level understanding of synergistic microbial capacity, the authors write. 

Read the paper in PLOS Computational Biology (July 3, 2014)