Public goods and metabolic strategies

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2016 Jun;31:109-115. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2016.03.007. Epub 2016 Apr 4.


Microbial growth can be characterized by a limited set of macroscopic parameters such as growth rate, biomass yield and substrate affinity. Different culturing protocols for laboratory evolution have been developed to select mutant strains that have one specific macroscopic growth parameter improved. Some of those mutant strains display tradeoffs between growth parameters and changed metabolic strategies, for example, a shift from respiration to fermentation. Here we discuss recent studies suggesting that metabolic strategies and growth parameter tradeoffs originate from a common set of physicochemical and cellular constraints, associated with the allocation of intracellular resources over biosynthetic processes, mostly protein synthesis. This knowledge will give insight in ecological and biological concepts and can be used for metabolic and evolutionary engineering strategies.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Biomass
  • Fermentation
  • Protein Biosynthesis