Challenges and perspectives of metaproteomic data analysis

J Biotechnol. 2017 Nov 10;261:24-36. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2017.06.1201. Epub 2017 Jun 27.


In nature microorganisms live in complex microbial communities. Comprehensive taxonomic and functional knowledge about microbial communities supports medical and technical application such as fecal diagnostics as well as operation of biogas plants or waste water treatment plants. Furthermore, microbial communities are crucial for the global carbon and nitrogen cycle in soil and in the ocean. Among the methods available for investigation of microbial communities, metaproteomics can approximate the activity of microorganisms by investigating the protein content of a sample. Although metaproteomics is a very powerful method, issues within the bioinformatic evaluation impede its success. In particular, construction of databases for protein identification, grouping of redundant proteins as well as taxonomic and functional annotation pose big challenges. Furthermore, growing amounts of data within a metaproteomics study require dedicated algorithms and software. This review summarizes recent metaproteomics software and addresses the introduced issues in detail.

Keywords: Big data; Bioinformatics; Environmental proteomics; Mass spectrometry; Microbial communities; Software.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Microbiology
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Metagenomics*
  • Microbial Consortia*
  • Proteomics*
  • Software