Functional microbiome research and natural products as a chemical language for microbial communication / Molecular biotechnology of natural products

Molecular Biotechnology of Natural Products

Our goal is to learn to understand natural products as structuring molecules of microorganisms (functional microbiome research), i.e. we address the questions of why certain microorganisms are part of a defined microbiome and what determines its composition. The language of microorganisms consists largely of exchanged molecules. Natural products – some of which are used as antibiotics – play a special role. For almost all of these substances, however, their ecological function in the natural habitat is unknown and, as we found out, the ecological context, especially the presence of other microorganisms, is important for their formation. Elucidating their functions is important for understanding general principles of microbiome interaction, especially how they lead to the formation of defined microbiomes, what effects the loss of this molecular language has on human health, and how healthy microbiomes can be restored.

Our work in this area can be described as follows:

  • Microbial communication – Functional microbiome research, partly based on natural products.
  • Molecular biotechnology and development of microbial agents/antibiotics


Axel A. Brakhage
Maira Rosin
Volker Schroeckh
Christina Täumer
Lukas Zehner


Krespach MKC, Stroe MC, Netzker T, Rosin M, Zehner LM, Komor AJ, Beilmann JM, Krüger T, Scherlach K, Kniemeyer O, Schroeckh V, Hertweck C, Brakhage AA (2023) Streptomyces polyketides mediate bacteria-fungi interactions across soil environments. Nat Microbiol 8(7), 1348-1361.