Many microorganisms remain understudied due to the challenges and complexities of culturing. An integrated lab automation and machine learning platform called BacterAI could be the future.

Advances in sequencing technology have greatly expanded our ability to identify and survey the staggeringly diverse and ever-expanding microbial world1. Newly discovered species could be an untapped source of novel bioactive molecules such as antibiotics2; however, the potential of this vast microbial diversity has not been fully realized. Fewer than 2% of all microbial species are currently culturable3. This is due to a lack of knowledge about growth requirements3,4, and the tedious, labour-intensive experiments that stand in the way of this essential knowledge.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Access Nature and 54 other Nature Portfolio journals

Get Nature+, our best-value online-access subscription

£24.99 / 30 days

cancel any time

Subscribe to this journal

Receive 12 digital issues and online access to articles

£99.00 per year

only £8.25 per issue

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it

$39.95

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Learning appropriate culture conditions as a game.

References

  1. Louca, S., Mazel, F., Doebeli, M. & Parfrey, L. W. PLOS Biol. 17, e3000106 (2019).

    Article 
    CAS 
    PubMed 
    PubMed Central 

    Google Scholar
     

  2. Sekurova, O. N., Schneider, O. & Zotchev, S. B. Microb. Biotechnol. 12, 828–844 (2019).

    Article 
    PubMed 
    PubMed Central 

    Google Scholar
     

  3. Wade, W. J. R. Soc. Med. 95, 81–83 (2002).

    PubMed 
    PubMed Central 

    Google Scholar
     

  4. Lewis, W. H., Tahon, G., Geesink, P., Sousa, D. Z. & Ettema, T. J. G. Nat. Rev. Microbiol. 19, 225–240 (2021).

    Article 
    CAS 
    PubMed 

    Google Scholar
     

  5. Huang, Y. et al. Nat. Biotechnol. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41587-023-01674-2 (2023).

    Article 
    PubMed 

    Google Scholar
     

  6. Radivojević, T., Costello, Z., Workman, K. & Garcia Martin, H. Nat. Commun. 11, 4879 (2020).

    Article 
    PubMed 
    PubMed Central 

    Google Scholar
     

  7. Silver, D. et al. Science 362, 1140–1144 (2018).

    Article 
    CAS 
    PubMed 

    Google Scholar
     

  8. Dama, A. C. et al. Nat. Microbiol. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-023-01376-0 (2023).

    Article 
    PubMed 

    Google Scholar
     

  9. Murdoch, W. J., Singh, C., Kumbier, K., Abbasi-Asl, R. & Yu, B. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 116, 22071–22080 (2019).

    Article 
    CAS 
    PubMed 
    PubMed Central 

    Google Scholar
     

  10. Arnold, C. Nature 606, 612–613 (2022).

    Article 
    CAS 
    PubMed 

    Google Scholar
     

Download references

Author information

Author notes

  1. These authors contributed equally: Jacqueline A. Valeri, Aarti Krishnan.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. Infectious Disease and Microbiome Program, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA

    Jacqueline A. Valeri, Aarti Krishnan & James J. Collins

  2. Institute for Medical Engineering & Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

    Jacqueline A. Valeri, Aarti Krishnan & James J. Collins

  3. Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

    Jacqueline A. Valeri, Aarti Krishnan & James J. Collins

  4. Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA

    Jacqueline A. Valeri & James J. Collins

Corresponding author

Correspondence to
James J. Collins.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Valeri, J.A., Krishnan, A. & Collins, J.J. Gaming bacterial metabolism.
Nat Microbiol 8, 1004–1005 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-023-01390-2

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-023-01390-2

Read More