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Study discovers how some single-cell organisms control microbiomes

NYU Abu Dhabi study discovers how some single-cell organisms control microbiomes
Graphical depiction of the microbiomes surrounding microalgae Credit: NYU Abu Dhabi

Large swaths of single-celled eukaryotes, non-bacterial single-cell organisms like microalgae, fungi or mold, can control microbiomes (a collection of tiny microbes, mostly bacteria) by secreting unusual small molecules around their cells, maintaining host survival and ecological success, according to a new study by NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) Assistant Professor of Biology Shady Amin.


Research in the past decade has shown that most eukaryotes need microbiomes to survive. While we understand how large eukaryotes, like humans, corals and plants, control their microbiomes, scientists do not know how single-celled eukaryotes, like microalgae, do so.

In humans, microbiomes can influence digestion, physical features, weight, susceptibility to disease, and even mental health. In corals, microbiomes sustain corals and enable them to withstand environmental change. In trees, microbiomes provide essential nutrients that enable forests and agricultural crops to grow. In microalgae, these microbiomes provide

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