Phospholipid fatty acid profiling of microbial communities: a review of interpretations and recent applications
Jansen van Rensburg, P.J.
MetadataShow full item record
Profiling of microbial communities in environmental samples often utilizes phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. This method has been used for more than 35 years and is still popular as a means to characterize microbial communities in a diverse range of environmental matrices. This review examines the various recent applications of PLFA analysis in environmental studies with specific reference to the interpretation of the PLFA results. It is evident that interpretations of PLFA results do not always correlate between different investigations. These discrepancies in interpretation and their subsequent applications to environmental studies are discussed. However, in spite of limitations to the manner in which PLFA data are applied, the approach remains one with great potential for improving our understanding of the relationship between microbial populations and the environment. This review highlights the caveats and provides suggestions towards the practicable application of PLFA data interpretation