A new platform makes comprehensive Raman spectroscopy data available worldwide for the first time. Researchers at Leibniz IPHT support the development with their expertise. MicrobioRaman provides free access to detailed information on microscopic life forms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi and opens up new possibilities for biomedical research, for example to clarify the role of microbes in ecosystems or to develop new medical treatments.

Raman spectroscopy uses light to analyze the chemical composition of microorganisms. MicrobioRaman, which was presented in the high-impact journal Nature Microbiology on May 7, 2024, is comparable to scientific databases such as GenBank and UniProt. It was developed by a large international research team led by ETH Zurich. The platform stores information about the chemical signals of microorganisms and makes it available for research in environmental science, medicine and many other fields.

“The database not only provides access to comprehensive Raman data, but also the opportunity to share and compare them worldwide,” explains Prof. Jürgen Popp, Scientific Director of Leibniz IPHT. “This will greatly facilitate collaboration between researchers and advance the development of innovative biophotonic methods for medicine – for example, by training models developed using machine learning on these data.” Popp was consulted for the development of the database because of his expertise in biospectroscopy, while Prof. Volker Deckert of Leibniz IPHT and the University of Jena was brought in as an expert in nanoraman.

“The universal approach of the MicrobioRaman database aims to provide a comprehensive collection of Raman data from basic and applied microbiology research. For the first time, it covers the entire breadth of Raman spectroscopy,” says Volker Deckert. “This includes data from normal Raman spectroscopy to advanced techniques – from linear to non-linear to time-resolved Raman spectroscopy. As a tool for science, MicroBioRaman marks a step toward a more open and collaborative research culture, the researchers say. “Every contribution to this platform increases collective knowledge and accelerates scientific discovery.”

MicrobioRaman database: https://www.ebi.ac.uk/biostudies/MicrobioRaman/studies

Scientific article:
Lee, K.S., Landry, Z., Athar, A. et al. MicrobioRaman: an open-access web repository for microbiological Raman spectroscopy data. Nat Microbiol 9, 1152-1156 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-024-01656-3