What are all these hundreds of different bacterial species doing in and on us? What interactions occur between the host and the microbes, and between the microbes themselves? By studying proteins, metaproteomics tries to find preliminary answers to these questions. There is daunting complexity around this; in fact, many of these proteins have never been studied before. This article is an introduction to the field of metaproteomics in the context of the human microbiome. It summarizes where we are and what we have learnt so far. The focus will be on faecal proteomics as most metaproteomics research has been conducted on that sample type. Metaproteomics has made major advances in the past decade, but new sample preparation strategies, improved mass spectrometric analysis and, most importantly, data analysis and interpretation have the potential to pave the way for large-cohort metaproteomics.

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