Engineering of ecological niches to create stable artificial consortia for complex biotransformations

Robert L. Shahab, Simone Brethauer, Jeremy S. Luterbacher, Michael H. Studer
2020 Current Opinion in Biotechnology  
The design of controllable artificial microbial consortia has attracted considerable interest in recent years to capitalize on the inherent advantages in comparison to monocultures such as the distribution of the metabolic burden by division of labor, the modularity and the ability to convert complex substrates. One promising approach to control the consortia composition, function and stability is the provision of defined ecological niches fitted to the specific needs of the consortium members.
more » ... In this review, we discuss recent examples for the creation of metabolic niches by biological engineering of resource partitioning and syntrophic interactions. Moreover, we introduce a complementing process engineering approach to provide defined spatial niches with differing abiotic conditions (e.g. O2, T, light) in stirred tank reactors harboring biofilms. This enables the co-cultivation of microorganisms with non-overlapping abiotic requirements and the control of the strain ratio in consortia characterized by substrate competition.
doi:10.1016/j.copbio.2019.09.008 pmid:31671322 fatcat:6rdbarapordszc5gcmjr7qz45u