Potential Impact

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As microbial consortia are able to perform more complex tasks than monocultures and are more robust to environmental changes [1] the impact of our project – the engineering of a stable synthetic microbial consortium – has to be considered strong for many fields in biotechnology. For instance, current literature discusses the impact of complex bacterial systems on overall production and composition of biofuels [2], which is a rapidly growing field of interest due to increasing consumption of limited terrestrial oil resources. Aside from biofuel production, microbial consortia are already used in wastewater treatment [1]. Eiteman et al. demonstrated that lignocellulosic biomass is more efficiently fermented in a consortium of two different E. coli strains than in monocultures [3]. However, no mechanism to efficiently control these complex systems has been established yet. We address this issue in our project.
With our system we contribute to the establishment of a universal and widely applicable system for bacterial co-cultivation in order to expand the potential of synthetic biology to more complex tasks.

Potential Impact
Single steps of biotechological processes can be split between
individual strains in microbial consortia. (modified from [1])

[1] Brenner, K., L. You, and F.H. Arnold, Engineering microbial consortia: a new frontier in synthetic biology.Trends Biotechnol, 2008. 26(9): p. 483-9.
[2] Kerner, A., et al., A Programmable Escherichia coli Consortium via Tunable Symbiosis. PLoS ONE, 2012. 7(3): p. e34032.
[3] Eiteman, M., S. Lee, and E. Altman, A co-fermentation strategy to consume sugar mixtures effectively. Journal of Biological Engineering, 2008. 2(1): p. 3.

Our sponsors

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