Research Topic

Microbial Chain Elongation- Close the Carbon Loop by Connecting-Communities

About this Research Topic

Waste, residues, ‘used products’ and CO2 are crucial inputs to close the carbon-loop of our society. These materials should be converted into new commodity chemicals or circular products to enable the Circular Economy. For this, robust, cheap, and sustainable catalysts are needed to utilize these large streams in man-engineered solutions. Biocatalysts like micro-organisms are especially interesting for this. They take-up small carbon-based molecules and excrete them as multi-carbon chemicals. By integrating these micro-organisms in bioreactors one can produce ‘microbially chain-elongated’ biochemicals like medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). These MCFA are separable from the microbial broth and can be used for solvents, bioplastics, biofuels, feed-additive, plant-growth promotion, and much more.
The goal of this research topic is to bring together a collection of research/review articles on Microbial Chain Elongation to provide an inspiring overview of recent advances and future perspectives. Research on this topic is evolving while various industries are enabling first applications. We invite scientists, engineers, industry, and other stakeholders that are interested to learn about this topic and share their insights. With this, we hope to create a ‘Microbial Chain Elongation’ society. By learning more about each other’s fields we can collectively identify knowledge gaps and recognize technological challenges.
Microbial chain-elongation processes evolve in several biorefinery platforms. Microbial bioprocesses allow the conversion of numerous (in)organics feedstocks (from C1 compounds onwards) into a variety of carboxylic acids, alcohols, esters, alkanes, and other biochemicals. A diversity of carbon-elongation pathways enable the bioconversion of short molecules into longer chain molecules. Chain elongation is emerging as a breakthrough resource recovery process within the Circular Economy.
For example, organic waste streams are currently digested into methane, which is typically converted into electric power, or flared off. Chain elongation does allow the conversion of these and other waste streams into a valuable growing product portfolio.
This Research Topic welcomes Original Research and Review articles on all bioengineering and biotechnological topics related to microbial chain elongation, including, but not limited to the following:
- Biorefinery development
- Integration in circular economy
- Bioreactor and separation engineering
- Bioprocess development
- Pilot studies
- Life Cycle Assessment
- Microbiology of microbiomes
- Pure or mixed culture engineering
- Bioinformatics
- Modelling of processes or systems engineering

Contributions that were/are presented at the 1st International Chain Elongation Conference (www.icec2020.nl)are especially welcomed.

Largus Angenent is a founder of Capro-X, Inc. and a member of its scientific advisory board. Angenent also holds US patents in caproate and caprylate production.


Keywords: Chain Elongation, Biorefinery, Resource Recovery, Anaerobic Digestion, Circular Economy, Bioprocess Engineering, Microbiology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Waste, residues, ‘used products’ and CO2 are crucial inputs to close the carbon-loop of our society. These materials should be converted into new commodity chemicals or circular products to enable the Circular Economy. For this, robust, cheap, and sustainable catalysts are needed to utilize these large streams in man-engineered solutions. Biocatalysts like micro-organisms are especially interesting for this. They take-up small carbon-based molecules and excrete them as multi-carbon chemicals. By integrating these micro-organisms in bioreactors one can produce ‘microbially chain-elongated’ biochemicals like medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA). These MCFA are separable from the microbial broth and can be used for solvents, bioplastics, biofuels, feed-additive, plant-growth promotion, and much more.
The goal of this research topic is to bring together a collection of research/review articles on Microbial Chain Elongation to provide an inspiring overview of recent advances and future perspectives. Research on this topic is evolving while various industries are enabling first applications. We invite scientists, engineers, industry, and other stakeholders that are interested to learn about this topic and share their insights. With this, we hope to create a ‘Microbial Chain Elongation’ society. By learning more about each other’s fields we can collectively identify knowledge gaps and recognize technological challenges.
Microbial chain-elongation processes evolve in several biorefinery platforms. Microbial bioprocesses allow the conversion of numerous (in)organics feedstocks (from C1 compounds onwards) into a variety of carboxylic acids, alcohols, esters, alkanes, and other biochemicals. A diversity of carbon-elongation pathways enable the bioconversion of short molecules into longer chain molecules. Chain elongation is emerging as a breakthrough resource recovery process within the Circular Economy.
For example, organic waste streams are currently digested into methane, which is typically converted into electric power, or flared off. Chain elongation does allow the conversion of these and other waste streams into a valuable growing product portfolio.
This Research Topic welcomes Original Research and Review articles on all bioengineering and biotechnological topics related to microbial chain elongation, including, but not limited to the following:
- Biorefinery development
- Integration in circular economy
- Bioreactor and separation engineering
- Bioprocess development
- Pilot studies
- Life Cycle Assessment
- Microbiology of microbiomes
- Pure or mixed culture engineering
- Bioinformatics
- Modelling of processes or systems engineering

Contributions that were/are presented at the 1st International Chain Elongation Conference (www.icec2020.nl)are especially welcomed.

Largus Angenent is a founder of Capro-X, Inc. and a member of its scientific advisory board. Angenent also holds US patents in caproate and caprylate production.


Keywords: Chain Elongation, Biorefinery, Resource Recovery, Anaerobic Digestion, Circular Economy, Bioprocess Engineering, Microbiology


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

19 December 2020 Abstract
18 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

19 December 2020 Abstract
18 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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