Research Topic

Advances in Microbial Consortia/Co-cultures

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Microbial consortia (co-cultures) are two or more interacting microbial populations that can be found in many diverse environmental niches. Interest has recently emerged in engineering microbial consortia, because they exhibit appealing features, such as sophisticated metabolic capabilities and robustness, ...

Microbial consortia (co-cultures) are two or more interacting microbial populations that can be found in many diverse environmental niches. Interest has recently emerged in engineering microbial consortia, because they exhibit appealing features, such as sophisticated metabolic capabilities and robustness, therefore, can perform complicated tasks that are more difficult or even impossible for individual populations. In some cases, balancing multiple tasks so that they are both efficiently completed within a single organism is extremely challenging. Instead, compartmentalizing the molecular components of the entire process in different organisms would allow the metabolism of each cell type to be specifically tuned to the best status, and therefore avoid the need for trade-offs in a single cell type. The existence of such cooperation and division of labour are very common in nature, where organisms establish different kinds of mutual relationships. We can easily find such examples, including bacteria for anaerobic methane oxidation, plants and bacteria for global nitrogen fixation, and gut microbes facilitate food utilization and metabolite transfer in higher animals. It is also noticed that industry has borrowed the ideas from nature to apply microbial consortia in food processing and biological waste treatment. Recently, the synthetic microbial consortia were also built to target biomass utilization, environmental remediation, and natural products.

Since microbial consortia can carry out more complex functions and endure more changeable environments than individual organisms, they represent an important new frontier for synthetic biology. Currently, more and more researchers are developing powerful tools for achieving stable and regulable consortia to fulfil their applications in health, environment and industry.

This Research Topic encourages original research articles and reviews in the field of microbial consortia. Topics of interest include but are not limited to:
• Fungal and/or bacterial consortia
• Undefined microbial consortia
• Synthetic/artificial consortia
• Modelling of synthetic microbial consortia
• Genetic and metabolic engineering
• Fermentation or co-culturing process
• Genome biology and RNA technology
• Design of microbial consortia for industrial biotechnology
• Environmental microbiology and biotechnology
• Food microbiota and safety
• Medical microbiology and treatment
• Gut microbiota and human health
• Probiotics and Nutrition
• Biomass utilization
• Waste treatment and degradation
• Biofuel/Biodiesel/bioenergy production
• Natural products
• Microbial interaction, communication and signal molecules
• Biofilms and quorum-sensing (QS)


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