Biology Faculty Articles

Title

Design Principles and Applications of Engineered Microbial Consortia

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2011

Publication Title

Acta Horticulturae

Keywords

Synthetic Biology, Gene Circuit, Cell to Cell Communication, Quorum Sensing, Synthetic Ecosystem, Metabolite Exchange

ISSN

0567-7572

Volume

905

First Page

63

Last Page

69

Abstract

Synthetic biology has generated countless examples of novel behavior in bacteria. Through a combination of mathematical modeling and experimental analyses, researchers utilize engineered genetic circuits to predict and control bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells. However, due the ability of microbial consortia to perform increasingly complex tasks, consortia are being implemented for use in synthetic biology. In order to confer a novel behavior to a consortium, two distinct microbial populations can be engineered to communicate with each other by using small molecules or metabolites. Alternatively, one can spatially constrain and arrange each population. Once a microbial consortium is designed, one can utilize the system to address significant ecological questions. Furthermore, microbial consortia can potentially be used in field-specific applications, such as biofuel production and bioremediation. In the following manuscript, current concepts and methodologies involved in engineering synthetic microbial consortia are reviewed along with current and future applications of such consortia.

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