Innovating carbon-capture biotechnologies through ecosystem-inspired solutions

Hannah Schweitzer, Nerea J. Aalto, Wolfgang Busch, Dennis Tin Chat Chan, Matteo Chiesa, Edel O. Elvevoll, Robin Gerlach, Kirsten Krause, Karel Mocaer, James J. Moran, Joseph P. Noel, Shalaka Kiran Patil, Yannick Schwab, René H. Wijffels, Angela Wulff, Lise Øvreås, Hans C. Bernstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Rising atmospheric carbon concentrations affect global health, the economy, and overall quality of life. We are fast approaching climate tipping points that must be addressed, not only by reducing emissions but also through new innovation and action toward carbon capture for sequestration and utilization (CCSU). In this perspective, we delineate next-generation biotechnologies for CCSU supported by engineering design principles derived from ecological processes inspired by three major biomes (plant-soil, deep biosphere, and marine). These are to interface with existing industrial infrastructure and, in some cases, tap into the carbon sink potential of nature. To develop ecosystem-inspired biotechnology, it is important to identify accessible control points of CO2 and CH4 within a given system as well as value-chain opportunities that drive innovation. In essence, we must supplement natural biogeochemical carbon sinks with new bioengineering solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-59
Number of pages11
JournalOne Earth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2021


  • algae
  • carbon capture and sequestration CCS
  • carbon capture and utilization CCU
  • deep biosphere
  • Green Shift
  • marine microbiome
  • rhizosphere
  • soil

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