Synthetic co-cultures: novel avenues for bio-based processes

Martijn Diender, Ivette Parera Olm, Diana Z. Sousa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


In nature, microorganisms live in multi-species communities allowing microbial interactions. These interactions are lost upon establishing a pure culture, increasing the metabolic burden and limiting the metabolic potential of the isolated microbe. In the past years, synthetic microbial co-cultivation, using well-defined consortia of two or more microbes, was increasingly explored for innovative applications in biotechnology. As such, interspecies interactions take place without the complexity of an open mixed culture, minimizing undesired side reactions. Ultimately, synthetic co-cultivation allows to take well-characterized microbes ‘off-the-shelf’ to create ecosystems with improved process capabilities. This review highlights some of the recent developments on co-cultivation, focusing on waste-to-chemicals conversions. It also addresses fundamental knowledge on microbial interactions deriving from these studies, which is important to further develop our ability to engineer functional co-cultures for bioproduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-79
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


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