Mini Review ARTICLE
Engineering microbial consortia to enhance biomining and bioremediation
- Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation, Division of Molecular Biosciences, Imperial College London, London, UK
In natural environments microorganisms commonly exist as communities of multiple species that are capable of performing more varied and complicated tasks than clonal populations. Synthetic biologists have engineered clonal populations with characteristics such as differentiation, memory, and pattern formation, which are usually associated with more complex multicellular organisms. The prospect of designing microbial communities has alluring possibilities for environmental, biomedical, and energy applications, and is likely to reveal insight into how natural microbial consortia function. Cell signaling and communication pathways between different species are likely to be key processes for designing novel functions in synthetic and natural consortia. Recent efforts to engineer synthetic microbial interactions will be reviewed here, with particular emphasis given to research with significance for industrial applications in the field of biomining and bioremediation of acid mine drainage.
Keywords: acid mine drainage, bioleaching, biomining, bioremediation, microbial consortia, synthetic biology, synthetic microbial consortia
Citation: Brune KD and Bayer TS (2012) Engineering microbial consortia to enhance biomining and bioremediation. Front. Microbio. 3:203. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2012.00203
Received: 10 April 2012; Accepted: 17 May 2012;
Published online: 05 June 2012.
Edited by:Weiwen Zhang, Tianjin University, China
Reviewed by:Romy Chakraborty, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, USA
Lei Chen, Tianjin University, China
Copyright: © 2012 Brune and Bayer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.
*Correspondence: Travis S. Bayer, Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation, Division of Molecular Biosciences, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org