University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Plant Sciences Research Seminars > Microbial consortia - a way forward for the commercialisation of microalgae for industrial biotechnology?

Microbial consortia - a way forward for the commercialisation of microalgae for industrial biotechnology?

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Contamination of algal cultures by adventitious bacteria is a major roadblock to the development of algal biotechnology for high volume-low value products such as biofuels. Microbial consortia present a novel solution to this problem. In my talk I will introduce the concepts of niche partitioning, probiosis and the portfolio effect as processes by which we may not only prevent the contamination of algal cultures by adventitious bacteria, but potentially also produce greater biomass via overyielding. To investigate this I am using novel algal-bacterial consortia, focusing initially on a defined interaction between the green alga Lobomonas rostrata and the alpha-proteobacterium Mesorhizobium loti, in which photosynthate is exchanged in return for vitamin B12 (cobalamin). Subsequently I am attempting to identify larger microbial consortia, by reconstituting bacterial isolates with algae, and investigating their stability and biomass productivity. Utilising a transcriptomics and metabolomics approach, I will begin to unravel the molecular mechanisms responsible for such interactions.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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