Engineering Beneficial Microbes

Demands for food, animal feed, and feedstocks for bioenergy and biorefining applications, are increasing with population growth, urbanization and affluence. Low-input, sustainable, alternatives to petrochemical-derived fertilizers and pesticides are required to reduce input costs and maintain or increase yields, with potential biological solutions having an important role to play. Plant–microbe interactions span a wide range of relationships in which one or both of the organisms may have a beneficial, neutral or negative effect on the other partner. A relatively small number of beneficial plant–microbe interactions are well understood and already exploited; however, others remain understudied and represent an untapped reservoir for optimizing plant production. There may be near-term applications for bacterial strains as microbial biopesticides and biofertilizers to increase biomass yield from energy crops grown on land unsuitable for food production. Longer term aims involve the design of synthetic genetic circuits within and between the host and microbes to optimize plant production. A highly exciting prospect is that endosymbionts comprise a unique resource of reduced complexity microbial genomes with adaptive traits of great interest for a wide variety of applications.

  • Energy and microbes
  • Bacterial endophyte
  • Food and microbial engineering
  • Genetic engineering of microbes
  • Metabolic engineering and synthetic biology
  • Biomedical engineering and microbiological researches

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