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HARNESSING THE POWER OF NATURE THROUGH PRODUCTIVE MICROBIAL CONSORTIA IN BIOTECHNOLOGY – MEASURE, MODEL, MASTER

Project description

Creating complex microbiomes by learning from nature

The EU-funded PROMICON project uses experimental applications of quantitative physiology, imaging and cell sorting in combination with machine learning and systems biology approaches to study the functioning of complex microbiomes. This knowledge will be applied to existing microbiomes to adjust them for production and will also be used in the creation of new synthetic microbiomes taking cues from nature. The consortium will develop strains for creating a successful microbiome and will use them to reduce the complexity of natural microbiomes, improving the production of phycobilin-based pigments, exopolysaccharides and polyhydroxyalkanoates. Simultaneously, synthetic microbiomes will be developed for the production of butanol, dihydrogen and PHACOS, a functionalised antimicrobial polyester. The final objective is to introduce new reactor concepts for microbiomes and conduct production assessments for future exploitation.

Objective

The deliberate control of complex microbiomes is notoriously difficult and current approaches are often guided by simple trial-and-error. Advances in quantitative analysis modelling and design of these systems are urgently needed to improve the predictability and enable exploitation of the amazing synthesis capacities of microbiomes. The PROMICON project will learn from nature how microbiomes function through development and application of quantitative physiology, imaging, cell sorting machine learning and systems biology. This will be used to steer existing microbiomes towards production and to generate new synthetic microbiomes inspired by nature through an iterative design-build-test-learn cycle. The new consortia will also contain strains developed through systems metabolic engineering and will be used for the production of energy carriers, drop-in chemical feedstocks and advanced biomaterials.
PROMICON will advance characterization tools to understand which strains (modules) are needed for a successful microbiome. It will identify the primary producers (farmers), secondary converters (labourers) and essential strains for microbiome stability (balancers). This knowledge will be used to reduce complexity of natural microbiomes for optimized production of phycobilli protein based pigments, exo-polysaccharides (EPS) and poly-hydroxyalkanoates (PHA) in a top-down approach. Secondly, synthetic microbiomes with increasing complexity (bottom-up) will be assembled for the production of butanol, H2 and PHACOS, a functionalized antimicrobial polyester. PROMICON will develop new reactor concepts and downstream processing for microbiomes and conduct early-stage life cycle assessment (LCA) to prepare exploitation.
This ground-breaking project will not only inspire completely new production pathways and a paradigm shift from monocultures to mixed cultures in biotechnology, but also has the potential beyond biotechnology to inspire novel treatment options in biomedicine.

Call for proposal

H2020-FNR-2020

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Sub call

H2020-FNR-2020-2

Coordinator

HELMHOLTZ-ZENTRUM FUR UMWELTFORSCHUNG GMBH - UFZ
Net EU contribution
€ 1 274 525,00
Address
PERMOSERSTRASSE 15
04318 Leipzig
Germany

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Region
Sachsen Leipzig Leipzig
Activity type
Research Organisations
Links
Total cost
€ 1 274 525,00

Participants (10)