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Current Opinion in Biotechnology
Volume 81, 2023, 102916

Biomaterial approaches for engineering and analyzing structure and metabolic states of microbial consortia within biofilms

Matthias Portius1,2,*, Christian Danneberg1,*, Tilo Pompe1,2

Institute of Biochemistry, Leipzig University, Germany.


Microbial consortia within biofilms are frequently found in structured organization in nature and are thought to bear great potential for productive biotechnological applications, such as the degradation of complex substrates, biosensing, or the production of chemical compounds. However, in-depth understanding of their organizational principles, as well as comprehensive design criteria of structured microbial consortia for industrial applications are still limited. It is hypothesized that biomaterial engineering of such consortia within scaffolds can advance the field by providing defined in vitro mimics of naturally occurring and industrially applicable biofilms. Such systems will allow for adjustment of important microenvironmental parameters and in-depth analysis with high temporal and spatial resolution. In this review, we provide the background of biomaterial engineering of structured biofilm consortia, show approaches for their design, and demonstrate tools to analyze their metabolic state.

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