Development of microbial consortia as bioprotective cultures using a minibioreactor system

Microbe-microbe interactions impact metabolic capacity of a microbial community. These interactions include nutrient cross-feeding. Collaborative activity enlarges the functional potential of a microbial community, which can increase its capability to degrade and ferment complex carbohydrates leading to the formation of  a variety of metabolites that contribute to shelf-life extension. One example is the is the collaborative degradation of fucosylated mucin and human milk oligosaccharides to the short chain fatty acids propionate, butyrate, acetate and formate by bifidobacteria and the gut microbe Anaerobutyricum hallii (Front Microbiol, 2017, 8:95; Microbial Ecol, 2018, 75;228). Despite their potential, such microbe-microbe interactions have been sparsely utilized for development of food preservation strategies.

We aim to adapt this concept to develop bioprotective cultures and fermentates using a minibioreactor system. Bacterial consortia will need be designed consisting of food microbes, and the application of the minibioreactor system will need to be established. This project combining microbial ecology and biotechnology will introduce the student to the cultivation of single strains and consortia, bioreactor fermentation, chromatographical analysis, and molecular methods such as DNA isolation and quantitative PCR, and can be preferably conducted as Master thesis.

Contact: Clarissa Schwab

Internal supervisor at Biology: Andreas Schramm 

The project proposal has been submitted 05.01.2021.