Construction of Simplified Microbial Consortia to Degrade Recalcitrant Materials Based on Enrichment and Dilution-to-Extinction Cultures

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The capacity of microbes to degrade recalcitrant materials has been extensively explored for environmental remediation and industrial production. Significant achievements have been made with single strains, but focus is now going toward the use of microbial consortia owning to their functional stability and efficiency. However, assembly of simplified microbial consortia (SMC) from complex environmental communities is still far from trivial due to large diversity and the effect of biotic interactions. Here we propose a strategy, based on enrichment and dilution-to-extinction cultures, to construct SMC with reduced diversity for degradation of keratinous materials. Serial dilutions were performed on a keratinolytic microbial consortium pre-enriched from a soil sample, monitoring the dilution effect on community growth and enzymatic activities. An appropriate dilution regime (10–9) was selected to construct a SMC library from the enriched microbial consortium. Further sequencing analysis and keratinolytic activity assays demonstrated that obtained SMC displayed actual reduced microbial diversity, together with various taxonomic composition, and biodegradation capabilities. More importantly, several SMC possessed equivalent levels of keratinolytic efficiency compared to the initial consortium, showing that simplification can be achieved without loss of function and efficiency. This methodology is also applicable to other types of recalcitrant material degradation involving microbial consortia, thus considerably broadening its application scope.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3010
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • biodegradation, dilution-to-extinction, enrichment cultivation, recalcitrant materials, simplified microbial consortia

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