Antimicrobial peptides to shape biobased chemical production


*Corresponding author
Syngulon, Seraing, Belgium


Microbes’ broad physiological activities are pillars of our planet’s ecological evolution. Balanced microbiomes are essential for all living organisms on the planet, including humans. The huge potential of microbe physiology has been used empirically by humankind for centuries for food and beverage processing and in many other industries. Due to environmental issues, energy and chemical production faces the challenge of shifting from an oil-based to a bio-based industry mobilizing microbial biotechnology. This requires the development of new technologies based on synthetic biology to control industrial microbiomes. Here we briefly describe natural microbiomes to draw parallels with industrial biobased production environments. We suggest that bacteriocins a.k.a. anti-microbial peptides can potentially become elements of an industrial genetic firewall to stabilise and protect these environments.


Ecological importance of microbes 

Microbes are natural biocatalysers, and their ability to carry out complex chemical reactions impacts all life on earth and its evolution (1). The collection of microbes (including bacteria, viruses, and yeasts) within a niche is referred to as a microbiome. Synergy between the microbes in microbiomes as well as the interplay of microbes with their hosts add a level of complexity to these interactions that is much greater than the sum of the individual parts. The great diversity of microbes has largely been inaccessible and greatly underestimated before the advent of molecular fingerprinting and high-throughput sequencing technologies, which now allow microbiologists to circumvent historical limitations of culture-based approaches and better assess the full diversity of the microbial world (2).

We strongly believe that for industrial microbiologists it is very important from the outset to think about life on our planet as the result of microbial-based activities. Bearing this in mind would allow process engineers to use this unique res ...