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Solutions in microbiome engineering: Prioritizing barriers to organism establishment

August 21, 2021

Microbiome engineering is increasingly being employed as a solution to challenges in health, agriculture, and climate. Often manipulation involves inoculation of new microbes designed to improve function into a preexisting microbial community. Despite, increased efforts in microbiome engineering inoculants frequently fail to establish and/or confer long-lasting modifications on ecosystem function. We posit that one underlying cause of these shortfalls is the failure to consider barriers to organism establishment. This is a key challenge and focus of macroecology research, specifically invasion biology and restoration ecology. We adopt a framework from invasion biology that summarizes establishment barriers in three categories: (1) propagule pressure, (2) environmental filtering, and (3) biotic interactions factors. We suggest that biotic interactions is the most neglected factor in microbiome engineering research, and we recommend a number of actions to accelerate engineering solutions.

Publication Year 2022
Title Solutions in microbiome engineering: Prioritizing barriers to organism establishment
DOI 10.1038/s41396-021-01088-5
Authors Michaeline B.N. Albright, Stilianos Louca, Daniel E. Winkler, Kelli L. Feeser, Sarah-Jane Haig, Katrine L. Whiteson, Joanne B. Emerson, John M. Dunbar
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology
Index ID 70224338
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center