Solutions in microbiome engineering: prioritizing barriers to organism establishment

The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology
By: , and 

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Abstract

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 type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Solutions in microbiome engineering: prioritizing barriers to organism establishment
Series title The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology
DOI 10.1038/s41396-021-01088-5
Edition Online First
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Nature
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
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