Artificial microbial consortium for food waste utilization

Around 88 million tonnes of food waste are generated annually in the European Union. Based on the knowledge of anaerobic microbial physiology we aim to construct a streamlined artificial microbial consortium for degradation of synthetic food waste. The synthetic microbial consortium will be composed of two efficient hydrolytic hydrogenogen(s) and an acetoclasticmethanogen as well as of a hydrogenotrophic methanogen. This microbial consortium should be used for targeted degradation of biodegradable kitchen waste with the high lipid content. Towards the end of the project the artificial microbial consortium will be applied for degradation of real food waste. The microbial ecology of artificial microbial ecosystems will be investigated by means of serial assembly of individual microorganisms into modular artificial microbial consortium architecture. The results of the study will help to understand syntrophic effects of the consortium on growth, substrate uptake, and gas production kinetics compared to the characteristics of individual microorganisms of the consortium with respect to the degradation synthetic and real food waste.


Duration: 01.01.2020-31.12.2022

Funding agency: Österreichischer Austauschdienst (OeAD)

Project leader: Dr. Simon K.-M. R. Rittmann

International collaborator: Dr. Monika VitezovaMasaryk University Brno

Participants: Dr. Simon K.-M. R. Rittmann, Ipek Ergal



Ergal, İ., Gräf, O., Hasibar, B., Steiner, M., Vukotić, S., Bochmann, G., Fuchs, W., Rittmann, S.K.- M.R., 2020. Biohydrogen production beyond the Thauer limit by precision design of artificial microbial consortia. Communications Biology 3, 1–12. 01159-x

Zipperle, A., Reischl, B., Schmider, T., Stadlbauer, M., Kushkevych, I., Pruckner, C., Vítězová, M., Rittmann, S.K.-M.R., 2021. Biomethanation of Carbon Monoxide by Hyperthermophilic Artificial Archaeal Co-Cultures. Fermentation 7, 276.

Ergal, İ., Bochmann, G., Fuchs, W., Rittmann, S.K.-M.R., 2022. Design and engineering of artificial microbial consortia for biohydrogen production. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 73, 74–80.

Ergal, İ., Zech, E., Hanišáková, N., Kushkevych, I., Fuchs, W., Vítěz, T., Vítězová, M., Bochmann, G., Rittmann, S.K.-M.R., 2022. Scale-Up of Dark Fermentative Biohydrogen Production by Artificial Microbial Co-Cultures. Applied Microbiology 2, 215–226.