A droplet-based microfluidic platform enables high-throughput combinatorial optimization of cyanobacterial cultivation

Sci Rep. 2022 Sep 15;12(1):15536. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-19773-6.

ABSTRACT

Cyanobacteria are fast-growing, genetically accessible, photoautotrophs. Therefore, they have attracted interest as sustainable production platforms. However, the lack of techniques to systematically optimize cultivation parameters in a high-throughput manner is holding back progress towards industrialization. To overcome this bottleneck, here we introduce a droplet-based microfluidic platform capable of one- (1D) and two-dimension (2D) screening of key parameters in cyanobacterial cultivation. We successfully grew three different unicellular, biotechnologically relevant, cyanobacteria: Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803, Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973 and Synechococcus sp. UTEX 3154. This was followed by a highly-resolved 1D screening of nitrate, phosphate, carbonate, and salt concentrations. The 1D screening results suggested that nitrate and/or phosphate may be limiting nutrients in standard cultivation media. Finally, we use 2D screening to determine the optimal N:P ratio of BG-11. Application of the improved medium composition in a high-density cultivation setup led to an increase in biomass yield of up to 15.7%. This study demonstrates that droplet-based microfluidics can decrease the volume required for cyanobacterial cultivation and screening up to a thousand times while significantly increasing the multiplexing capacity. Going forward, microfluidics have the potential to play a significant role in the industrial exploitation of cyanobacteria.

PMID:36109626 | PMC:PMC9477827 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-022-19773-6

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