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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2003 Jun;14(3):270-6.

Diversity and dynamics of microbial communities in engineered environments and their implications for process stability.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 205 North Mathews Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


The availability of molecular biological tools for studying microbial communities in bioreactors and other engineered systems has resulted in remarkable insights linking diversity and dynamics to process stability. As engineered systems are often more manageable than large-scale ecosystems, and because parallels between engineered environments and other ecosystems exist, the former can be used to elucidate some unresolved ecological issues. For example, the process stability of methanogenic bioreactors containing well-defined trophic groups appears to depend on the diversity of the functional groups within each trophic level as well as on how these functional groups complement each other. In addition to using engineered systems to study general ecological questions, microbial ecologists and environmental engineers need to investigate conditions, processes, and interactions in engineered environments in order to make the ecological engineering of bioreactor design and operation more practicable.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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