Next-generation -omics approaches to drive carboxylate production by acidogenic fermentation of food waste: a review

Reema Kumar, Rajat Kumar, Satinder K. Brar, Guneet Kaur*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Acidogenic fermentation of food waste using mixed microbial cultures can produce carboxylates [or volatile fatty acids (VFA)] as high-valued bioproducts via a complex interplay of microorganisms during different stages of this process. However, the present fermentation systems are incapable of reaching the industrially relevant VFA production yields of ≥50 g/L primarly due to the complex process operation, competitive metabolic pathways, and limited understanding of microbial interplays. Recent reports have demonstrated the significant roles played by microbial communities from different phyla, which work together to control the process kinetics of various stages underlying acidogenic fermentation. In order to fully delineate the abundance, structure, and functionality of these microbial communities, next-generation high-throughput meta-omics technologies are required. In this article, we review the potential of metagenomics and metatranscriptomics approaches to enable microbial community engineering. Specifically, a deeper analysis of taxonomic relationships, shifts in microbial communities, and differences in the genetic expression of key pathway enzymes under varying operational and environmental parameters of acidogenic fermentation could lead to the identification of species-level functionalities for both cultivable and non-cultivable microbial fractions. Furthermore, it could also be used for successful gene sequence-guided microbial isolation and consortium development for bioaugmentation to allow VFA production with high concentrations and purity. Such highly controlled and engineered microbial systems could pave the way for tailored and high-yielding VFA synthesis, thereby creating a petrochemically competitive waste-to-value chain and promoting the circular bioeconomy.Research HighlightsMixed microbial mediated acidogenic fermentation of food waste.Metagenomics and metatranscriptomics based microbial community analysis.Omics derived function-associated microbial isolation and consortium engineering.High-valued sustainable carboxylate bio-products, i.e. volatile fatty acids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14987-15002
Number of pages16
Issue number7-12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Waste biorefinery
  • carboxylate platform
  • high-throughput omics
  • microbiomes
  • food waste


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