Microbial communities drive diverse processes that impact nearly everything on this planet, from global biogeochemical cycles to human health. Harnessing the power of these microorganisms could provide solutions to many of the challenges that face society. However, naturally occurring microbial communities are not optimized for anthropogenic use. An emerging area of research is focusing on engineering synthetic microbial communities to carry out predefined functions. Microbial community engineers are applying design principles like top-down and bottom-up approaches to create synthetic microbial communities having a myriad of real-life applications in health care, disease prevention, and environmental remediation. Multiple genetic engineering tools and delivery approaches can be used to ‘knock-in' new gene functions into microbial communities. A systematic study of the microbial interactions, community assembling principles, and engineering tools are necessary for us to understand the microbial community and to better utilize them. Continued analysis and effort are required to further the current and potential applications of synthetic microbial communities.

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