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dc.contributor.advisorChairperson, Graduate Committee: Ross Carlsonen
dc.contributor.authorBeck, Ashley Estheren
dc.contributor.otherKristopher A. Hunt, Hans C. Bernstein and Ross P. Carlson were co-authors of the chapter, 'Interpreting and designing microbial communities for bioprocess applications, from components to interactions to emergent poperties' in the book 'Biotechnology for biofuel production and optimization' which is contained within this thesis.en
dc.contributor.otherKristopher A. Hunt and Ross P. Carlson were co-authors of the article, 'Measuring cellular biomass composition for computational biology applications' submitted to the journal 'Processes, methods in computational biology special issue' which is contained within this thesis.en
dc.contributor.otherHans C. Bernstein, and Ross P. Carlson were co-authors of the article, 'Stoichiometric network analysis of cyanobacterial acclimation to photosynthesis-associated stresses identifies heterotrophic niches' in the journal 'Processes, microbial community modeling: prediction of microbial interactions and community dynamics special issue' which is contained within this thesis.en
dc.contributor.otherKathryn Pintar, Diana Schepens, Ashley Schrammeck, Tim Johnson, Alissa Bleem, Hans C. Bernstein, Tomas Gedeon, Jeffrey J. Heys and Ross P. Carlson were co-authors of the article, 'Escherichia coli co-metabolizes glucose and lactate for enhanced growth' submitted to the journal 'Applied and Environmental Microbiology' which is contained within this thesis.en
dc.contributor.otherRoss P. Carlson was a co-author of the article, 'Synthetic consortia engineered for push and pull dynamics show conditional optimality over metabolic generalist' which is contained within this thesis.en
dc.description.abstractMicrobial communities are critical underpinnings of most natural processes, e.g. biogeochemical cycling, and can also be harnessed and engineered for a variety of industrial applications. Despite the abundance of detailed physiological characterization of many individual microorganisms, as well as large data sets describing microbial community composition, the area of interspecies interactions requires further research to truly appreciate and harness the potential of microbial capabilities. Using a combination of in silico metabolic modeling and in vitro laboratory approaches linked to guiding ecological theories, this dissertation investigates metabolite exchange as a mechanism of interspecies interactions and focuses on the role of environmental stress in mediating interactions. A stoichiometric metabolic network model was constructed for the thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus elongatus BP-1 and was analyzed with elementary flux mode analysis to predict metabolic acclimations to light and oxygen, two common environmental stressors in photoautotrophic habitats. High stress levels were predicted to activate organic byproduct secretion pathways, which opens a niche to support growth of heterotrophic partners. To further investigate metabolite exchange in the laboratory, synthetic consortia were designed through genetic engineering and pairing of Escherichia coli strains to form metabolically partitioned organic acid cross-feeding systems. These controlled systems were used to investigate the impact of division of labor as well as the effect of byproduct detoxification. Kinetic data from these systems were also applied to interpret ecological theories regarding microbial community structure. Altogether, these studies demonstrate an integrated approach to studying microbial community interactions by combining in silico metabolic modeling and in vitro laboratory experiments with ecological theory as a basis for interpretation. This dissertation provides insight into rationale for microbial community structure and highlights the role of environmental stress, particularly byproduct inhibition, in driving microbial consortia interactions.en
dc.publisherMontana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Scienceen
dc.subjectMicrobial consortiaen
dc.subject.lcshStress (Physiology)en
dc.titleMicrobial interactions and the role of environmental stress in natural and synthetic consortiaen
dc.rights.holderCopyright 2018 by Ashley Esther Becken, Graduate Committee: Matthew Fields; Robin Gerlach; Jeffrey Heys; Seth Walk.en & Immunology.en

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