Microdroplet screening and selection for improved microbial production of extracellular compounds

Rinke J. van Tatenhove-Pel, Jhonatan A. Hernandez-Valdes, Bas Teusink, Oscar P. Kuipers, Martin Fischlechner, Herwig Bachmann

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Microorganisms produce extracellular compounds that affect the final product quality in fermentation processes. Selection of overproducing mutants requires coupling of the extracellular product to the producer genotype, which can be achieved by single-cell compartmentalization. Emulsions contain up to billions of microdroplets/mL which significantly increases the screening throughput compared to microtiter-plate-based selections. Factors affecting the success of screening in microdroplets include the nature of the producing organism (robust, no invasive growth), the product (not soluble in oil) and the product assay (preferably fluorescence based). Together these factors determine the required microdroplet production technique and sorting set-up. Because microdroplets allow relatively inexpensive ultrahigh-throughput screening, they are likely to become a standard tool in the strain selection toolbox of the fermentation industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-81
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
Early online date24 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


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