Jie Lian, René H. Wijffels, Hauke Smidt & Detmer Sipkema,
Microbial Biotechnology, early view
Abstract: Microbes are ubiquitously distributed, and they are also present in algae production systems. The algal microbiome is a pivotal part of the alga holobiont and has a key role in modulating algal populations in nature. However, there is a lack of knowledge on the role of bacteria in artificial systems ranging from laboratory flasks to industrial ponds. Coexisting microorganisms, and predominantly bacteria, are often regarded as contaminants in algal research, but recent studies manifested that many algal symbionts not only promote algal growth but also offer advantages in downstream processing. Because of the high expectations for microalgae in a bio‐based economy, better understanding of benefits and risks of algal–microbial associations is important for the algae industry. Reducing production cost may be through applying specific bacteria to enhance algae growth at large scale as well as through preventing the growth of a broad spectrum of algal pathogens. In this review, we highlight the latest studies of algae–microbial interactions and their underlying mechanisms, discuss advantages of large‐scale algal–bacterial cocultivation and extend such knowledge to a broad range of biotechnological applications.