Application of Quorum Sensing Systems in Production of Green Fuels

  • Jyotsana PrakashEmail author
  • Vipin Chandra Kalia


Microorganisms have been used in diverse areas of biotechnology. The focus in recent times has been on exploiting the microbial communication for biofuel production. This communication known as Quorum sensing (QS) helps bacteria to sense their environments and enable them to survive in diverse habitats. QS based communication works through signal molecules. Exploiting the communication signals for the production of energy can help overcome the increasing energy crisis. A number of areas in energy sector including bio-hydrogen, bio-diesel, bio-ethanol and bio-electricity production have started using QS for the improving the efficiency of theses bioprocesses. Here, we present recent advances in improving the efficiency of bioenergy production process by exploiting bacterial cell-cell communication.


Biodiesel Bioenergy Bioethanol Fuel cells Hydrogen Quorum sensing 



This work was supported by Brain Pool grant (NRF-2018H1D3A2001746) by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) to work at Konkuk University (VCK).


  1. Abe A, Furukawa S, Watanabe S, Morinaga Y (2013) Yeasts and lactic acid bacteria mixed-species biofilm formation is a promising cell immobilization technology for ethanol fermentation. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 171:72–79. Scholar
  2. Ahiwale SS, Bankar AV, Tagunde S, Kapadnis BP (2017) A bacteriophage mediated gold nanoparticle synthesis and their anti-biofilm activity. Indian J Microbiol 57:188–194. Scholar
  3. Albuquerque P, Casadevall A (2012) Quorum sensing in fungi-a review. Med Mycol 50:337–345. Scholar
  4. Allesen-Holm M, Barken KB, Yang L, Klausen M, Webb JS, Kjelleberg S, Molin S, Givskov M, Tolker-Nielsen T (2006) A characterization of DNA release in Pseudomonas aeruginosa cultures and biofilms. Mol Microbiol 59:1114–1128. Scholar
  5. Arasu MV, Al-Dhabi NA, Rejiniemon TS, Lee KD, Huxley VAJ, Kim DH, Duraipandiyan V, Karuppiah P, Choi KC (2015) Identification and characterization of Lactobacillus brevis P68 with antifungal, antioxidant and probiotic functional properties. Indian J Microbiol 55:19–28. Scholar
  6. Bandyopadhyay P, Mishra S, Sarkar B, Swain SK, Pal A, Tripathy PP, Ojha SK (2015) Dietary Saccharomyces cerevisiae boosts growth and immunity of IMC Labeo rohita (Ham.) juveniles. Indian J Microbiol 55:81–87. Scholar
  7. Begum IF, Mohan Kumar R, Jeevan M, Ramani K (2016) GC–MS analysis of bioactive molecules derived from Paracoccus pantotrophus FMR19 and the antimicrobial activity against bacterial pathogens and MDROs. Indian J Microbiol 56:426–432. Scholar
  8. Branco P, Francisco D, Chambon C, Hébraud M, Arneborg N, Almeida MG, Caldeira J, Albergaria H (2014) Identification of novel GAPDH-derived antimicrobial peptides secreted by Saccharomyces cerevisiae and involved in wine microbial interactions. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 98:843–853. Scholar
  9. Brexó RP, Sant’Ana AS (2017) Microbial interactions during sugar cane must fermentation for bioethanol production: does quorum sensing play a role? Crit Rev Biotechnol 38:1–14. Scholar
  10. Brune KD, Bayer TS (2012) Engineering microbial consortia to enhance biomining and bioremediation. Front Microbiol 3:203. Scholar
  11. Cai W, Zhang Z, Ren G, Shen Q, Hou Y, Ma A, Deng Y, Wang A, Liu W (2016) Quorum sensing alters the microbial community of electrode-respiring bacteria and hydrogen scavengers toward improving hydrogen yield in microbial electrolysis cells. Appl Energy 183:1133–1141. Scholar
  12. Cavinato C, Bolzonella D, Fatone F, Cecchi F, Pavan P (2011) Optimization of two-phase thermophilic anaerobic digestion of biowaste for hydrogen and methane production through reject water recirculation. Bioresour Technol 102:8605–8611. Scholar
  13. Chen H, Fink GR (2006) Feedback control of morphogenesis in fungi by aromatic alcohols. Genes Dev 20:1150–1161. Scholar
  14. Conrad M, Schothorst J, Kankipati HN, Van Zeebroeck G, Rubio-Texeira M, Thevelein JM (2014) Nutrient sensing and signaling in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. FEMS Microbiol Rev 38:254–299. Scholar
  15. Das K, Rajawat MVS, Saxena AK, Prasanna R (2017) Development of Mesorhizobium ciceri-based biofilms and analyses of their antifungal and plant growth promoting activity in chickpea challenged by fusarium wilt. Indian J Microbiol 57:48–59. Scholar
  16. Deshmukh R, Khardenavis AA, Purohit HJ (2016) Diverse metabolic capacities of fungi for bioremediation. Indian J Microbiol 56:247–264. Scholar
  17. Di Cagno R, De Angelis M, Calasso M, Gobbetti M (2011) Proteomics of the bacterial cross-talk by quorum sensing. J Proteome 74:19–34. Scholar
  18. Dickinson JR (2008) Filament formation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae-a review. Folia Microbiol (Praha) 53:3–14. Scholar
  19. Diggle SP, Winzer K, Chhabra SR, Worrall KE, Camara M, Williams P (2003) The Pseudomonas aeruginosa quinolone signal molecule overcomes the cell density-dependency of the quorum sensing hierarchy, regulates rhl-dependent genes at the onset of stationary phase and can be produced in the absence of LasR. Mol Microbiol 50:29–43. Scholar
  20. Ercan D, Demirci A (2015) Current and future trends for biofilm reactors for fermentation processes. Crit Rev Biotechnol 35:1–14. Scholar
  21. Gasch AP, Spellman PT, Kao CM, Carmel-Harel O, Eisen MB, Storz G, Botstein D, Brown PO (2000) Genomic expression programs in the response of yeast cells to environmental changes. Mol Biol Cell 11:4241–4257 doi: NACrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. Go T-H, Cho K-S, Lee S-M, Lee O-M, Son H-J (2015) Simultaneous production of antifungal and keratinolytic activities by feather-degrading Bacillus subtilis S8. Indian J Microbiol 55:66–73. Scholar
  23. Gomma AE, Lee SK, Sun SM, Yang SH, Chung G (2015) Improvement in oil production by increasing malonyl-CoA and glycerol-3-phosphate pools in Scenedesmus quadricauda. Indian J Microbiol 55:447–455. Scholar
  24. Hernández-Saldaña OF, Valencia-Posadas M, de la Fuente-Salcido NM, Bideshi DK, Barboza-Corona JE (2016) Bacteriocinogenic bacteria isolated from raw goat milk and goat cheese produced in the Center of México. Indian J Microbiol 56:301–308. Scholar
  25. Hlavácek O, Kucerová H, Harant K, Palková Z, Váchová L (2009) Putative role for ABC multidrug exporters in yeast quorum sensing. FEBS Lett 583:1107–1113. Scholar
  26. Hu Y, Yang Y, Katz E, Song H (2015) Programming the quorum sensing-based AND gate in Shewanella oneidensis for logic gated-microbial fuel cells. Chem Commun 51:4184–4187. Scholar
  27. Huo YX, Cho KM, Rivera JGL, Monte E, Shen CR, Yan Y, Liao JC (2011) Conversion of proteins into biofuels by engineering nitrogen flux. Nat Biotechnol 29:346–351. Scholar
  28. Jaramillo P, Muller NZ (2016) Air pollution emissions and damages from energy production in the US: 2002–2011. Energy Policy 90:202–211. Scholar
  29. Kalia VC (2013) Quorum sensing inhibitors: an overview. Biotechnol Adv 31:224–245. Scholar
  30. Kalia VC, Purohit HJ (2008) Microbial diversity and genomics in aid of bioenergy. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 35:403–419. Scholar
  31. Kalia VC, Purohit HJ (2011) Quenching the quorum sensing system: potential antibacterial drug targets. Crit Rev Microbiol 37:121–140. Scholar
  32. Kalia VC, Lal S, Ghai R, Mandal M, Chauhan A (2003) Mining genomic databases to identify novel hydrogen producers. Trends Biotechnol 21:152–156. Scholar
  33. Kalia VC, Wood TK, Kumar P (2014) Evolution of resistance to quorum-sensing inhibitors. Microb Ecol 68:13–23. Scholar
  34. Kalia VC, Prakash J, Koul S (2016) Biorefinery for glycerol rich biodiesel industry waste. Indian J Microbiol 56:113–125. Scholar
  35. Kalia VC, Prakash J, Koul S, Ray S (2017) Simple and rapid method for detecting biofilm forming bacteria. Indian J Microbiol 57:109–111. Scholar
  36. Kaur G, Rajesh S, Princy SA (2015) Plausible drug targets in the Streptococcus mutans quorum sensing pathways to combat dental biofilms and associated risks. Indian J Microbiol 55:349–356. Scholar
  37. Keskin T, Giusti L, Azbar N (2012) Continuous biohydrogen production in immobilized biofilm system versus suspended cell culture. Int J Hydrog Energy 37:1418–1424. Scholar
  38. Koul S, Prakash J, Mishra A, Kalia VC (2016) Potential emergence of multi-quorum sensing inhibitor resistant (MQSIR) bacteria. Indian J Microbiol 56:1–18. Scholar
  39. Kuipers OP, PGGA DR, Kleerebezem M, De Vos WM (1998) Quorum sensing-controlled gene expression in lactic acid bacteria. J Biotechnol 64:15–21. Scholar
  40. Kumar P, Patel SKS, Lee JK, Kalia VC (2013) Extending the limits of Bacillus for novel biotechnological applications. Biotechnol Adv 31:1543–1561. Scholar
  41. Kumar P, Mehariya S, Ray S, Mishra A, Kalia VC (2015a) Biodiesel industry waste: a potential source of bioenergy and biopolymers. Indian J Microbiol 55:1–7. Scholar
  42. Kumar R, Singh L, Wahid ZA, Din MF (2015b) Exoelectrogens in microbial fuel cells toward bioelectricity generation: a review. Int J Energ Res 39:1048–1067. Scholar
  43. Kurm V, Putten WH, Boer W, Naus-Wiezer S, Hol WH (2017) Low abundant soil bacteria can be metabolically versatile and fast growing. Ecology 98:555–564. Scholar
  44. Lida A, Yasuo O, Sueharu H (2008) Control of acetic acid fermentation by quorum sensing via N-acylhomoserine lactones in Gluconacetobacter intermedius. J Bacteriol 190:2546–2555. Scholar
  45. Lun L, Li D, Yin Y, Li D, Xu G, Zhao Z, Li S (2016) Characterization of chromium waste form based on biocementation by microbacterium. Indian J Microbiol 56:353–360. Scholar
  46. Manogari R, Daniel DK (2015) Isolation, characterization and assessment of Pseudomonas sp. VITDM1 for electricity generation in a microbial fuel cell. Indian J Microbiol 55:8–12. Scholar
  47. Mas A, Guillamon JM, Torija MJ, Beltran G, Cerezo AB, Troncoso AM, Garcia-Parrilla MC (2014) Bioactive compounds derived from the yeast metabolism of aromatic amino acids during alcoholic fermentation. Biomed Res Int 2014:1–7. Scholar
  48. McKinlay JB (2014) Systems biology of photobiological hydrogen production by purple non-sulfur bacteria. In: Zannoni D, De Philippis R (eds) Microbial bioenergy: hydrogen production, advances in photosynthesis and respiration. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 155–176. Scholar
  49. Montgomery K, Charlesworth JC, LeBard R, Visscher PT, Burns BP (2013) Quorum sensing in extreme environments. Life 3:131–148. Scholar
  50. Monzon O, Yang Y, Li Q, Alvarez PJ (2016) Quorum sensing autoinducers enhance biofilm formation and power production in a hypersaline microbial fuel cell. Biochem Eng J 109:222–227. Scholar
  51. Pastorella G, Gazzola G, Guadarrama S, Marsili E (2012) Biofilms: applications in bioremediation. In: Lear G, Lewis GD (eds) Microbial biofilms-current research and applications. Horizon Scientific Press, Norwich, pp 73–98Google Scholar
  52. Patel SKS, Kalia VC (2013) Integrative biological hydrogen production: an overview. Indian J Microbiol 53:3–10. Scholar
  53. Patel SKS, Purohit HJ, Kalia VC (2010) Dark fermentative hydrogen production by defined mixed microbial cultures immobilized on ligno-cellulosic waste materials. Int J Hydrog Energy 35:10674–10681. Scholar
  54. Patel SKS, Kumar P, Kalia VC (2012) Enhancing biological hydrogen production through complementary microbial metabolisms. Int J Hydrog Energy 37:10590–10603. Scholar
  55. Patel SKS, Kumar P, Singh M, Lee JK, Kalia VC (2015) Integrative approach to produce hydrogen and polyhydroxybutyrate from biowaste using defined bacterial cultures. Bioresour Technol 176:136–141. Scholar
  56. Pawar SS, Vongkumpeang T, Grey C, van Niel Ed WJ (2015) Biofilm formation by designed co-cultures of Caldicellulosiruptor species as a means to improve hydrogen productivity. Biotechnol Biofuels 8:19. Scholar
  57. Porwal S, Kumar T, Lal S, Rani A, Kumar S, Cheema S, Purohit HJ, Sharma R, Singh Patel SK, Kalia VC (2008) Hydrogen and polyhydroxybutyrate producing abilities of microbes from diverse habitats by dark fermentative process. Bioresour Technol 99:5444–5451. Scholar
  58. Prakash J, Gupta R, Priyanka XX, Kalia VC (2017) Bioprocessing of biodiesel industry effluent by immobilized bacteria to produce value added products. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 185(1):179–190CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Rabaey K, Boon N, Höfte M, Verstraete W (2005) Microbial phenazine production enhances electron transfer in biofuel cells. Environ Sci Technol 39:3401–3408. Scholar
  60. Saini RK, Keum Y-S (2017) Progress in microbial carotenoids production. Indian J Microbiol 57:129–130. Scholar
  61. Sanchart C, Rattanaporn O, Haltrich D, Phukpattaranont P, Maneerat S (2017) Lactobacillus futsaii CS3, a new GABA-producing strain isolated from Thai fermented shrimp (Kung–Som). Indian J Microbiol 57:211–217. Scholar
  62. Sharma A, Lal R (2017) Survey of (Meta)genomic approaches for understanding microbial community dynamics. Indian J Microbiol 57:23–38. Scholar
  63. Shiva Krishna P, Sudheer Kumar B, Raju P, Murty MSR, Prabhakar Rao T, Singara Charya MA, Prakasham RS (2015) Fermentative production of pyranone derivate from marine Vibrio sp. SKMARSP9: isolation, characterization and bioactivity evaluation. Indian J Microbiol 55:292–301. Scholar
  64. Spier F, Buffon JG, Burkert CA (2015) Bioconversion of raw glycerol generated from the synthesis of biodiesel by different oleaginous yeasts: lipid content and fatty acid profile of biomass. Indian J Microbiol 55:415–422. Scholar
  65. Thakur R, Sharma KC, Gulati A, Sud RK, Gulati A (2017) Stress-tolerant Viridibacillus arenosi strain IHB B 7171 from tea rhizosphere as a potential broad-spectrum microbial inoculant. Indian J Microbiol 57:195–200. Scholar
  66. Valim FP, Aguiar-Oliveira E, Kamimura ES, Alves VD, Maldonado RR (2016) Production of star fruit alcoholic fermented beverage. Indian J Microbiol 56:476–481. Scholar
  67. Van Houdt R, Aertsen A, Michiels CW (2007) Quorum-sensing-dependent switch to butanediol fermentation prevents lethal medium acidification in Aeromonas hydrophila AH-1N. Res Microbiol 158:379–385. Scholar
  68. Varsha KK, Nishant G, Sneha SM, Shilpa G, Devendra L, Priya S, Nampoothiri KM (2016) Antifungal, anticancer and aminopeptidase inhibitory potential of a phenazine compound produced by Lactococcus BSN307. Indian J Microbiol 56:411–416. Scholar
  69. Venkataraman A, Rosenbaum M, Arends JB, Halitschke R, Angenent LT (2010) Quorum sensing regulates electric current generation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 in bioelectrochemical systems. Electrochem Commun 12:459–462. Scholar
  70. Westman JO, Franzén CJ (2015) Current progress in high cell density yeast bioprocesses for bioethanol production. Biotechnol J 10:1185–1195. Scholar
  71. Wrighton KC, Thrash JC, Melnyk RA, Bigi JP, Byrne-Bailey KG, Remis JP, Schichnes D, Auer M, Chang CJ, Coates JD (2011) Evidence for direct electron transfer by a Gram-positive bacterium isolated from a microbial fuel cell. Appl Environ Microbiol 77:7633–7639. Scholar
  72. Wyss SC (2013) Design of a cross-domain quorum sensing pathway for algae biofuel applications. Doctoral dissertation, Ohio University.
  73. Yang JW (2011) Enhanced bioethanol production by Zymomonas mobilis in response to the quorum sensing molecules AI-2.
  74. Yasin NH, Mumtaz T, Hassan MA, Abd Rahman N (2013) Food waste and food processing waste for biohydrogen production: a review. J Environ Manag 130:375–385. Scholar
  75. Yong XY, Shi DY, Chen YL, Jiao F, Lin X, Zhou J, Wang SY, Yong YC, Sun YM, OuYang PK, Zheng T (2014) Enhancement of bioelectricity generation by manipulation of the electron shuttles synthesis pathway in microbial fuel cells. Bioresour Technol 152:220–224. Scholar
  76. Yong YC, Wu XY, Sun JZ, Cao YX, Song H (2015) Engineering quorum sensing signaling of Pseudomonas for enhanced wastewater treatment and electricity harvest: a review. Chemosphere 140:18–25. Scholar
  77. Zhou M, Wang H, Hassett DJ, Gu T (2013) Recent advances in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) for wastewater treatment, bioenergy and bioproducts. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 88:508–518. Scholar
  78. Zi L-H, Liu C-G, Xin C-B, Bai F-W (2013) Stillage backset and its impact on ethanol fermentation by the flocculating yeast. Process Biochem 48:753–758. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Microbial Biotechnology and GenomicsCSIR – Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi University CampusNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Academy of Scientific & Innovative Research (AcSIR)New DelhiIndia
  3. 3.Molecular Biotechnology Lab, Department of Chemical EngineeringKonkuk UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

Personalised recommendations