Synthetic Biology of Probiotics (2016)
From a distance this image is reminiscent of a pseudo-coloured scanning electron micrograph of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus (rod shaped) and Streptococcus thermophilus (bead-like) in yoghurt. But, on closer inspection, the image is revealed to be constructed of geometric shapes suggestive of artificial molecular engineering of the biological structures.
Bacteria from yoghurt and other foods are formulated in capsules as probiotics. Recent research confirms that there is a microbiota-gut-brain axis whereby our gut microbiome controls immune responses and brain function. Synthetic biology is an emerging field enabling redesign of natural biological systems for new functions or the design and construction of novel artificial biological pathways, organisms or devices. In the future, we will likely have probiotic bacteria engineered to help fight specific diseases or even to increase intelligence.