Using Prokaryotes for Carbon Capture Storage

Trends Biotechnol. 2017 Jan;35(1):22-32. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2016.06.011. Epub 2016 Oct 3.


Geological storage of CO2 is a fast-developing technology that can mitigate rising carbon emissions. However, there are environmental concerns with the long-term storage and implications of a leak from a carbon capture storage (CCS) site. Traditional monitoring lacks clear protocols and relies heavily on physical methods. Here, we discuss the potential of biotechnology, focusing on microbes with a natural ability to utilize and assimilate CO2 through different metabolic pathways. We propose the use of natural microbial communities for CCS monitoring and CO2 utilization, and, with examples, demonstrate how synthetic biology may maximize CO2 uptake within and above storage sites. An integrated physical and biological approach, combined with metagenomics data and biotechnological advances, will enhance CO2 sequestration and prevent large-scale leakages.

Keywords: CO(2) fixation; carbon capture and storage; metabolic pathways; metagenomics; microbial communities; synthetic biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / isolation & purification
  • Air Pollutants / metabolism*
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Biological Assay / methods*
  • Carbon Dioxide / isolation & purification*
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism*
  • Carbon Sequestration / physiology*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Greenhouse Effect
  • Microbiota / physiology*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Carbon Dioxide