This perspective systematically summarizes the use of solid substrate co‐cultures in agriculture, food, plant, and industrial biotechnology applications. The summarization is organized by organism, i.e. fungus, bacteria, yeast and then co‐cultivation of either two or three organisms. Generally, in solid substrate co‐culture, the organisms synergistically penetrate and degrade the solid substrate, thereby increasing product yield and productivity over a monoculture. Efforts to increase co‐culture performance include optimizing process parameters (pH, temperature, moisture, and oxygen demand) and defining the acceptable types of substrate. Scientific challenges exist in understanding the interactions between microbial stains, such as viability, suite of products, and bio‐transformations. The perspective details possible solutions to these challenges and highlights future research directions for co‐cultures using either solid or liquid fermentation.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, v. 7, issue 4, p. 361-372.

Copyright © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Yao, W., & Nokes, S. E. (2013). The use of co-culturing in solid substrate cultivation and possible solutions to scientific challenges. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, 7(4), 361-372. doi: 10.1002/bbb.1389, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/bbb.1389. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture Biomass Research and Development Initiative Grant # 2011-10006-30363.

Related Content

The investigation reported in this paper (No. 13-05-042) is a part of a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the director.