Digitalization in microbiology – Paving the path to sustainable circular bioeconomy
The transition to a sustainable bio-based circular economy requires cutting edge technologies that ensure economic growth with environmentally responsible action. This transition will only be feasible when the opportunities of digitalization are also exploited. Digital methods and big data handling have already found their way into life sciences and generally offer huge potential in various research areas. While computational analyses of microbial metagenome data have become state of the art, the true potential of bioinformatics remains mostly untapped so far. In this article we present challenges and opportunities of digitalization including multi-omics approaches in discovering and exploiting the microbial diversity of the planet with the aim to identify robust biocatalysts for application in sustainable bioprocesses as part of the transition from a fossil-based to a bio-based circular economy. This will contribute to solving global challenges, including utilization of natural resources, food supply, health, energy and the environment.