Self-sustained, safe, stable and scalable microbial consortia (S.sup.5MicroCon) are described. The microbial consortia are regulated by photoautotroph-heterotroph interactions and RNA aptamer-based gene circuits. A rapid, high-throughput method for engineering RNA aptamer-based gene circuits (e.g. riboswitches) is also described.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
 This invention was made with government support under contract number DE-AC05-76RL01830 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.