Microbes make the world go round. There are more microbial cells on you and in you, than your own cells – in fact 99% of them are not human! Some members of our microbiome enable us to digest the food we eat while others play an essential role in maintaining our immune system that fights off other pathogenic microbes. They are central to biogeochemical cycles of elements such as carbon and nitrogen and they have been doing so for billions of years. Anyway, to cut a long story short, you and I wouldn’t be alive without them!
Checkout the video Seven Wonders of the Microbial World if you want to find out more about the tiny critters that we depend on. Today, we pay homage to our most valued cousins – by talking to them!
Much of recent progress in science, especially in biology and medicine related fields, has been courtesy of bugs like E. coli and T. aquifex. Escherichia coli is found in our guts but is also grown in labs around the world as a means to replicate, isolate and study genes from a variety of organisms. Thermus aquaticus was discovered in a 70°C hot spring at Yellowstone National Park in 1969. It was the source of the heat-resistant enzyme Taq polymerase, one of the most important enzymes in molecular biology because of its use in the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) which revolutionized genetic studies. Indeed, astrobiologists and researchers studying the origin and evolution of life have also reaped the benefits of Taq and the humble E. coli.
Wouldn’t it be cool to hear what the microbes have to say about their life since joining hands with Homo sapiens in search of life, universe and everything. Well, the team at ChemistryViews Magazine has just interviewed them!
It is a hilarious attempt at first contact with the microbial kind – yet a very worthwhile read!
Want more? See Biotoon.com for your microbial edutainment