Where the Wild Ones Are
Post by Zoe Freeman, University of Bath
Across the globe, teams of intrepid microbiologists are tirelessly sampling and characterising microbes from strange and exotic lands. Just imagine isolating a new yeast species from Hibiscus flowers in Borneo, or a new bacterium from the sediment of an Arctic lake… Okay, it’s not always that glamorous – another novel bacterium was found on a mouldy indoor wall and a considerable number are from hazardous waste sites. Don’t underestimate these microbes based on their humble origins though! Sometimes organisms flourish in challenging environments for a simple reason – they can utilise unusual substrates as an energy source. That means they might be useful for bioremediation – the use of microbes to safely degrade harmful chemicals into water and harmless gases.
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