It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned the Kavli Foundation, which is dedicated to “advancing basic science for humanity.” On this occasion, there’s a Feb. 12, 2015 news item on Nanowerk featuring a Kavli Foundation discussion about nanoscience and microbiomes,
Microbiomes, communities of one-celled organisms, are everywhere in nature. They play important roles in health and agriculture, yet we know surprisingly little about them. Nanoscience might help.
In a far-ranging discussion, two top researchers spoke with the Kavli Foundation about how nanoscience can help us understand and manipulate natural microbiomes.
Microbiomes are communities of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, algae, other one-celled microbes, and viruses that interact with one another in complex ways. These ecosystems are enormously complex. A few grams of soil or marine sediment might contain as many as several hundred thousand different species of microbes.
“There are all these amazing chemistries that microbes perform that can do really wonderful things for humanity, like providing new antibiotics and nutrients for crops. It’s pretty much an unlimited resource of novelty and chemistry—if we can develop improved tools to tap into it,” said Eoin Brodie, a staff scientist in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Ecology Department.
In the past, researchers have sought to understand these communities by growing different microbes in cultures and observing their behaviors. Yet only a small fraction of these microorganisms grow in pure cultures.
Nanoscience could provide new ways to unravel these complex ecosystems, according to Jack Gilbert, a principle investigator at Argonne National Laboratory’s Biosciences Division.
You can continue reading either on Nanowerk or here on the Kavli website where you’ll find the Kavli Foundation is having a series of conversations about microbiomes, which you may want to check out. This conversation with Brodie and Gilbert seems to be in aid of an upcoming Google Hangout,
Spotlight Live: Thinking Smaller – How Nanoscience Can Help Us Understand Nature’s Many Microbiomes
Wednesday, March 4 – 11:00 am PST
Join us here on March 4 for a live Google Hangout with Eoin Brodie and Jack A. Gilbert. Questions can be submitted by email or via Twitter with the hashtag: #KavliLive. For updates, follow The Kavli Foundation on Twitter and Facebook.