What is World Microbiome Day?
Today we are celebrating all the weird and wonderful microorganisms around the world! This years theme is DIVERISTY, so let’s include them all whether they are living deep under the sea or just hanging around on our skin.
Microbiome vs Microbiota
Microorganisms can be found everywhere in and on plants, animals, water, soil, food and humans. Within each of those habitats, microorganisms live together in communities called a microbiota and the genetic component of the microbiota is called the microbiome.
The Good The Bad & The Ugly
Microorganisms are so small they can only be seen with a microscope. They group as bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Many are helpful and don’t cause disease called ‘commensals’ such as some yeast strains which makes bread rise. But some microorganisms are pathogens that cause disease. This year we are all aware of the pathogen that is severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the strain of coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The others are downright ugly, but let’s not talk about those! See below…
Microbial life was suspected from ancient times, such as in Jain scriptures from 6th century BC India and the 1st century BC book On Agriculture by Marcus Terentius Varro. The scientific study of microorganisms began with their observation under the microscope in the 1670s by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. In the 1850s, Louis Pasteur found that microorganisms caused food spoilage, debunking the theory of spontaneous generation. In the 1880s, Robert Koch discovered that microorganisms caused the diseases tuberculosis, cholera and anthrax.
Why are microorganisms so important?
Microorganisms are important because they play a key role in many processes that involve human life and health. Microorganisms are present in nature as well as in synthetically produced products designed to improve life. Microorganisms have several applications in the food industry.
Microbiomes have an effect on (amongst others) human health; therefore, scientists are exploring how these communities of organisms co-exist with each other, with us and our environment. We are doing this by using a variety of techniques such as CRISPR technology and DNA sequencing.
Microorganisms support the existence of all higher trophic life forms. To understand how humans and other life forms on Earth can withstand anthropogenic climate change, it is vital to understand the microbial ‘unseen majority’.
World Microbiome Day 2020 is all about raising awareness of the importance of microbial diversity and through our actions to sustain and increase the diversity of microbes in humans, animals, soils and water throughout our world for the future of our planet.
This weekend we are discounting our gut microbiome tests by a whopping 20%. Simply use this coupon code at the checkout = microbiomeday!
This coupon code will be valid from Saturday 27 June, Sunday 28 June and Monday 29 June 2020.
Our favourite classic read is Microbes and Man by John Postgate