How Bacteria Will Make Our World Cleaner and Healthier

Yours truly, writing at NOVA Next:

Like many ideas whose time is right, Jansson wasn’t alone in her foray into the human microbiome. “There were several soil microbiologists that started to do the same thing as me. Just independently, without knowing,” she recalls. “At that time, methods-wise, technique-wise, the environmental field was farther ahead than the clinical field, whereas in the past, it has been the reverse.”

That reversal would end up changing the way we understand the microbial world. Rather than assuming bacteria and other microorganisms lead lives that occasionally intersect with the macroscopic world, we would come to learn that microbes exert their influence in various and surprising ways. But as we discover more about the remarkable diversity in the microbial world, we’re learning that we may be able to use them as allies in everything from advanced medical treatments to farming and environmental remediation.

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