Search Box

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Millions Of Microbes Are Unknown

The Unseen

Millions of microbes are yet to be discovered. Will one hold the ultimate cure?

Raffi Khatchadourian | June 20, 2016 issue

[...] Studying microbes inevitably causes a reordering of one’s perceptions: for more than two billion years, they were the only life on this planet, and they remain in many ways its dominant life form. Estimates of the number of bacteria—5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000—are higher than for all the stars, and Epstein noticed that when he stained his microbes with fluorescent dyes and placed them under a microscope they looked just like constellations in deep space. To a remarkable extent, the microbial cosmos was less explored than the actual cosmos: precisely how the organisms evolve, replicate, fight, and communicate remains unclear. Nearly all of microbiology, Epstein eventually learned, was built on the study of a tiny fraction of microbial life, perhaps less than one per cent, because most bacteria could not be grown in a laboratory culture, the primary means of analyzing them. By the time he matured as a scientist, many researchers had given up trying to cultivate new species, writing off the majority as “dark matter”—a term used in astronomy for an inscrutable substance that may make up most of the universe but cannot be seen.

"Microbes: Small, small world." Here: Intestinal bacteria. "help us digest food and absorb nutrients, and they play a part in protecting our intestinal walls. Gut bacteria may also help regulate weight and ward off autoimmune diseases." Source:

<more at; related articles and links: (The White House Just Pledged Millions of Dollars to Study Bacteria. May 13, 2016) and (There's 10 trillion microbes on you; the White House wants to figure them out. May 13, 2016)>

No comments:

Post a Comment