by Irina IVSHINA, laboratory head, Laboratory of Alkanotrophic Microorganisms, Institute of Ecology and Genetics of Microorganisms (IEGM), Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor of the Microbiology and Immunology Department, State National Research Institute, Perm, Microbes, these infinitesimal living beings, are of infinitely great role in nature. Louis Pasteur
Documentary descriptions alone will never do in studying bacteria, the oldest forms of biological life, and their involvement in human activities. In the absence of investigated bacterial strains a taxonomy of these microorganisms would be like trying to map the starry sky proceeding from random observations of distant luminaries and their scintillations. If we compare a collection of living cultures with a map of an unexplored continent holding many surprises in store-say, sand dunes instead of the expected rocky mountains--such a collection will be like an explored coast, the start-out point of voyages into a terra incognita. One such collection is the subject of the present article.
There is a major turnabout taking place in social mentality: man is coming to realize his critical dependence on the microbial world at large. Ignoring the diversity of this world is fraught with undesirable consequences in medicine, environment and biotechnology. Conversely, a better knowledge in this field stimulates a search for optimal ways of conserving the gene pool of the globe's microbial genetic resources, and opens up prognostication and control prospects with respect to the ecological situation. Such information is also of great help in developing up-to-date technologies with the use of live biological systems. Small wonder that research of microorganisms, above all those implicated in human activities, sparks a wide range of international initiatives.
One effective way is to cultivate tiny microorganisms in laboratory reservations. ... Read more