Science for society - Molecular Microbiology
- What microbes can do for us
Microbial infections of different hosts occur worldwide and can have an enormous negative impact on crop yield and the health of animals and humans. For example plant pathogens can be responsible for a 30% decrease in crop yield. In addition, fungal infection poses an increasing public health concern. Many fungal pathogens no longer respond to medical treatments, because they developed resistance mechanisms against the currently used drugs. But not all microbes are bad…..
Protection of food crops in a more environmental friendly way involves beneficial bacteria (e.g. Pseudomonas spp.) excluding the phytopathogen from its hosts by production of antibiotics or competition for nutrients.
Aspergillus is used as a suitable host for production of proteins because of its high secretion capacity. For industrial applications, (heterologous) production of enzymes, antibodies, viral epitopes, chemicals and antibiotics is of great importance. Development of new therapeutics to fight off microbial infections is especially timely now due to the increased occurrence of resistant pathogens (http://hitexacoat.com/). The production of biofuels by cyanobacteria contributes to the development of alternative energy sources.