Novel products from microbes

Emily Addington
© Emily Addington

What are novel products?

Micro-organisms have fascinating lifestyles, and many of those that live in the natural environment carry out beneficial or detrimental functions depending on the situation in which they find themselves.

The natural world has provided us with a huge diversity of products, which have been utilised for everything from medicine to pesticides. The sources of the natural products can themselves be from a variety of places and include products produced by micro-organisms, plants and animals.

The development and application of novel methods can revolutionise the approaches taken by industry and academia, to study and address issues such as antimicrobial resistance and food safety and security. These new methods are very diverse, and include practical methods to rapidly detect, study and manipulate microbial genomes.

Why does developing novel products from microbes matter to microbiology?

The growing threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has brought into sharp focus the pressing need for the development of new antibiotics. Already, AMR is estimated to cause at least 700,000 deaths around the world each year, and scientists are combining the innovations of synthetic biology with robotic environmental sampling to attempt to unblock the antibiotic discovery pipeline.

Read more about how microbiologists are using microbes to create novel products and why this matters to our members and the wider microbiology community, access our additional resources, including nature's solution to antimicrobial resistance, and find out a bit more about the next field of microbiology that matters to our community: ‘Exploring microbiology and genetics.’

  • Microbiologists working in this area

    To celebrate our 75th anniversary in 2020, we invited microbiologists to nominate the discovery or event that best showcases why microbiology matters and helps us demonstrate the impact of microbiologists past, present and future. Learn more about the microbiologists who are working to produce novel products from microbes.

  • Resources and further reading

    Discover more about the microbes that are being used for precision insect pest control, the unseen micro-organisms that can have a substantial impact on our lives that for most will go unnoticed, and how Burkholderia bacteria could be used as a natural alternative to synthetic pesticides.

  • Understanding viruses and challenges in microbiology

    Viruses are the smallest of all the microbes, and they are unique because they are only alive and able to multiply inside the cells of other living things. We will explore three key areas: the life cycle of pathogens and how they spread, emerging viruses and how viruses are treated.

Image credits:
Marine isolated Actinobacteria under microscope_Emily Addington
Cameron Baines