Summary and Info
The microbial world has given us many surprises including microbes that grow under extremely harsh conditions (122C at 40 MPa), novel metabolisms such as the uranium and perchlorate reduction, and novel chemicals that can be used to control diseases. We continually face new and difficult problems such as the need to transition to more carbon-neutral energy sources and to find eco-friendly chemicals and to find new drugs to treat disease. Will it be possible to tap into the seemingly limitless potential of microbial activity to solve our current and future problems?The answer to this question is probably yes. We are already looking to the microbial world to provide new energy sources, green chemicals to replace those made from petroleum, and new drugs to fight disease. To help us along these paths, we are deciphering how microorganisms interact with each other. We know that microbial populations interact and communicate with each other. The language that microbes use is chemical where small molecules are exchanged among different microbial cells. Sometimes, these chemicals suppress activities of competitors and could be used as antibiotics or may have other therapeutic uses. Other times, the chemicals stimulate complex responses in microbial populations such as fruiting body or biofilm formation. By understanding the conversation that microbes are having among themselves, e. g.