Divers explore bacteria and other microorganisms’
A team of scientific divers began its work on Braunschweiger Leibniz Institute DSMZ German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures. It is nationwide the only one dedicated exclusively to the study of bacteria and other microorganisms in their natural habitat.
With the newly formed group the DSMZ can their core tasks to identify new microbial species to cultivate, and to explore, expand on previously inaccessible underwater habitats. The Institute's researchers expect to be able to discover many new organisms with previously unknown properties in this way.
The idea to establish a team of scientific books had DSMZ junior research group leader Dr. Christian Jogler. "So far we have been able in seas and lakes the bacterial world is not small areas sampled and explore in complex habitats. That is now changing," he explains. To start, the team includes four people. All are experienced microbiologists and have additionally completed a professional training as a scientific diver.
This means on the one hand, that they have to meet strict safety requirements in their dives, but also that they are able to work flexibly and to the environment. "We are specially trained to keep as low as possible by immersing the interventions in the sensitive underwater habitats," says Jogler. "At the same time we get the concrete visual impression of the location of the sample."
Together with Dr. Anne-Kristin Kaster, also junior research group leader at the DSMZ, Jogler is now planning a diving expedition to the Californian kelp beds in the Monterey Bay, about 100 kilometres south of San Francisco. Because of their unique biodiversity kelp forests are regarded as the rainforests of the sea. But while the flora and fauna is very well researched, is known about the microorganisms still quite little.
"This is where we want to start," said Kaster. "The kelp forests are from microbiological point of view a huge, unexplored treasure chest. Here an enormous potential microbial function is hidden. "To find among other organisms that produce new medicinal agents The DSMZ Scientists hope. In a pilot study, they have shown already that in kelp beds Planctomycetes occur, establish a group of unusual marine bacteria, the metabolic products with antimicrobial activity. "This makes us optimistic. Our goal is to demonstrate basic materials for new antibiotics, "said Kaster.
Info / Source: www.dsmz.de/de/start