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Mind our microbes to protect global health

World Microbiome Day  will be celebrated for the first time globally on Wednesday June 27th 2018.

World Microbiome Day, which has been developed by APC Microbiome Ireland,  aims to showcase the vibrant and diverse worlds of microbiomes, and to encourage public dialogue on their critical importance to human, animal and environmental health.  We encourage microbiome researchers from around the world, working on different microbial worlds to join us and spread the message of the importance of microbiomes.

Microbes have existed for billions of years. They are everywhere, including within us. They influence our planet, safeguard our health, and shape our bodies. Microbes often have a bad reputation for causing disease. But, in actual fact, the vast majority of microbes do not cause any harm, and many are essential for plant, animal and human life. Taking care of “good” microbes may be more important than destroying “bad” microbes. A world without microbes is unimaginable.

The theme of the inaugural day is “Mind our Microbes”.  As scientists learn more about microbes, and microbiotas, it is becoming increasingly clear that one of the key aspects critical to health is microbial diversity. For example the more varied the community of microbes in a particular niche, the more healthy that environment is, e.g.  healthier humans tend to have a greater variety of microbes in their guts.  Humans also depend on the health of other microbiomes such as in soil, marine and plants,  e.g. for food sources, recycling of organic matter, nitrogen cycles and biosynthetic capabilities.

So it is imperative that we protect our microbes, particularly the microbes in us and those in the environment that contribute to the health of our planet. We have become obsessed with eliminating bacteria, attacking them with antibacterial gels and wipes. Antibiotics are used widely in agricultural practices, to prevent crop and animal infections. But many microbes are helpful – some may hold the key to fighting global warming, cleaning up pollution, breaking down plastic and even developing a cure for cancer.

Check out the World Microbiome Day website, register your event and enter our competitions.