The microbiome: Our planet’s tiny engine

Wir tragen rund zwei Kilogramm Mikroorganismen auf und in uns mit durchs Leben. Warum das weniger erschreckend und viel mehr lebensnotwendig ist, erklärt TU Graz-Forscherin Gabriele Berg.

Gabriele Berg. Sie wears brown hair and glasses. Her shirt is yellow.

Gabriele Berg has been researching the microbiome of plants and humans for about 25 years. © Lunghammer – TU Graz

"In the beginning we were surprised about the sheer diversity of all the things we found!" Gabriele Berg is still delighted today when she talks about the year 2000. The new millenium saw the start of what over the next 20 years would prove to be a true treasure trove for countless scientific disciplines: research on everything related to microbiomes.

The microbiome is a community of microorganisms that exist in a certain habitat or in and on living organisms. Among other things also in and on us humans. They include bacteria, archeas, fungi, algae and other microscopically small organisms. "We used to know that microorganisms can cause sickness," explains Gabriele Berg. "Today we know that the majority of our smallest fellow occupants are responsible for our health."

Switch to the Planet research article about the human microbiome in the TU Graz News+Stories to get to knowhow these tiny creatures influence our lives and how we can make sure that they (and thus ourselves) remain healthy and efficient.