For the past month, I have been going through old R&D, training documents and marketing materials as we redesign the Aster Bio website. While the new site is not yet up, the diversity in application of microbial based solutions has once again impressed me. You may wonder how can a core technology work in applications as diverse as animal health (probiotic), aquaculture waste digestion, petroleum spill cleanup, high strength industrial wastewater, and sewer odor control.
Well the one unifying factor is the natural ability of microbes to convert complex compounds into harmless, building blocks used by higher life forms. Everywhere you look there is a diverse group of microbial forms including bacteria, fungi and protozoa that exist in a constantly changing micro-environment.
While microbiology and biotechnology usually are concerned with the individual organism or internal biochemical pathways, outside the lab it is the microbial ecologist that looks at the interaction and changes among environmental microbes. While it is obviously important for waste treatment, microbial ecosystems exist in animal guts, feed lot manure pits, plant roots & surrounding soils, aquaculture ponds, and even on human skin. While Aster Bio will leave the human skin microbial application to others, I enjoy seeing how a microbe that transforms manure also has application in sewage treatment and soil health. So as you look around, realize that billions and billions of microbes are working the the environment that surrounds you and research into their makeup, population changes, and managing their diversity is a key part of keeping your environment suitable for you!
Erik Rumbaugh has been involved in biological waste treatment for over 20 years. He has worked with industrial and municipal wastewater facilities to ensure optimal performance of their treatment systems. He is a founder of Aster Bio (www.asterbio.com) specializing in biological waste treatment.
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