Whydoes a veterinarian, who should be paying attention to the so-called “higher lifeforms”, occupy himself with microorganisms?
More than 30 years ago, by referral of a friend, I was advising a company involved in the removal and use of pig manure.
In huge pools and via several stages, feces were microbially converted into water and organic substances. The latter would be processed into pellets and fed back to pigs, at a rate of 30 percent to their regular food. These pelletshad a high content of nutrients which were important for the pig’s growth. This is a good example of a meaningful and responsible way of dealing with the accumulation ofagricultural waste.
Similar waste-recycling and therefore ecologically sensible methods, in which microorganisms can be used, are also available for the industrial and urban waste created by humanity. This waste is accumulating in increasing quantities and is highly damaging to our environment.
Unfortunately, theaforementioned example of liquid manure utilization has not become an example to the greater agricultural industry. Large quantities of pig manure still end up on the fields and meadows, damaging the soil and polluting the groundwater.
We are in a situation where financial interests matter when it comes tofood production and waste disposal, there is little regard for our environment. Europe and even China, for example, procuresoy for pig feed from South American Countries. There, huge areas of the rainforest are cut down and turned into agricultural land for the cultivation of soybean monocultures. It is only a matter of time before these areas turn into useless, desert-like wastelands. Examples of how monocultures have quickly turned into dry, barren lands can be found worldwide.
My enthusiasm and excitement for microbial processes, e.g. in the transformation of pig manure, emerged when I first studied microorganisms and has stayed with me ever since. I had been unaware that microorganisms affectevery area of human society and every part of the living world, positively as well as negatively. It took me years to acquire that knowledge.
- Micro-organisms feed us humans and animals in various ways, some particular strains are responsible for the production of gastronomic pleasures, such as Wine, beer or cheese and other dairy products.
- Microorganisms are the source of our vast deposits of crude oil on Earth, which needed many million years to develop and are now ruthlessly consumed within a few decades while destroying the environment.
- Microorganisms are actively involved in the treatment of wastewater, transforming it into clean drinking water by removing toxic and dirty constituents.
- Microorganisms play a decisive role in the decomposition of the constituents of dead animals and plants, returning them to new cycles of matter.
- Microorganisms bear the brunt of processing the immense flood of toxic production residue of modern industrial society.
- Microorganisms are capable of removing thousands of tons of oil from damaged tankers from the sea.
- Microorganisms are used by the pharmaceutical industry to produce life-saving antibiotics and other products that, when used responsibly, can be of great benefit to human and animal health.
- In recent decades, Microorganisms have provided tools and ideas that have enabled nearly unlimited growth in bioscience.
- Microorganisms in the soil are the prerequisite for our lives. Their influence on our history and the history of our planet, as well as their contribution to the preservation of our environment and to the improvement of our standard of living is irreplaceable.
However, microorganisms also cause dangerous diseases and epidemics among humans and animals.
In the past, they destroyed entire armies and thwarted large-scale military campaigns more effectively than the tactics of generals or the intrigues of politicians ever could.
They still wait for opportunities to take advantage of changes in human behavior and in our environment.
However,with responsible use, microorganisms could play an even more significant role for our human lives in the future. It is important that they are usedto benefit the broader population and are not misused by economic interests.
It is my wish to make as many readers as possible aware of how great the influence of these tiny lifeforms, which are invisible to the naked eye, is on our lives.
Maybe one or the other decision-makers, be it from politics, industry or agriculture will read my articles andgain new ideas that can be used for the good of society.
I will regularly add new articles on microorganisms on my homepage.