Applied + Environmental
The Canadian Society of Microbiologists is divided
3 Sections, one of sections being Applied &
Environmental Microbiology. The scope of
interests in the Applied & Environmental
Microbiology section includes two large fields in
microbiology. The Environmental Microbiology
field includes the study of microorganisms found in
soils, sediments, water and air, and their relation
to each other and to humans, animals and plants. The
Applied Microbiology field includes microorganisms
involved in all kinds of biotechnology such as found
in food science, agriculture, value-added products
from biomass, waste treatment and bioremediation,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
There is a natural connection between applied and environment microbiology. Studies on fundamental questions of how microbes interact in the environment can readily be transferred into applied applications, such as: improving bioremediation, and discovery of useful microbial metabolites. Applied microbiology can help provide solutions to some of the current world's most pressing issues, including: alternative energy sources (biofuels), remediation of industrial pollution, identification of novel medical treatments (new antibiotics), creation of new bioproducts (bioplastics), addressing climate change where microorganisms play a crucial role in biogeochemical cycling including the carbon cycle.
Applied Microbiology is also intimately connected with food production, where microbes can have both positive and negative impacts. Food fermentations can add flavour and nutrition value and play an important role in the production of foods in Canada (for example, cheese production). Conversely, microbes can negatively impact foods resulting in food spoilage and more severely cause food-borne illness, such as the recent Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that occurred in Canada.
Canadian researchers who are members in the AEM section of CSM are far ranging and engaged in many areas of research of relevance to Canadians. For example:
- Food microbiology, including optimization of food fermentations, reducing contamination of foods by pathogenic microbes and improving food preservation from microbial spoilage
- Biodegradation and bioremediation of contaminated environments in Canada
- Characterizing microbial diversity and ecology in the Canadian arctic and its relevance to astrobiology.
- Characterizing the importance of microbial diversity for ecosystem function
- Controlling the impacts of agricultural waste on the environment
- Developing new microbial platforms for producing pharmaceuticals
- Developing rhizobial inoculants to improve plant yields for legume crop growers
- Developing new microbial based biofuels