At the FEMS meeting 2019

The last few days I was at Europe’s biggest conference for microbiology, the FEMS 2019. The meeting took place in Glasgow in a huge conference hall.

This meeting brought together microbiologists from all over the world. All of them wanted to share their newest insights into the microbial world and to learn about what others managed to find out recently.

I learned so much throughout this meeting and got some cool new ideas both for my own research but also for future blog posts.

Some really interesting and a bit random concepts I want to share here.

Researchers around Detmer Sipkema from Wageningen University look at what kind of bacteria grow in sponges in deep waters. They found some unique bacteria dependent on the water depth. Some of these strains might produce specific bioactive compounds that we have no idea yet what they are doing.

Sociomicrobiology is a new term that tries to understand how the different microbial players interact with each other. These players can be bacteria but also fungi and researchers are trying to track trade between them.

Researchers around Tim Urich from the University in Greifswald are trying to understand the microbiome of permafrost soils. They found that dependent on the depth layers of the permafrost, different bacterial and fungal species could be identified. They also found that carbon storage levels are disrupted which might be the reason for microbial variations.

The first toxin of the human pathogenic fungus Candida albicans was identified by the group of Bernhard Hube from Jena. This toxin was shown to be virulent but also to damage the cell. This is rather surprising, as virulence triggers an immune response while cell damage leads to disease. Why? They are trying to understand this.

Lindsay Hall from Norwich and her group look at how the microbiota develops in early stages of life. They found that breast milk contains highly complex oligosaccharides that are digested by Bifidobacterium and triggers its growth.

A big focus was on the microbiota and how we need to understand it better and hopefully learn soon how to influence it.

I personally also learned a lot to appreciate fungi and their capabilities. Maybe more on this in future posts.If anyone wants to read more about what happened at this huge meeting I can only recommend to follow on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #FEMS2019. Lots of people were live tweeting throughout the meeting and sharing interesting stories they have learned.

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