News and Views

'Mind our Microbes' on the first ever World Microbiome Day

26 Jun
Students from St. Patrick’s Girls National School, Gardiners Hill, Cork. Image: Cian Ferguson

The first ever World Microbiome Day  (Wednesday June 27th, 2018) has gripped the imaginations of scientists and the public right across the globe.

World Microbiome Day has been developed by the SFI Research Centre at UCC  APC Microbiome Ireland to encourage public dialogue on the critical importance of microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi) to human, animal and environmental health.   The theme of the inaugural World Microbiome Day is “Mind our Microbes”.  

Microbes have existed on planet earth for billions of years. They are everywhere, including in and on humans where they provide us with nutrients and safeguard our health. In fact, a world without microbes is unimaginable. Often the public perception of microbes is negative as some microbes cause infections, but the vast majority of microbes do not cause any harm and many are essential for plant, animal and human life.  We have become obsessed with eliminating bacteria, attacking with antibacterial gels and wipes, but taking care of “good” microbes may be more important than destroying “bad” microbes. And as in many other aspects of life, diversity is key. 

A formal announcement for World Microbiome Day will take place at a major international conference “Translating the Microbiome” at the INEC in Killarney on Wednesday morning.  The International Human Microbiome Consortium meeting will see more than 700 scientists from across the globe gather to discuss the latest scientific developments, as well as a strong industry-led session on bringing microbiome technology to the marketplace.  The conference is being hosted by APC Microbiome Ireland scientists at University College Cork and Teagasc.

Events to celebrate microbes are being planned right around the world, including in Ireland, Poland, Spain, UK, USA, Dubai, Indonesia and Paraguay.

At Killarney Outlet Centre, an event for the general public will take place from 11am-4pm, where people will be able to explore APC’s new Alimentary Adventures inflatable walkthrough tunnel of the digestive system along as well as engage with educational exhibits on all different microbiomes, producers of fermented foods and relevant patient support organisations.  Admission is free and all are welcome.

In Cambridge, UK, at the Wellcome Genome Campus, there will be a talk on beneficial microbes followed by an “ask the expert” Q&A session and visitors can engage with microbiome researchers making balloon microbes or playing the board game Gut Check.

In Germany, DSM Nutritional Products at Kaiseraugst are offering free probiotic yoghurt to all their staff.

A number of online events have been scheduled including a social media campaign from the American College of Gastroenterology, a Teagasc Twitter event from the soil microbiologists based in Johnstown, and from London, there will be an online Live Micro Class “5 things you need to know about your microbiome”. The public is also invited participate in an online  Reddit “Ask Me Anything” about microbiomes from 6.30-7.30pm (GMT) on the day where a panel of expert will be available to answer questions on all microbiomes.

APC Microbiome Ireland scientists will be visiting primary schools in Cork to engage with children on the topic of “Mind our Microbes”.  These presentations developed for younger and older primary school children can be downloaded from the World Microbiome Day website.

The public has been invited to nominate their “Microbiome Hero” - people/groups who have carried out microbiome friendly activities eg a school planting a garden, a farmer who has introduced microbiome friendly agricultural practices, a community group organising a clean-up of their local park or beach, someone who makes fermented foods, or cooks healthy meals - in advance of the day.  All nominations received will be highlighted on the day on the World Microbiome Day website and on social media where winners of art, photography and limerick competitions will also be announced.

World Microbiome Day flags will be flown from APC Microbiome Ireland’s host institutions - University College Cork and Teagasc Food Research Centre in Moorepark - and from Cork City Hall.

So please join us in celebrating microbes and 'minding our microbes'!

For a full list of events and further information on microbiomes please see www.worldmicrobiomeday.com

Follow World Microbiome Day on social media - #worldmicrobiomeday;  Twitter @WMicrobiomeDay; Instagram: worldmicrobiomeday; Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WorldMicrobiomeDay

 

For more information about the APC Microbiome Ireland at UCC visit here

For more on this story contact:

Dr Catherine Buckley, Communications & Outreach Manager, APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork; Mob: 086- 8554744; email: c.buckley@ucc.ie

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF

Top