Microbe-powered jobs how microbiologists can help build the bioeconomy
The final report that follows captures the discussions and conclusions reached during the colloquium
American Academy of Microbiology
|National Center for Biotechnology Information - Collection details see MPG.ReNa
|The final report that follows captures the discussions and conclusions reached during the colloquium
yeast fermentation. Many of them experimented with home brewing beer for personal consumption before expanding commercially. But beer is not the only thing that microbes can make and yeast is not the only kind of microbe capable of producing useful products at an industrial scale. At present, microbes are used commercially to make products as diverse as vitamins, food components, and plastics. The potential scope for industries based on the kinds of biotransformations at which microbes excel is enormous, but two obstacles stand in the way of an explosion of this sector. First, relatively few scientifically inclined students are aware that microbe-powered industry is a potential career choice. Second, even if this awareness were greater, there are currently few academic programs aimed at educating the workforce that will be needed for this sector to thrive. How can these gaps be closed? In February 2013, the American Academy of Microbiology convened.
To launch these companies, craft brewers had to become experts in one particular kind of microbiology --
Microbe-powered jobs. What in the world does that mean? It means jobs in industries that use microbes to make their products. Microbes can be highly efficient, versatile, and sophisticated manufacturing tools, and have the potential to serve as the backbone for a vibrant economic sector, especially in rural areas. Don't believe it? Let's start with just one example. In 1980, there were only a few craft breweries in the United States. Today there are over 2,400 of these small companies. While each produces no more than 6 million barrels per year, collectively they employed over 100,000 people and generated sales of over $10 billion in 2012. This quintessentially local industry creates jobs all over the United States. There are breweries in every state and the District of Columbia; indeed there is at least one craft brewery in almost every Congressional district. The craft brewing revolution is just one example of a microbe-powered industry.
|"Report on an American Academy of Microbiology Colloquium, Dallas, TX, February 2013."
|1 PDF file (20 pages) illustrations