Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rethink education to fuel bioeconomy, says report

Date:
April 15, 2014
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
Microbes can be highly efficient, versatile and sophisticated manufacturing tools, and have the potential to form the basis of a vibrant economic sector. In order to take full advantage of the opportunity microbial-based industry can offer, though, educators need to rethink how future microbiologists are trained, according to a report.

Microbes can be highly efficient, versatile and sophisticated manufacturing tools, and have the potential to form the basis of a vibrant economic sector. In order to take full advantage of the opportunity microbial-based industry can offer, though, educators need to rethink how future microbiologists are trained, according to a report by the American Academy of Microbiology.

Related Articles


"Industrial microbiology is experiencing a Renaissance; microorganisms make products ranging from the tightly regulated pharmaceuticals industry to large-scale production of commodity chemicals and biofuels. Educating and training the next generation of employees for these rapidly expanding industries is critically important to their survival," says Joy Doran-Peterson of the University of Georgia who chaired the steering committee that produced the report.

For thousands of years humans have harnessed the power of microbes to make products such as bread, cheese, beer and wine. In the early 20th century scientists discovered how to use mold to produce antibiotics. It has only been in the past few decades, with the advent of DNA-based technologies, that our understanding of the vast diversity of microbial capabilities has exploded.

"If there is a chemical you want to break down, there is probably a microbe that can do it. If there is a compound you wish to synthesize, a microbe can probably help," says the report, entitled Microbe-Powered Jobs: How Microbiologists Can Help Build the Bioeconomy. The report provides a litany of examples of potential biological products including bioenergy, biofuels, environmentally friendly industrial chemicals, and bioenzymes (the production of which already fuels a nearly $4 billion market).

To take full advantage of the potential the bioeconomy offers, academia needs to re-think and take a broader approach to teaching microbiology at the undergraduate level. According to the report, the future growth of a microbial-based industry sector depends on two crucial elements: expansion of the fundamental understanding of microbiology and translation of that understanding into viable products.

Current microbiology education primarily trains scientists with an eye toward academic research, which is what is needed to continue the expansion of knowledge. Most undergraduates that take microbiology, though, have an eye on a medical career, so many undergraduate microbiology curricula focus on the biomedical aspects of microbiology, according to the report.

"One can imagine that instead of the current situation where pre-medicine is virtually the only undergraduate program with a microbiology component, there could be a series of majors with microbiology at their cores," says the report.

One specific major, which the report outlines, could be an industrial microbiology track, with a focus towards translation. Not only would it emphasize microbiology, but it would also include quantitative skills important for success in industry. This type of curriculum could also be made available to engineering students in the form of a bioengineering track.

In addition to the traditional degree programs, the report also recommends other formats be used to teach specialized skills or offer intensive introductions to new fields of study.

The report is based on the deliberations of experts who were gathered by the Academy to discuss the potential contributions of a microbe-powered industry and the human elements needed for this emerging sector to thrive. The contents reflect the discussions of the colloquium and are not intended to reflect official positions of the American Academy of Microbiology or the American Society for Microbiology. It can be found online at: http://academy.asm.org/images/stories/documents/MicrobePoweredJobs.pdf


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society for Microbiology. "Rethink education to fuel bioeconomy, says report." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415125538.htm>.
American Society for Microbiology. (2014, April 15). Rethink education to fuel bioeconomy, says report. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415125538.htm
American Society for Microbiology. "Rethink education to fuel bioeconomy, says report." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140415125538.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) It has been a long, busy year for Net Neutrality. The stage is set for an expected landmark FCC decision sometime in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
White House: Sony Hack a 'serious National Security Matter'

White House: Sony Hack a 'serious National Security Matter'

AFP (Dec. 18, 2014) White House spokesperson Josh Earnest says cyber attacks that ultimately prompted Sony Pictures to scrap the release of a madcap comedy about North Korea are a "serious national security matter." Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins