We neither see nor feel them, but bacteria influence all areas of life. 250 million years ago, a change in the metabolism of a group of microorganisms that exhaled methane caused the extinction of 90% of marine species, something that does not seem to be within the reach of any visible living being. It’s Said that New Modern World has Extent 18% of Species around the world.
Despite its importance, bacteria do not receive the attention they deserve, and that is what Maria Vila wants to help change (Barcelona, 1979).
Vila is a Cajal researcher at the Institute of Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (IDAEA), of the CSIC, in Barcelona, investigates how organic pollutants in the aquatic environment affect microorganisms, a relevant issue because these beings constitute one of the main engines of the carbon cycle on the planet.
“Many times we have taken the position that the solution for pollution is the dilution of that pollution in the sea,” says the researcher. “But we are already seeing that even in the poles, where there are no cities or industries, there is pollution, and that is a sign that the sea is already saturated,” he adds.
“The bacteria that are in the sea have access to all the pollutants present in the water, but not all react the same,” he explains. “We want to see how these contaminants affect each microbial community, see if the diversity of these communities makes them resist pollution better or worse or see what microorganisms can do to deal with pollution,” he continues.
Vila also wants to improve knowledge about the pollutants present in the ocean and that can affect microbial life. “Most pollutants are unknown,” he says. This happens, for example, because when an antibiotic consumed by a human reaches the sea through the drains and rivers it can be used as food by some bacteria that would not consume it at all.
It would only transform it leaving behind part of its polluting effect After being processed, despite maintaining its danger, the antibiotic would already be changed and would not be positive when passing through a contaminant detection system.