Microorganisms, the invisible component of the biosphere, are largely neglected in general education. Nevertheless, in recent times, astounding discoveries about microbiomes and their varied influences on human biology and behaviour have significantly raised awareness of microbes in the general population.
However, unlike other subjects having a pervasive impact upon humankind, such as financial affairs, health, and transportation, of which there is a widespread understanding, knowledge of relevant microbial activities, how they impact our lives, and how they may be harnessed for the benefit of humankind–microbiology literacy–is lacking in the general population, and in the subsets thereof that constitute the decision makers.
It is therefore essential that the microbial world, in all its amazing, inherent, but microscopic beauty, transits from abstraction to pictorial perception and substance and takes up its rightful position in the human psyche.
Ken Timmis et al have outlined the steps we need to take in The urgent need for microbiology literacy in society published in the journal Environmental Microbiology. The article is freely available below and pdf translations will be added as they are received.
Environmental Microbiology (2019)21(5), 1513–1528
available to read via this link
The microbiology literacy knowledge framework, discussed in the paper, will initially consist of a 100 or so experience-centric topics, grouped under the categories of Human Well-being, Planet Earth, Water, Plants, Animals, Nutrition-Food-Beverages, and Biotechnology, which will soon become available here, gratis, online. So watch this space!