Science

White House Initiates Major Microbiome Project To Benefit Mankind

By Chandan Das , May 16, 2016 06:40 AM EDT
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Bacteria are omnipresent. Some are harmful, while others are beneficial for our health. Bacteria present in our gut helps to digest foods and even regulate our moods. There are others that help to guzzle oil spills and even turn weeds into fuel.

While the supposed probiotic products are already available on the market, researchers are yet to ascertain the precise digestive bacteria are vital for our health, and whether it will make any difference manipulating them. "We don't really have a definition of what is healthy and that's what we need," Jo Handelsman of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy said.

On the other hand, though farmers already utilizing microscopic helpers, for example, planting legumes to "fix" nitrogen in the soil, major gaps still exist in understanding how the crops can be made more productive by using nature's living fertilizers.

Now the Obama administration is commencing an important project with a view to comprehend these invisible microbes present in our ecosystem and even control them. On Friday, the National Microbiome Initiative announced at the White House that it wants to assemble scientists who are studying microbes living in the human gut as well as in the oceans, in soil and inside buildings, with a view to speed findings that may perhaps offer huge benefits, Philly Voice reported.

Several companies, foundations as well as universities have pledged to the National Microbiome Initiative, to donate millions of dollars with a view to prepare new scientists, fund new researches and even offer prizes for the best new ideas to understand the functioning of the microbes and utilize them for the benefit of humanity, NBC News reported.

In fact, the White House has assured to propose over $121 million in federal spending over the next 2 years at various institutions including the National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy, NASA, National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Agriculture. However, a decision on the plan would be left for the next President and Congress to make.

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