Skip to main content

How cheese can help explain today's White House microbiome announcement

Without microbes, there'd be no Camembert...

A photograph of Swiss cheese
May 13, 2016

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy announced today a new National Microbiome Initiative to encourage scientists to work together to study microbes — and the collections of microbes called microbiomes — across disciplines. The goal is to get a better understanding of these little critters that live everywhere — from the soil we plant crops in, to the oceans we swim in, to our very own digestive systems.

And it's not just understanding them. Scientists want to know enough to be able to affect different outcomes by tinkering with microbiomes.

Need an example to make it more concrete? So did we. So ASU Now sat down with Ferran Garcia-Pichel, the founding director of ASU's Biodesign Center for Fundamental and Applied Microbiomics.

And we found understanding of the mysterious — and tiny, obviously — world of microbiomes in of all places, a block of cheese.

More Science and technology


A hand holding a pile of dirt next to an insect.

Advances in forensic science improve accuracy of ‘time of death’ estimates

Accurate “time of death” estimates are a mainstay of murder mysteries and forensic programs, but such calculations in the real world are often complex and imprecise. In a first-of-its-kind study,…

ASU assistant professor of chemical engineering Kailong Jin in a lab

Unpacking a plastic paradox

Demand for plastics exists in a constant paradox: thin yet strong, cheap yet sophisticated, durable yet degradable.  The various traits of plastics are determined by the polymer used to make the…

Two people wearing protective clothing work in a lab

New chief operations officer to help ramp up SWAP Hub advancements

Last September, the Southwest Advanced Prototyping Hub — a collaboration of more than 130 industry partners led by Arizona State University — received nearly $40 million as part of the CHIPS and…