Microorganisms are the earliest form of life on earth, first evolving more than three billion years ago. They remain extremely abundant today, and three forms of microorganisms in particular are used in food production: bacteria, yeasts, moulds.
Microorganisms are living organisms invisible to the naked eye. Our ancestors first discovered how to harness the power of microorganisms to make new foods, even if they did not know the science behind what they were doing.
Over the years, many new products have been created using microorganisms, and without the ability to use and control microorganisms, supermarket shelves would look very different. We’d have no bread, no cheese or yoghurt, no alcoholic drinks and the cured meat chiller would be bare. There would be no products where microorganisms are used for preservation, and many of the medicines we rely on such as penicillin would not exist.
Overall, they are indispensible to the balance of the biosphere by participating in the elementary cycles of nature.