International leading scientists issue critical guide for using microbiomes to combat the global issue of biodiversity loss

GlobeNewswire August 3, 2022

THUWAL, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 03, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A group of leading experts have issued a critical framework for using microbiomes to protect wildlife in an ethical and efficient way.

Beneficial Microbes for Marine Organisms (BMMO), an international network of collaborators with expertise in crosscutting areas of probiotic research, have published a paper in Nature Microbiology, Harnessing the microbiome to prevent global biodiversity loss, that provides a science-based framework to accelerate the responsible research and development of microbiome solutions.

Dr. Raquel Peixoto, founder and co-chair of BMMO, and associate professor of marine science at KAUST, said, ÔÇ£Key ecosystems, which host many forms of life, are at the brink of ecological collapse, driving enormous biodiversity losses and mass extinctions, and disrupting ecosystems central to supporting livelihoods.ÔÇØ

Contributing authors include professors Gabriele Berg of The Graz University of Technology; Christian Voolstra of the University of Konstanz; Ute Hentschel of GEOMAR; Rodrigo Costa of the University of Lisbon; Carlos Duarte of KAUST; and ethicist Jeantine Lunsh of Harvard, among other distinguished academics.

A guide to accelerate the use of macrobiotics to restore coral

The scientists examine the use of probiotics to ÔÇ£rebootÔÇØ healthy microbiomes and protect key, and sensitive, symbiotic relationships between hosts and their associated microbes. Probiotics are now conventionally applied in agroecosystems, showing that successful applications in open environments are possible with controlled risks.

The team propose a science-based framework, outlining a path from laboratory bench to pilot and large-scale applications of microbiomes, to save threatened ecosystems.

ÔÇ£We as a network of leading scientists are concerned that the technological development of an urgently-needed tool may be delayed by unclear and undefined risk assessment steps,ÔÇØ said KAUST Distinguished Professor of Marine Science Carlos Duarte, who serves as executive director of the Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform (CORDAP).

ÔÇ£In addition, no ethical discussions are available to provide guidelines and rules to accelerate the transition from devising to applying environmental probiotics in a practical and safe way. Therefore, we are highlighting the path from concept to real-world solutions, addressing ethical considerations, as well as risks against benefits.ÔÇØ

The paper serves to address this gap. The framework also considers the risk of inaction, and can be adapted to other urgent scientific developments.

ÔÇ£Our framework provides a pragmatic regulatory wildlife-adapted tool to guide scientists and stakeholders through the fight against biodiversity loss,ÔÇØ Peixoto said.┬á┬á ÔÇ£It takes into consideration potential side effects of its application, while also considering the high toll of inaction.ÔÇØ

Additional context:

  • Harnessing the microbiome to prevent global biodiversity loss, Nature Microbiology
  • For interviews, contact:
    Dr. Raquel Peixoto, KAUST Associate Professor of Marine Science:
    Dr. Carlos Duarte, KAUST Distinguished Professor of Marine Science:
    Alison Carmody, Corporate Communications Specialist, KAUST Global Branding and Communications:

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at:

AAPR aggregates press releases and media statements from around the world to assist our news partners with identifying and creating timely and relevant news.

All of the press releases published on this website are third-party content and AAP was not involved in the creation of it. Read the full terms.