By Dan Shapley
Scientists have barely scratched the surface in their studies of a vital, if unappreciated, sphere of life: The microcosmos. It's no stretch to say that without microbes, there would be no humans. All life evolved from something microscopic, and these living things perform countless chemical tasks that fertilize soil, clean air and water - even help us digest food. The study of microbes and their processes has led to the creation of medicines, and many hope current research will unlock more energy from plant wastes like switchgrass, so the biofuel revolution can get underway, reducing the need for oil. This list could go on and on. That's why, when microbiologists meet to discuss their past research and plan a way forward -- as the American Society for Microbiology did in Toronto yesterday -- it really is news, according to a story in the May 22 USA Today.