Why Soil Biodiversity May Save Your Life


The past couple days I’ve been a story-gathering, booth-mobbing Wisconsin Science Festival maniac. It’s time to retire #WiSciFest, though as promised, there will be a piece about the science behind Wisconsin foods (e.g. bratwursts, beer and ice cream) published in a few days, on madisoncommons.org.

This post is about the diverse medium under our feet, soil, and why it is of growing importance to cancer research. Earlier this month, both BBC and Daily Mail reported on the work led by a researcher at the University of Nottingham about a soil bacteria. It turns out Clostridium sporogenes thrives in the oxygen-free interior of a tumor, making it the perfect messenger for a cancer-fighting drug.

 C. sporogenes image from BBC

Researchers genetically modified C. sporogenes to carry a cancer drug as well as an enzyme. The enzyme is a crucial addition because Continue reading