Microbiome Water Summit Sneak Preview

John Tillotson, CEO of Microbe Detectives, recently got together with key experts to get their perspectives on the water microbiome industry and the Summit.

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What is a microbiome?

“The microbiome is an ecosystem inside your body. It’s the bacteria, the fungi, viruses – they live in your gut, on your skin, in your mouth. We also find them in our homes. Your home environment, the walls and the floors, also have a microbiome, and so do all the animals and plants, and the oceans, and soils all over the world; they all have a microbiome, a microbial ecosystem full of all of these tiny unimaginably small organisms that are changing the world around us. We use something called metagenomics which is sequencing all of those genomes together to reconstruct our understanding of what those organisms do. We sequence the DNA of your microbiome.”
–Professor Jack Gilbert

Tools for analyzing microbiology

“Operators of drinking water and wastewater systems are kind of flying blind, regarding microbiology. The tools they’re using are petri dish culturing and microscopes that show them less than 1% of what’s going on in their systems. We’re able to use DNA sequencing to help identify almost 100% of what’s in those samples. Anaerobic digester operators can benefit from DNA data by finally being able to see what’s going on in their digester, so they can see problems before they happen.” –Dr. Trevor Ghylin, Microbe Detectives

Using Metagenomics for BNR

“Biological Nutrient Removal. What we’re looking at is finding ways to remove phosphorus and nitrogen from the wastewater biologically instead of chemically. That results in a lower net resource consumption. A really great success story of using metagenomics in wastewater treatment and resource recovery involves a facility outside of Dallas, Texas. They’ve been doing metagenomic sequencing for about three years now and over that period of time they’ve used that to understand their ecology and give them confidence in operating their facility in a different way. With that they’ve been able to change operational strategies that reduced annual costs by three-hundred and sixty-thousand dollars a year.” –Leon Downing, CH2M

Revealing Aquatic Microbial Communities

“The Shedd Microbiome Project is, we believe, the first really comprehensive look at the microbial communities that are associated with aquatic systems that are designed to house animals. The technology, currently available, allows us to recognize all sorts of unseen living organisms that are sharing the space with the animals, that are responsive to environmental parameters that are under our control in ways that we never knew before. We’re really interested in understanding that better with the ultimate aim of improving the health and welfare of the animals. We’re on a mission to get people to think differently about the way they treat water and that’s largely the motivation for the project.” –Dr. Bill Van Bonn, Shedd Aquarium

“DNA sequencing currently is limited only by science, at this point, and scientists are discovering new microbes that we didn’t even know existed almost daily.” –Dr. Trevor Ghylin, Microbe Detectives

The Future of the Water Industry

“I think if it kind of like looking out up in the sky in the days before the Hubble telescope there were a lot less stars than you could really see today. We now can see all these stars, and it opens up possibilities beyond your imagination. I think this microbiome area is going to be similar, we’re going to see information, and we’re going to be aware of information that will teach us about cause and effects, that we could never imagine before.” –Mike Readon

Microbiome Water Summit Opportunites

“What I think is really interesting about the Microbiome Water Summit is that it’s bringing together a lot of people from different parts of the water sector. It’s not just wastewater. It’s not just purely microbiology. It’s not just animal health. It’s everyone.” –Leon Downing, CH2M

For anyone who might be thinking about whether they want to attend the Microbiome Water Summit, I bet that they didn’t expect to see an aquarium veterinarian talking about it. We all will be bringing really unique perspectives and information and so I think that’s where the discovery process will unfold and we’re excited to be a part of it.”
–Dr. Bill Van Bonn, Shedd

Microbiome Water Summit 2017

  • Learn from leaders in this ground-breaking field
  • Network with a new community of innovators
  • View live streaming on the Internet

Presentations and panel discussions

  • Invisible Influence: The Microbiome in Health
  • Metagenomic Applications in Wastewater
  • Key Findings & Insights:
    • Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) Study
    • Biogas Anaerobic Digester Study
  • Source Water Characterization
  • The Shedd Aquarium Microbiome Project
microbiome water summit shedd