The role of microorganisms in achieving the sustainable development goals-Micro-Organisms And SDGs:
Microorganisms play a vital role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are essential for the production of food, energy, and materials, as well as for the maintenance of healthy ecosystems. Microbes can be used to create biofuels, break down pollutants, and even produce medicines. They can also facilitate nutrient recycling in agricultural systems, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Microorganisms are also capable of capturing and storing carbon, which helps to reduce the effects of global warming. With their versatility and potential for sustainable development, microorganisms are essential for creating a healthier and more sustainable future.
Sustainable development is an important concept to understand in order to create a more efficient and effective future. Sustainable development is the practice of using resources responsibly and efficiently in order to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. This involves considering the environmental, social, and economic implications of any decision or action. Sustainable development can be achieved through a variety of actions, such as reducing energy consumption, minimizing waste, developing renewable energy sources, and preserving natural resources. It is important for us to work together to ensure that our actions are sustainable, so that we can continue to enjoy the Earth’s resources for generations to come.
SDG 1: No poverty
Poverty and microorganisms very much go hand in hand, being the former the chief cause of microbial-related death. Globally, it has been found that 52% of deaths in low-income countries are caused due to communicable diseases and microbial infections. Raising awareness among the people about maintaining hygiene can also immensely contribute to controlling microbe-caused poverty. Microbes are not only foes, but they can also be friends. Educating and training poor people about the use of “green” microorganisms for generating income is an approach to making them self-sufficient. Production of Gobar Gas or traditional microbial fermented food products like pickles, vinegar, etc may help the poor people in generating a source of income. Fermented food products, which contribute to one-third of the total diet of the world, can be an effective tool to curb hunger and attain sustainable development by providing employment, alleviating poverty, and maintaining food security.
SDG 2: Zero Hunger
For a sustainable developmental approach, microorganisms can be used in agriculture as a green technology Growth-promoting microbes can enhance biotic and abiotic stress resistance, remediate contaminated soils, recycle nutrients, and manage soil fertility which results in sustainable agricultural production. the salvaging of food waste into a nutritional and utilizable form is another microbiological process by which waste food material is converted into edible form.
SDG 3: Good health and Well-Being
Microbes are involved in the processes like our metabolism and help keep us healthy by fighting off harmful intruders. Microbes are used in the production of antibiotics which are used to treat bacterial infections like cholera, plague, typhus, dysentery, etc. Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli constitute two examples of microbes that are important for immune regulation in humans. Microorganisms can also play a pivotal role in controlling pollution-related diseases and their mortality rate. Bioremediation for decontamination of soil and water is a green and environment-compatible approach that can help in achieving sustainable development goals.
SDG 4: Quality Education
For attaining sustainable development, education is the most powerful vehicle. SDG 4 targets to ensure affordable and quality education, increase the number of skilled youths, eliminate the discrepancies in access to education, expand scholarships and increase the number of qualified teachers, especially in developing countries. Since the most crucial sectors like medicine and agrifood industries make immense use of microorganisms to produce drugs and food, it becomes imperative that microbes should be central to education and outreach programs.
SDG 5: Gender Equality
Gender inequality stagnates the world’s progress by limiting the social and economic development of women. Women require information about sexual and reproductive health, and hygiene, since inadequate education about sexually transmitted diseases like herpes, gonorrhea, AIDS, etc poses a greater danger of developing them. Gender inequality can be managed by promoting women’s education and making women skillful enough to earn a livelihood. In agriculture, women can be taught the importance of soil microflora, and the use of beneficial microbes like Pseudomonas, and Rhizobium.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Anaerobic bacteria are used in wastewater treatment, the role of these bacteria is to reduce the volume of sludge and produce methane gas from it. Also, they help in the purification of water through the biodegradation of contaminants. The regular enumeration of the microorganisms E. coli, Salmonella, Vibrio, and Shigella can immensely contribute to controlling water-borne diseases. Microbial biofilms, which work by adsorption and flocculation, are also used in various water-treating systems.
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
Bioluminescent phytoplanktons have a potential form of green energy. In the not-so-distant future, our traditional street lamps may be replaced by glowing trees and buildings. Also, the microbial catalyst can help convert renewable materials into hydrocarbon fuels.
SDG 8: Decent work and Economic Growth
The enhanced production of microbial fermentation-derived antibiotics can allow an economic and sustainable supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Even the toxins produced by marine microbes can be used for human health and lead to the mitigation of three problems at a time: control of harmful algal bloom benefitted healthcare and generation of employment. microbes can be enormously beneficial for creating employment.
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
Microbes play a crucial role in producing various metabolites, such as ethanol, butanol, and lactic acid in large-scale industries, as well as the transformation of the chemicals that help reduce environmental pollution. A wide array of microorganisms provides an opportunity to develop such micro and small-scale industries, create jobs, and boost socio-economic development.
SDG 10: Reduced Inequality
The development will also help in reducing the inequalities within the nations. Microbiology and biotechnology are central to health and food and present a broad scope of research in the field of sustainable science. Improvement in food quality and quantity, control of infectious diseases, and large-scale production Policies need to be formed for providing equal employment opportunities, healthcare, and other necessities for marginalized and disadvantaged people. Increasing the infrastructure for research and quality antibiotics are some of the urgent needs for sustainable development of the world, and microbes can help in achieving them.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Microbes play a significant role in the ecology of urban cities, which harbor a diverse population of transient and resident microbes playing important roles in water management, health and disease, and the degradation of culturally valuable buildings and artifacts. An efficient, green, and sustainable way of solid waste management is its bioconversion to useful products like biofuel, biogas, and animal feedstock, as well as its agricultural uses. Composting solid waste is an economically viable process that uses microorganisms like Pseudomonas, Bacillus, etc. Compost can be used as manure for crops, thereby improving their productivity and contributing to green development. Municipal solid waste is also converted into ethanol for its use as biofuel.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Some microbes are responsible for the production of different foodstuffs. Microbial Protein (MP) is used as a source of food or feed, as it has high protein content and is rich in vitamins and minerals and various other nutritionally valuable substances. Microbial products and metabolites like cellulases, ethanol, and Bacterial Cellulose (BC) from Komagataeibacter xylinus provide an opportunity to achieve responsible production by using these green microbial factories. The omnipresence of microorganisms, their roles in ecological cycles, their contribution to the production of various antibiotics and increased crop productivities, their scope of being an alternate source of fossil fuels, and their bioremediating properties make it a need of the hour to raise awareness about these highly efficient organisms.
SDG 13: Climate Action
Microorganisms are central to various biogeochemical cycles of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. These gases, released by various human interventions and processes like the burning of fossil fuels and industrial production processes, are the chief players of global climate change and its impacts. Microorganisms play vital roles in the recycling of elements by interacting with various biotic and abiotic factors. They are fundamental to many natural and engineered systems like wastewater treatment, agriculture, remediation, biofuel production, organic matter breakdown and mineralization, and production of metabolites. Burning of fossil fuels, being the most significant contributor to global climate change, can also be managed by using microorganisms as a source of biofuels or as a part of biofuel production technology.
SDG 14: Life below Water
Due to the increased dumping of waste into the water, its quality has deteriorated and eutrophication has elevated. increase in the atmospheric concentration of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide intensifies the growth of cyanobacteria in water. However, the blue-green algae offer a reliable alternative to the food security of future generations. These organisms are easy to produce, can even utilize polluted water for their growth, have a high biomass yield, and may be used for the manufacturing of an array of products. They can be employed for enhancing soil fertility and arresting the emission of greenhouse gases, thus contributing to a sustainable future. Viruses, bacteria, and algae are the dynamic players in the microbial ecology of the oceans. Viruses control bacterial bloom and change their genetic compositions, thereby significantly affecting the ocean’s health.
SDG 15: Life on Land
Deterioration in soil health directly affects all life forms, as groundwater, surface water, and air all are adversely affected by an unhealthy soil structure. Microbes, being the key players in regulating the nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur levels, as well as the decomposition of decaying organic matter, are essential for maintaining the health of the soil. They immobilize minerals, which become available to the higher organisms that feed upon them. Furthermore, microbes also degrade the chemicals that are added to the soil due to agricultural, industrial, and construction practices. Being so efficient and playing deep roles in the soil ecosystem, microbes can be a way of achieving SDG 15 of improving life on land.
SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
Microbial forensics is a scientific discipline dedicated to analyzing evidence from a bioterrorism act or crime. Microbes are important in the decay process and also influence the presence and concentration of alcohol, drugs, and other chemicals of forensic relevance. Microbes can help in achieving SDG 16 by combating bioterrorism, as a source of nutrition, improving environmental conditions, implementing green technology, and improving national and international infrastructure that would ultimately lead to the development of society and the prevalence of peace and justice.
SDG 17: Global Partnership for Sustainable Development
Capacity building on trade-related aspects of biotechnology is the need of the hour. The benefits of microbes and microbial technology can only reach the masses through globalization and overcoming land barriers. This green technology must be used to reinforce the values of social justice and equity. Policy frameworks are required to make microbiology contribute to the social, economic, and environmental needs for achieving a sustainable future.
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Sustainable development is an important concept for today’s world. It ensures that our current needs are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It also involves creating economic, social, and environmental sustainability. This can include reducing energy consumption and pollution, protecting natural resources, and promoting social equity. Investing in sustainable development is investing in the future of our planet and our collective future.