The Search for Microbial Dark Matter
Published:09 Jun.2020    Source:Nature

Every researcher who enters Yoichi Kamagata’s laboratory in the hope of growing interesting microorganisms undergoes an initiation: they try to culture Oscillospira guilliermondii, a bacterium found in the guts of cows and sheep, but never grown under lab conditions.


Kamagata, a microbiologist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan, has been fascinated with the rod-shaped microbes — ten or more times the size of the well-known gut denizen Escherichia coli — for more than a decade, because they seem to thrive only in animals that feast on fresh grass.