Background of NENUN
The use of molecular techniques has been widely accepted in all areas of life science. Within environmental biotechnology, the use of such approaches has already proved superior in many cases; one example being the use of quantitative PCR analysis to predict whether dechlorination will take place in a given aquifer – by simply measuring if microbial communities with these specific traits are present – a measurement that only can be done on the basis of nucleic acids present in the sample.
Many other approaches are similarly proving valuable, including the measurement of plant pathogens in soil, measurement of nitrifiers in municipal sewage treatment plants and the spread of human pathogens in the environment.
In all cases, the development of efficient methodologies is complicated and a continuing challenge – however most technological developments (and the groups developing them) are building on the same principal elements.
A strong impact of improved Nordic cooperation in molecular microbial ecology is expected from the understanding of microbial ecology in biotechnological environmental applications as well as in exploring the biodiversity of environmental active microorganisms. The Nordic countries are rather small yet have several world wide recognized groups. Bringing them closer could put the Nordic counties in the forefront within this field, at least in a European perspective. This has increased potential for bring European research money to the Nordic countries.