ProjectThe unknown majority – what is the role of "unculturable" microbes in microbial communities?

Basic data

The unknown majority – what is the role of "unculturable" microbes in microbial communities?
01/01/2024 to 31/05/2027
Abstract / short description:
Microbes usually live together with other microbes in biodiverse
communities. Investigating microbial communities also requires lab
experiments. Unfortunately, the majority of microbes cannot be
cultivated in the lab, and accordingly, microbial communities
investigated in the lab represent only a small fraction of the natural
biodiversity. This causes a huge gap between lab and nature, and
raises doubts about to what extent lab experiments on microbial
communities are informative about natural communities. A major reason
for why so many microbes cannot be cultivated in the lab is likely
their need for the right interaction partners. To address this
question, the research team will explore if communities containing
unculturable microbes behave differently from what is known for
culturable bacteria by using microbial interactions to isolate
unculturable microbes. Moreover, it will be explored if the presence
of unculturable microbes changes the properties of microbial
communities like biodiversity or resilience.

Involved staff


Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine (IMIT)
Interfaculty Institutes

Local organizational units

Cluster of Excellence: Controlling Microbes to Fight Infections (CMFI)
Centers or interfaculty scientific institutions
University of Tübingen


Hannover, Niedersachsen, Germany

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