Our human body is home to microorganisms that only grow under oxygen-free (anaerobic) conditions. Such microbes die or stop growing on contact with only low oxygen concentrations.
These so-called obligate anaerobes are important components of the normal microflora on human mucous membranes, for example in the intestine, and affect metabolism, the immune system and bodily functions. At the same time, however, the intestine is also a point of attack for pathogens from outside.
To study the complex interactions between microbiome, pathogens and the human host and to investigate anaerobic bacteria, conditions similar to those in the intestine must be simulated in the laboratory. At the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research and the Institute for Molecular Infection Biology at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg, a joint focus is dedicated to this research. In a new core unit that has now been successfully launched in the labs, scientists generate an oxygen-free environment at anerobic workbenches and carry out experiments.