Biology Department Seminar | Benjamin Wolfe, Associate Professor of Biology, Tufts University | Delicious rot: ecology and evolution of fermented food microbiomes
Advances in "-omics" technologies have allowed microbiologists to rapidly discover patterns of microbial diversity across our planet. But the processes that determine the composition of microbial communities are largely unknown. The Wolfe lab uses fermented food microbiomes to identify the ecological and evolutionary processes that shape microbial diversity. In this seminar, I will describe how dispersal, biotic interactions, and diversification can shape microbial community assembly across a range of your favorite ferments, including sourdough bread, kimchi, and Camembert cheese. I will highlight how basic ecological and evolutionary principles can be used to solve quality and safety problems in fermented food production. The talk will also explore how fermentation is a powerful platform for improving microbial literacy in the classroom and in our communities.