Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How much do we understand?

As a microbiologist, IM knows that he can never understand microbial activities comprehensively. This is also known by all his fellows in the field of microbiology. 

How to predict the future steps of a microbial population? What are those factors which are important just on this very moment? Do we actually know them?

As an example: Ca2+ is needed for certain bacteria to produce spores. We still cannot, however, predict the sites of sporulation inside the paper machines because other essential triggers for sporulation may not be known by us.

This does not mean that we must rise our hands and thrust only on the old manners (like machine washings and boil-outs, set in annual calendars on the walls of control rooms). IM does not mean that tradition isn't important - in opposite! - but he would still like to have an optimistic view into the future of rapid microbiological process control. Novel ideas like Quality Control tool "HACCP", microbial activity estimations with "ON LINE ATP" and "PMEU" seem to be more and more well-known in P&P industry today.

Specialists and experts of technical issues begin also to understand the basic fact that it is basically impossible to understand all activities of microbial populations totally because the very complicated interactions of living and non-living components of the systems (which is definitely one of the facts in life which we must tolerate). But our "best guesses" can - and must - be derived from our basic knowledge of microbial metabolism, microbial ecology etc. When this expertise will be connected to laboratory and field experiments and experiences of paper process microbiology, the progress in the development towards better microbiological control of paper machine is secured.

- These ideas of paper industry microbiology seem to be very similar with those which must be understood and accepted in global economy today. No one really know what will happen to the infrastructure of the very complicated network of modern capitalism! Just to have ther very best tools for forecasts and planning!