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Chapter 29 : Following Diverse Vistas
Based on a suggestion of setting up a small consulting company to assist young biotechnology companies in getting ready for FDA inspections, setting up culture collections, and identifying actinomycetes and fungi, the author formed The Biotic Network which soon led to the founding of Blue Sky Research Service, which specialized in designing fermentation conditions for unusual or novel microorganisms and developing new extraction methods. The author also worked part-time at Biosource Technologies with Barry Holtz on finding ways to decrease the compost prep time for mushroom farms and increasing the flavor of mushrooms early in their growth stages. Thermophilic actinomycetes proved to be the key ingredient for a compost inoculum. The Center for Environmental Biotechnology (CEB) has three research focus areas: environmental diagnostics for water quality, biowarfare diagnostics, and environmental monitoring; biogeochemical transformations for bioremediation and synchrotron assessment and validation; and environmental risk assessment based on bioavailability through ingestion, bioabsorption, and inhalation. Natural products will always play an important role in medicine, food, and the environment. The author feels that the twenty-first century will bring more integration of physiology and molecular biology and use the physicists’ tools more to elucidate and validate the structure and function of microorganisms in our world.