Scientific knowledge about the coexistence of humans and microorganisms has grown rapidly throughout the 21st century, as well as the interest of the public and the investment of companies in this coexistence. The "microbial turn", as it has been called, raises new questions and challenges for science.
This interdisciplinary project examines the coexistence of humans and microorganisms in Iceland and focuses on how this coexistence is shaped in everyday activities past and present. The project examines the creativity of microorganisms in food and daily life; it accompanies them from cultivation, baking, brewing, pickling and brewing, through the digestive system and back into the soil through composting, and it studies the effects of this coexistence on people's physical, mental and social well-being.
The project examines a living "culture" through the integration of qualitative, ethnographic methods (including sensory ethnography and multi-species ethnography), quantitative methods and laboratory methods. In the project, the social sciences will therefore alternate with the natural sciences and health sciences. In this way, it will bring about new knowledge about the complex interplay between human and other species, and about how this interaction shapes the material world, including the human body.
The aim of such an interdisciplinary study of the coexistence of humans and microorganisms is to form a new perspective on human health, diet, social interaction and the interaction of humans and microorganisms with their environment that could point the way to a more sustainable future.