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Science & Research

New Book Shows How Idaho Microbes Affect Daily Life

"Idaho Microbes"
Euplotes protozoa likes to hang around backyard ponds.

They’re in craft beer made in McCall, mountain streams in the Idaho back country and dairy farms near Twin Falls. Microbes are all over the state of Idaho and they’re the focus of a new book on the tiny, single-celled organisms.

The book “Idaho Microbes” takes readers on a journey around the state to learn how different microbes affect day-to-day life in Idaho.

Idaho author Steve Stuebner teamed up with Boise State University scientists to write the book. He says it looks at microbes that everyone in Idaho needs to know about.

“Microbes were here long before us and they’ll be here long after us. So, these critters have been around a long time and are a part of the building blocks of life and it’s important for us to know about them,” says Stuebner.

Stuebner says each chapter of the book helps readers learn how microbes affect things like underground oil spills in Nampa and white pine blister rust in Idaho’s mountains.

For example, Stuebner says a lot of people enjoy the outdoors and have been sickened by giardia if they don’t filter their water. Stuebner says he’s had giardia three times, but didn’t really know much about it.

“I go into all the details about where did giardia come from? I mean it’s a parasite, was it here when Lewis and Clark came through? I don’t remember reading about it in the journals, but yes, it was. And how does it reproduce, what makes it tick, why is it so prolific?”

He took on the project because he felt it was an opportunity to learn and he says it has stretched his brain and turned into a great learning experience.

Stuebner says the book is for the general reader and he hopes biology classes at high school or college will also use it.

He and his BSU scientists will unveil the new book Tuesday, December 8 at the Discovery Center of Idaho in Boise from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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