Imagine a settlement where people with different skills live close together and contribute to the community’s overall success: there are farmers who produce food, artisans who process the food, people who consume the food and others who remove waste. They cannot function in isolation relying on each other for survival. Together they are strong and thrive. “In many ways, a mixed microbial community is like a human settlement,” says Dr Rob Huddy, a molecular biologist, inventor and researcher at the Centre for Bioprocess Engineering Research (CeBER) in the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Future Water Institute at the University of Cape Town (UCT). “As a molecular biologist, I am fascinated by how we can manipulate and harness microorganisms to do something useful. “When we put microscopic organisms into a system, and grow them, they have the potential to produce value. For example, microorganisms are used commercially to make cheese, wine and pharmaceuticals. “They can also be used to treat contaminated wastewater produced by industries such as mining, which is a key focus of my research at CeBER.”   Huddy recently gave a talk on ‘Wastewater Bioremediation: Turning Poll...