Filip Willocx under the microscope
Boom, Niel 01/20/2021
Filip Willocx, our man in the white coat, is busy daily with microbiological life. It is therefore not surprising that we ask him about it.
Why this interest in the world of the tiny species? Where does this passion for microbiology come from?
As a child, did he fall into the cauldron with a microbiological potion? We would like to give Filip the opportunity to introduce himself. Who is our man behind the science?
As a child, I have always been interested in biology and in particular the chemistry that goes with it. I say this to my children also today: “Love is chemistry, nothing more”. And when you come home and your spouse has prepared a nice meal with lit candles, you must be wondering if it is for love or to kill you, because of the production of particles from combustion…
I think I was 10 when I got a microscope from Saint Nicholas and then I was able to experience the wonderful world of the invisible, a passion that still controls my work. For my studies and research, I opted for food technology. In these courses we learned on the one hand the techniques to kill microorganisms or to control growth and on the other hand the use of bacteria, yeasts and fungi to make tasty food. Just think of cheese, yogurt, salami, beer or wine. Research in the microbiology of water purification and soil purification has also been conducted and taught.
As a student, I even had a full fermentation setup on my bedroom radiator. A Dame-Jeanne with fruit juice, sugar, additional nutrients and yeast; time did the rest. Was it tasty? I cannot remember and dare not say, only that there was enough alcohol in it to organize a few parties. Over the years, I have seen attitudes towards the use of good bacteria change dramatically. Fortunately for the best.
It makes sense that a lot of research has been done on the germs or food alterations that make our lives in danger. It is only recently that scientific research has been carried out to use microorganisms to restore intestinal flora, treat acne, eliminate unpleasant sweat odors, and even treat chronic bronchitis.
The chemical industry is at its limits and often the side effects of molecules are worse than the disease.
Ecosystem services are the future and the use of good bacteria for the service of humanity is a must.
“Microorganisms have inhabited all corners and sides of our planet for billions of years”
As humans and researchers, we don’t realize that microorganisms have populated all corners and sides of our planet for billions of years. They have already withstood major natural disasters, just think of the formation of oxygen, which is detrimental to anaerobic bacteria. But they are still found everywhere.
That is why we are going to seek solutions in nature with BioOrg and we are convinced that for every pollutant one or more microorganisms can be found somewhere and they can clean up the pollution.
“Microbiology is not a science”, was once blamed an engineer from the European Commission. The reason was that my microbiological analysis of the indoor air showed real risks to building users and this aspect is often unknown to engineers, so not real.
Microbiology is only a recent science and this invisible life is being studied further and new interactions are discovered every day. Only recently did we find out that bacteria ‘talk’ to each other, and even have a social behavior, but in stressful situations part of the population is sacrificed to provide food for necessary survivors, they can also cross surfaces to the search for food and yes first come, first serve… therefore, people live and behave like bacteria.
In fact, the way we digest and break down food into fuels and building materials is the same as the way bacteria break down and transform food: enzymatic activity. Nothing new under the sun.
I got to know Koen at the end of the last century, as a client for his Blygold business, and have had many years of conversations about microbiological contamination issues in food production and the pharmaceutical industry. Chemistry was the chosen resource, but how do you explain the fungal contamination in refrigeration, legionella in cooling towers or nosocomial infections in hospitals that cause deaths every day, despite approved processes and hygiene measures? and validations?
The solutions lie in nature, a laboratory that has conducted research for billions of years and a world in which businesses work.