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What is it about? Microorganisms

Mikroorganismen und Invertebraten haben für die Landwirtschaft und Ernährung eine große Bedeutung. Sie haben in den Agrarökosystemen als Bestäuber, Bodenorganismen oder Schädlingsvertilger wichtige Funktionen. Auch in der Lebensmittelverarbeitung sind sie unersetzlich.

What are microorganisms?

Ladybird in takeoff Quelle: BLE

Microorganisms are unicellular organisms or organisms consisting of a few cells that are often invisible to the naked eye. Their importance for agriculture and food is thus easily underestimated. The term microorganisms includes fungi, algae, yeasts, bacteria, amoebae, archaebacteria and viruses. They include a very large number of different species.

What are invertebrates?

"Invertebrates" are all animals that have no spine. This lower group of organisms includes earthworms, nematodes, spiders and insects. They perform valuable functions in agricultural ecosystems.Microorganisms and invertebrates are often described as part of the associated biodiversity in the agricultural area. They can be useful and harmful for food and agriculture, for example as carriers of disease. Some useful microorganisms and invertebrates are  cultivated and used specifically.


  •     Yeasts for bread production
  •     Bacteria for ripening cheese
  •     Bacteria for pest control
  •     Bumblebees for pollination

To a certain extent, invertebrates are also bred, for example:

  •     The Honey Bee
  •     Ichneumon flys for biological pest control
  •     Caterpillars of the silk moth
  •     Grasshoppers and crickets as protein-rich food

Microorganisms and invertebrates, like plant varieties or livestock breeds,  play an essential role in agricultural production systems and in food processing. They are part of biodiversity for agriculture and food. The BMEL therefore regularly examines the need for action for the conservation and sustainable use of these genetic resources. Action may be required, for example, in the field of safeguarding valuable collections of microorganisms in research or the protection of insects, such as pollinators, in agricultural areas.

Sand wasp pulls larva into its hole
Sand wasp pulls larva into its hole Quelle: Shaftination -


+49 (0) 228 / 6845-3991

Monika Winkler

Federal Office for Agriculture
and Food
Unit 331
Deichmanns Aue 29
53179 Bonn