Study microenvironments in situ
It is a fundamental goal in microbial ecology to study microorganisms in nature, determine their physical and chemical microenvironment, and analyze their metabolic processes and interactions. Due to the small size of the organisms, high-resolution techniques must be used to observe and understand their metabolism on a microscale. Microsensors have been used in numerous microbial ecological experiments, both in aquatic and terrestrial environments.
The use of microsensors in microbial ecology makes it possible to resolve fine scale chemical gradients in the natural environment. Examples include microbial metabolism in sediments and biofilms of oxygen, sulfide, nitrous oxide, nitrate, nitrite, and hydrogen. Small-scale chemical gradients in heterogeneous environments, such as root surfaces of plants, animal burrows in marine sediments, microbial mats and porous soils