Microbial Based 'Cradle-to-Cradle' Approach to Attain Sustainable Development Goals of Food and Water Security, Good Health and Well Being without Crossing the Planetary Boundaries
Keywords:algae, bacteria, bioenergy, microbiome, sanitation, sustainability, wastewater
Our planet is facing a wide range of inevitable and unprecedented changes such as, the water and food scarcity to the natural calamities, namely flooding, droughts and rising sea levels. All these global challenges had been addressed through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) drafted by the general assembly of the United Nations. In light of the current population growth, it is difficult to attain the sustainable development using conventional and non-renewable natural resources by remaining within the planetary boundaries of Earth. In order to maintain the environment and ecological integrity, the utilization of renewable living natural resources such as microbes become inevitable. Due to their roles in geo physio-chemical processes and bioenergy transformations, microbes allow 'cradle-to-cradle' model of development using wastewater as a renewable resource. The circular wastewater economy is the sole sustainable method to achieve the SDGs of providing clean water and the sanitation to address the issue of water insecurity. The review presents an inter-connected overview on the roles and functions performed by the prokaryotic (bacteria) and eukaryotic (algae and fungi) microorganisms, which are crucial for attaining the environment sustainability within the planetary boundaries. Apart from the environmental roles of microbes, the review also highlights the importance of human-microbe interactions (gut microbiome) and edible microbial species (algae and fungi) which are essential for developing sustainable future alternatives to human nutrition, well being and prevention of diseases.