How to participate?
The idea behind Post/Biotics is to reduce sole reliance on research institutions and pharmaceutical companies to develop new antibiotics by tasking citizen scientists to test specimens for antibiotic properties. The magnitude resulting in two fold action of mapping samples across the world as well as raising awareness on scarcity of antibiotics, thus promoting better stewardship practices of existing antibiotics. Leading scientific journals have established that chances of finding the next new antibiotic are the highest in soil, previously under-explored places and natural extracts.
Post/Biotics is a simple science toolkit, size of post-able box that allows citizen scientists to participate in discovering substances with antimicrobial values by testing locally available specimens such as plants, vegetables, fruits, fungi, mushrooms and soil.
Citizen scientists test their samples; say a crushed bark of a tree in their backyard on the Post/Biotics toolkit that contains E.coli bacteria. If their tree bark has antimicrobial properties, it will stop E.coli from growing which would reflect a change in colour on the toolkit indicating it is a sample of potential interest. The toolkit contains non-pathogenic, non-toxic substances that are safe to be used for kitchen biology experiments. In simple terms, the kit cannot cause any diseases or infections while being used by people.