MikrobAlpina – the microbe zoo

A Zoo with the smallest creatures. Take a look inside!

The first


in the Alps

We show selected microorganisms, from bacteria to fungi, including yeasts, primitive bacteria (archaea) and protozoa. We show how they grow and thrive, how they glow and creep and how they benefit plants, animals and humans. It’s amazing what moves around and in us, made visible in the MikrobAlpina Science Centre.

Still fiction, but maybe reality soon?

What are microbes?

 Microbes (bacteria in common parlance) include bacteria and archaea (formerly called primitive bacteria). The broader concept of  microorganisms also includes the fungi (including unicellular yeasts), microscopic algae and protozoans (e.g. paramecium). These are mainly microscopically small (micro = Greek small) creatures, very often unicellular organisms and not visible to the naked eye.

In the sensitive interaction of the organisms, which populate our planet, they play key roles. Also, in the alpine area, microorganisms play an important role: they are very cold- and UV-resistant, colonize caves, ice and snow and colour glaciers red.

They are also known as symbionts of alpine animals, which could not digest their fibre-rich food without microorganisms.

Major Tyrolean companies from the pharmaceutical and food sectors use them as the basis for their business models.

Last but not least, humans harbour more microorganisms (approx. 1.3*1013) than their own body cells (approx. 1.0*1013).




microbes are

very useful!

no image added yet.

Ciliates search game

Say cheese! – Production of food

Algenshow und phototrophe Bakterien

Credit Verein klasse!forschung

Mikroorganismen experimentell erforschen

Wie Bakterien und Mikroben gezüchtet werden.

Neocallimastix ein Pilz aus dem Darm des Steinbocks, Copyright S. Leis

Damit das Alpenschneehuhn und die Gämse nicht verhungern.

Wir schauen Mikroben beim Wachsen zu.



microbial zoo

in the world

Microorganisms are not only fascinating in their functions for medicine, humans, food production, etc., no, they are also nice to look at – they shine or change their colour. All this should be taught in the MikrobAlpina to children & parents, pupils & teachers as well as students.

MikrobAlpina is a project of scientists at the University of Innsbruck, the Medical University of Innsbruck and the Management Centre Innsbruck.