WORK > 2017 > Rare Endophyte Collectors Club [OAK]

The Rare Endophyte Collectors Club: Oakland is a chapter of the DIY research initiative whose goal is to locate and identify endophytes from local plants. This Endophyte.Club chapter was created as part of the Museum of Capitalism exhibition in the summer of 2017.

At the Rare Endophyte Collectors Club (RECC) biological hobbyists meet to identify, discuss and trade information about new, rare and hard to access microorganisms. The race is on: who will get to unlock, collect and share the secrets of the microbiome era?

Endophytes are the microorganisms, especially fungi, that live inside of plants. The relationship between an endophyte and its host plant is not well understood, but some of these microorganisms are believed to enhance host growth and nutrient acquisition, as well as improve the plant’s ability to tolerate abiotic stresses. Researchers around the world are isolating novel endophytes to investigate their potential agricultural or even pharmaceutical applications.

Participants in the Rare Endophyte Collectors Club: OAK got hands-on experience in this field of research by collecting plants, learning about DIY bio methods, setting up the experiment, and watching their endophytes grow. They also debated and discussed the process of discovering, naming, and owning organisms in contemporary scientific research and the how and why of patenting ones findings.