WMC (Wageningen Microbiome Center)


Microbiomes are all around us. These communities of micro-organisms live in all ecosystems, in soils, on plants, animals and humans. All these micro-organisms are important for ecosystem functions and host health, and they are considered a research priority for moving towards circular systems.

How do these microbiomes work, which species are present and how do they behave in natural environments, human and animal bodies, and engineered systems?


Societal challenges are manifold. Think of feeding the growing human population and its dietary shifts, halting biodiversity loss or combatting climate change. Microbiomes may play an important role in finding solutions to the challenges. This was a significant reason to found the Wageningen Microbiome Center (WMC).

Move forward together

"The research on diversity and functions of the microbiomes from humans, animals, plants, soil, water, food and more has seen an enormous development during the last decade," explains scientist Jos Raaijmakers. As the Head of Department of Microbial Ecology at NIOO he is involved in the new initiative from the start. Raaijmakers is one of the WMC Think Tank members. "We now find ourselves in the stage where strategies can be developed to steer the microbiome in the direction of enhancing the health of mankind, animals, soil, water and climate."

NIOO's research is strongly focussed on the role microbiomes play in sustainable use of land and water, as well as on the role in carbon and nitrogen cycli, greenhouse gas emission and climate change. Raaijmakers: "It enables us to add a substantial share to the new WMC. By interacting and closely cooperating with research departments from WUR - what we already carry out partly - and by initiating new projects involving a variety of stakeholders."

Why in Wageningen?

Worldwide, many microbiome-related centres are emerging or are recently established. These organisations are almost exclusively medically oriented, and the Netherlands forms no exception. But in Wageningen, things are different. Together, WUR(external link), NIOO and UNLOCK(external link) cover environmental and human ecosystems research. This makes Wageningen a logical and fitting location for a broad microbiome research collaboration.