Victoria Lee, The Arts of the Microbial World: Fermentation Science in Twentieth-Century Japan, University of Chicago Press, 2021.
The first in-depth study of Japanese fermentation science in the twentieth century. The Arts of the Microbial World explores the significance of fermentation phenomena, both as life processes and as technologies, in Japanese scientific culture. Victoria Lee’s careful study documents how Japanese scientists and skilled workers sought to use the microbe’s natural processes to create new products, from soy-sauce mold starters to MSG, vitamins to statins.
At a moment when twenty-first-century developments in the fields of antibiotic resistance, the microbiome, and green chemistry suggest that the traditional eradication-based approach to the microbial world is unsustainable, twentieth-century Japanese microbiology provides a new, broader vantage for understanding and managing microbial interactions with society.
More information (see editor's website)