Estonian Society for Microbiology (EMS) was established in 1992 as a successor of Estonian branch of Microbiological Society of the former Soviet Union. Since 1992, Ass. Prof. Tiina Alamäe and MSc Ene Talpsep have been chairing the Society. Currently, Prof. Jaak Truu holds this position. Our society is small as Estonia is a very small country with population of slightly more than a million. The average number of members in our Society has been approximately 80, depending on a year. Importantly, students comprise over 30% of our members. Microbiologists belonging to our Society come mostly from two big towns of Estonia, Tartu and Tallinn that harbor the universities and other major Estonian scientific institutions. Despite our smallness, we have been active in distributing information on microbiology-related events through our mailing lists, organizing conferences and seminars and promoting our young members. The Society highly appreciates belonging to FEMS. Over years, our young people have been active in applying for FEMS grants. Receiving young scientist grants, they have been working in research laboratories all over the Europe.
Our society has organized conferences of our own as well as several joint events. For example, in 2000 a joint conference entitled ‘Microbiological Safety of Food’ was organized in Tartu. In 2004, we were co-organizers of a NATO Advanced Research Workshop on bioremediation of soils contaminated with aromatic compounds. In 1993 we published a booklet ‘Microbiological Research in Estonia. Information on research projects by Estonian Society for Microbiology’ that was sent to microbiological societies in other countries. Now, up-to-date overview of microbiology-related research and people in Estonia is available in Estonian Research Portal ETIS (https://www.etis.ee/index.aspx). The members of our Society are engaged in wide array of microbiology-related research including mutational processes and physiological adaptation of bacteria to environmental stress (Prof. M. Kivisaar, Drs R. Hõrak & R. Teras), microbial communities in the environment and the effect of pollution (Profs A. Heinaru & J. Truu, Drs E. Heinaru & E. Vedler), bacterial enzymes of biotechnological importance (Ass. Prof. T. Alamäe), microorganisms as indicators and tools in toxicology (Drs A. Kahru, K. Kasemets, A. Ivask), genetic regulation of virulence traits of plant-pathogenic bacteria (Drs A. Mäe, V. Kõiv). These are just few examples. A high-standard technological research is performed in Competence Centre of Food and Fermentation Technologies (Tallinn) where several our members (Prof. T. Paalme, Drs I. Nisamedtinov, S. Adamberg, K. Adamberg & I. Sarand) are working. This centre has food and fermentation departments that deal with advanced cultivation technologies of microorganisms and different novel aspects of food. In 2014, our society was presented a challenge to organise the Second Congress of Baltic Microbiologists in Tartu. This was an interesting endeavour and provided us comprehensive experience for the future. The next international event, VI Baltic Genetic Congress, was held in 2015.