The activities of the Laboratory of Applied Microbiology (LMA) center on public health, environmental microbiology and microbial ecology. The principal activities are divided into the following areas of expertise:


This activity contributes to the protection of the population and is part of the national network of biosafety laboratories (Regional Laboratory South) to guarantee the regional responsiveness to bio-terrorism, epidemics, pandemics, and animal diseases. LMA also performs microbiological analyses of contaminated environmental samples that are of potential risk for human and animal health, and contributes to the monitoring of vectors of microbial pathogens including mosquitoes and ticks.


Environmental microbiology and microbial ecology

This activity focusses on the diversity and role of microorganisms in freshwater ecosystems. Investigations address microorganisms that perform biogeochemical processes in pristine and altered ecosystems. A long-standing research program studies the diversity and ecophysiology of anaerobic bacteria involved in the sulfur cycle in the depths of the meromictic Lake of Cadagno, in collaboration with the Alpine Biology Center ( and international research institutes. Other research groups study the diversity and ecology of saprophytic fungi in headwater streams, and the diffusion of potentially pathogenic microorganisms in the environment (e.g. antibiotic-resistant bacteria). 



Identification and typing

This activity deals with the isolation, identification, and characterization of microorganisms isolated from various types of samples and environments. Morphological, molecular, and proteomic identification methods are used. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry for the identification and typing of organisms represents a particular competence of the Laboratory, which is placed at the service of SUPSI and external partners. Identification and typing analyses are used in projects on contamination in production processes, on the biodeterioration of materials, in epidemiological investigations and for the description of genetic and functional characteristics of ecosystems.


This activity at the regional, supra-regional and national level deals with vectors of numerous diseases caused by microbial pathogens. Its campaigns are coordinated and carried out to monitor vectors (e.g. mosquitoes and ticks) of numerous human and animal diseases. An important long-term program deals with the monitoring of tiger mosquitoes in urban areas in all regions of Switzerland.