Without these organisms, humans wouldn’t have food to eat. Almost everything we eat is either a plant or other photosynthetic organism, an animal that grazes on them, or an animal that feeds on animals that graze.
Processed foods may not look like they come from microbes, plants, fungi or animals, but nearly all do. Some vitamins and other food ingredients are manufactured, but they are only a very small component of the human diet.
Chemists have discovered ways to use various sources of energy to make molecules that could be used for food. Molecules produced this way are called “synthetic.” However, these processes are so difficult and expensive that it is currently impossible to feed people with these synthetic foods.
And many of our food plants – over 1,200 species – depend on pollinators to produce the fruit or seed that humans and other animals eat. Pollination, the process that allows plants to reproduce, happens when animals carry pollen from one plant to another. Bees are the main pollinators, but many other insects, birds, bats and other animals also transport pollen between plants.