A2: Microbes in the News (Post 3)

Title: Study finds previously unknown mechanism for microbes to save energy in lean times

Source: News-Medical

Date Published: March 20, 2019

Article Link:  https://www.news-medical.net/news/20190320/Study-finds-previously-unknown-mechanism-for-microbes-to-save-energy-in-lean-times.aspx

Summary:  This article is a review done on some recent research in the world of Microbiology, looking at a mechanism utilized by microbes when they are nutrient limited. Using electron microscopy a group of scientists from the Imperial College of London analyzed flagella on two species of Gammaproteobacteria under nutrient limited conditions. They determined that when there is a lack of nutrients these bacteria can enter a lower energy state to conserve energy by ‘ejecting’ or ridding themselves of their flagella that normally use lots of energy.

Connections:  We’ve learned about both structures bacteria have that helps them move around, which include flagella (the focus of the study). Plus how bacteria can conserve or use energy, which is the key reason for this mechanism being used in bacteria.

Critical analysis:  I found it interesting how bacteria can adapt so efficiently to conserve energy when exposed to nutrient limited environments. I was unaware they could eject or get rid of their energy expensive flagella. I believe this paper was scientifically accurate as it was written as a direct review of a scientific paper on the topic. Effectively taking what would be a dense, hard to read for the general public, lab report and turning it into an easy to understand article that highlights the key points of the research.

Question:  What other structures or energy expensive mechanisms could bacteria limit or get rid of in nutrient limited environments?

1 Comment for “A2: Microbes in the News (Post 3)”



Interesting article, I liked how the authors tied in the 127 Hours reference. I found it interesting as well that bacteria will eject their flagella in times of “starvation” to conserve energy. However, I wonder if that could inhibit them from accessing new areas to get their needed resources. Overall, I agree that this report was scientifically accurate and easy to understand for the general public. To address you question, one way for the bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus, to survive times of multiple-nutrient limitation, is dependent upon their cell density in their colony and cell protein synthesis. Specifically, during times of glucose limitation, 99% of S. aureus cells will die, however, few will gain increased survivability and be viable for months, which makes sense since there is less competition. Also, cells that could synthesize enzymes, such as catalase, to protect themselves from oxidative stress and acid shock had increased survivability in times of low nutrient availability.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *