Ballads of Microbiology – Kyle Callegari

Oh Flagella

FlagellaPDF

This piece is a word art poem.   The piece is informative about the use and range of flagella as a motile mechanism.   The poem depicts the run and tumble technique employed in the movement of microbes with flagella.   It does not touch on the use of membranous protein receptors in sensing temporal gradients, but rather how the cell responds to these gradients.   the piece is engaging with an audience prompting the reader to interact with the page.   For a viewer that is unfamiliar with flagella as a form of motility for microorganisms, the piece give them a visual representation that may further cue them into the intent of the piece.

 

Personifying Archaea

Consider the methanogen, who’s not at all a gentleman,

I know it is quite grim, but oxygen will kill him.

This bawdy life is not for most, the pace typically slows,

For this frowzy fellow will boast, foul smells satiate his nose.

So if he wants to live in mud, know that it is his lifeblood,

He only eats organic bud, if that’s not for you then move with scud.

 

Thermophiles won’t pander, their position is staunch and bold.

Speaking out with candor, they’re hyper sensitive to the cold.

While they will detest a chill, they thrive in what they know.

Be thankful you don’t share a bill, or need a hot tub to becalm and grow.

So if you see him wrapped up tight, coiled back to increase his might,

And it seems a wild sight, be understanding of his right.

 

The halophile seems whiney, although she’s really just precise.

You see she likes things briny, and doesn’t like to ask you twice.

Keeping balance does her well, you could learn a thing here, hun.

When things are going really swell, you’ll find her soaking up the sun.

So when the piquant señiorita, demands a saline margarita,

 

Just give her what she need-a, curacao will not please-a.

These lives are lived by a specialized few, but would not suit neither me nor you.

Drastic livings are what archaea do, so look at them, if you need an extreme view.

 

This poem personifies three of the major archaeal groups we have learned about.   It delves into the lifestyles and touches on adaptations that have allowed these phyla to thrive in such extreme niches.   The reader learns methanogens are anoxic,  it hints at their production of methane through energy metabolism, hints at the chemoorganotroph lifestyle they can live, and includes a little about the habitat you can find them in.   The reader learns hyperthermophiles excel in hot environments.   The poem alludes to heat shock proteins and positive supercoiling as well.   The reader learns halophiles prefer salty environments.   The poem also alludes to the use of potassium to maintain osmotic balance, and the use of a light mediated proton pump.

 

I am a fermenter

 

I am a fermenter,

If you want a nice wine,

You need only to ask,

I’ll make it quite fine,

Or at least it will pass.

 

I am a fermenter,

I will make you a beer,

I really don’t mind.

The recipe’s here,

It was easy to find.

 

I am a fermenter,

I can make you some cheese,

I will make it now,

If you will just stay, please.

It’s fresh from the cow!

 

I am a fermenter,

I’m fed on such rich food.

My home is a gut,

yet management seems rude.

I might leave out the butt.

 

This poem highlights products we consume and crucial habitats in which we benefit from the existence of fermenting microbes.   I feel the poem would be an excellent and fun learning tool in an elementary classroom.   It integrates literary and scientific concepts that would be efficient in a classroom setting.

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