Microbes in the News 3rd Post

Bacteria harness viruses to distinguish friend from foe

April 16, 2019


Summary- Researchers have discovered that bacteria found in the gut use a virus to self-recognize using the virus to self identify.   Thomas Wood of Pennsylvania State University one of the senior authors found a demarcation line was formed when Escherichia coli K-12 strains were near each other, but not when identical clones were near each other.   They found that prophage CPS-53 and one of its proteins, YfdM, were required for the demarcation line and that CPS-53 is essentially inactive in cell lysis and phage-particle production causing them to believe this was the reason for the difference.

connection- We have discussed bacteria and viruses in detail throughout the semester.   I thought it was interesting how the viruses that attack these bacteria are being used to keep itself safe and recognize itself.

critical analysis- I thought the subject was very interesting and was something that had not been discussed previously.   I did think the article was written for people with a scientific background and that some of the details would be unknown to someone without some microbiology background.

quesiton- Are there other bacteria in the body that use this same technique?


Art Project: Play-Doh Microbes

For this project I decided to get assistance from my 9 year old son.   We decided to chose 4 random objects with in eyesight and then research what was the most common bacteria found on them.   The first one he chose was a kitchen sponge which has too many types to list.   The most common one was E. coli which is represented by the green model with flagella.   The next was the trashcan lid which can carry Listeria.   This is represented by the red rod shaped model.   Next he chose the door handle which we Staphylococcus is commonly present on.   We represented this with the circular pink model.   The final one he chose was the coffee pot.   While the other bacteria from above are commonly found there, a common fungi found is mold.   We represented this with the yellow and orange model.   These are not to scale models, but the important part to me was being able to my son how many different type of microbes are around us all the time.



A2: Microbes in the News

How electricity-eating microbes use electrons to fix carbon dioxide

Science News website

March 23 2019





This post discussed how the researchers discovered that naturally occurring Rhodopseudomonas palustris microbes take up electrons to fix carbon dioxide.   This electricity “eating’ microbes can use the energy from light to carry out metabolic processes.   The researchers went on to discuss how this could be used as a sustainable energy source which got the attention of the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense.   The researchers encountered a difficulty because the microbe is anaerobe, only surviving in an environment lacking oxygen.   Part of their research they removed the microbe’s ability to fix carbon which resulted in a decline in its ability to use the provided electricity.



This article stuck out to me because have discussed in class the effects of our current fossil fuel usage.   If this was something that we could harness then we could possibly have a sustainable source of energy.


Critical analysis

I found this article to very interesting.   This is an area that I was unfamiliar with and it was an interesting idea.   It was interesting to see how we are still learning from what comes naturally to other types or organisms.   I found the article to be factual and accurate because I could not find anything that proved it wasn’t.   The research was conducted by a well-known researcher who had published in the past and had be proven to be accurate.   I believe the article was written for a person with some scientific background, but could be understood by most.   The article did not go into extreme depth or use uncommon words or descriptions.



I’d like to know what other microbes are capable of this and if there are some that conduct this process in an aerobic environment.





Pink Salmon

I attempted to depict two pink salmon swimming because as a fishing guide I have a great respect for these fish.   This picture was taken three days after inoculation.   I used a MAC plate with Serratia marcescens which is a Gram negative and ferments.   I chose this because it was supposed to turn pink which after talking to Alexis I found out the sample we used in lab was contaminated.

Microbes in the News Post 1

Mitochondria’s Bacterial Origins Upended, The Scientist, April 25th 2018


Summary- As of recent scientist have discovered that mitochondria are not as closely related to Alphaproteobacteria as once thought.   While they can show that they are closely related it is not as close as once thought.   One of the major issues is that there is various type of Alphaproteobacteria and they cannot single out just one.   A major issue they have encountered is that they cannot account for all mutations that could have taken place over time.

Connections-   We have discussed the origins of mitochondria and other microbiological organisms.

Critical Analysis-  This is a subject I find interesting because I have really heard the actual origin story of mitochondria.   I’ve always been told it originated when a bacterium was captured by a eukaryotic cell.   It has always interested me when or how that event took place and this article opened my eyes to the fact that it may not have just been a single event but multiple events leading to a one that was better suited for the environment.   I do think the writes could have explained this process a little more in detail this process which would have made it easier for the general public to understand.   Overall I feel as though the authors conveyed the message they wanted to and were targeting the scientific community, which in turn was why they left out some of the explanations that would be needed for the general public.

Question- This article has made me think of how the event took place and if we will ever find the one Alphaproteobacteria that provides the link?

Epithet Epitaphs- Bartonella

Bartonella are bacteria that infect humans and other animals, living inside the lining of the blood vessels.   Bartonella was discovered in 1905 by  Alberto Barton in Peru when he noticed there was an outbreak of an unknown sickness among foreign workers that worked for the railway.   Bartonella was carried by fleas and lice and was known as the “cat scratch fever”.   It was proven that people could still develop the disease with tick bites but with no exposure to cats.   Many patients from the railway were transferred to Guadalupe Hospital, these fourteen were studied by Barton.   Barton found that theses patients bacillus within their red blood cells, which would change to a cocci shape in the patient survived the severe acute phase.   Barton found that if the patients developed lesions the bacteria would disappear from the  peripheral blood system.

Alberto Barton was born inLima Peru in 1870 and was the fourth of nine brothers.   His father was an Uruguayan chemist who along with his wife traveled to Peru in 1874 exposing Alberto to Peru for the first time.    Alberto Barton received   a grant for training in tropical diseases and bacteriology in Edinburgh and at the London School of Tropical Medicine. He returned to Peru and began working at the   Guadalupe Hospital. This is when he began his first research activities.


B B  Chomel,  R W  Kasten,  K  Floyd-Hawkins,  B  Chi,  K  Yamamoto,  J  Roberts-Wilson,  A N  Gurfield,  R CAbbott,  N C  Pedersen,  J E  Koehler