Isolation of ‘‹Psychrobacter spp. From Rasmusen Library Public Use Keyboard

Public keybaords are known to harbor a variety of microbes, ranging form harmless to pathogenic. This bacterial isolation, characterization and identification from the UAF library could reflect an element of overall campus public health. The isolated bacterial culture is potentially unique to the arctic. Or it may be present on the keyboard simply as a result of human activity. The isolate’s suspected identification is ‘‹Psychrobacter sp. Sarcosine-02u-2.   Sarcosine is an amino acid derivative found in muscle and other body tissue though literature on the isolated species does not seem to be available so a link between its name and this specific metabolism intermediate is unclear.

Link to article:

Lukash Platil Psychobacter Isolation(2)

Colonial and microscopic morphology of Psychrobacter sanguinis.

Image sources:

Sangeun Lim, Hui-Jin Yu, Seungjun Lee, Eun-Jeong Joo. First Case of Psychrobacter sanguinis Bacteremia in a Korean Patient Ann Clin Microbiol Vol. 20, No. 3, September, 2017

“Nasty Keyboard” Ian Schofield (CC BY 2.0) via



Microbes In The News-Early Life

Earliest life may have arisen in ponds, not oceans

Date: April 12, 2019

Source: Massachusetts Institute Of Technology

News Coverage: Jenifer Chu, ScienceDaily


Micro Post: Lukash Platil


MIT researchers report shallow bodies of water rich in nitrogen may have been the source of initial life on earth. These ponds, shallower then 10 cm are thought to have contained large amounts of nitrogenous oxides. Stating that oceans may have been a bad place for necessary nitrogen reactions to occur and jump start life. This idea is based on free floating RNA being present and chemically interacting with various nitrogenous oxides. Atmospheric nitrogen was most likely broken into oxide forms by frequent lightning storms and accumulated in water but nitrogenous oxide sinks on oceans would likely break down too much of the substance. Shallow ponds would have allowed for synthesis pathways to occur at a higher concentration but at a lower scale due to the low abundance of ponds on early earth.


We discussed many possibility for the origin of life on earth in class. Many origins focused on the possibility of interactions between ocean water and hydro thermal vents to create a Goldie Locks zone in which life could have spawned. We discussed what is believed to be chemically necessary for early life on earth to span. The conversion of atmospheric N2 to oxide forms and its relative abundance is what these researchers believe is the deciding factor.

Critical analysis:

I think pointing out how stable N2’s triple bond is a key factor in allowing synthesis pathways to occur. The new nitrogen sinks researchers thought of that would decrease the relative abundance of the reactive species by three orders of magnitude in oceans seems like a reasonable justification to reevaluate the location for the emergence of life. The researchers belong to MIT, the paper was published in a credible journal and the news coverage was done by a reputable, scientific news outlet.


Do you think the statistical chance of life emergence depends on the quality of environment for synthesis pathways to occur or the relative abundance of locations containing the necessary ingredients for life? i.e. Quality or quantity, which is more important?

Art Project Lukash Platil

I created a digital collage using Photoshop. I read a journal article titled The Origin of Life on Earth-Viruses and Microbes and attempted to combine visuals that conveyed connections and interpretations of information being presented. I would read until I though of something to add to the collage and would place the image in a spot that seemed like was tied to the other points being presented in the piece.

I would say this is a case of a good idea and poor execution. Creating a sort of brain map of what it is like to read a microbiology article seemed like a great visual but I had zero Photoshop skills before starting this project so the 5 hour minimum did not go a long way. Also I am not sure how Fair Use ties into a computer generated collage but I do not think it is plagiarism.

Microbiology conveyed:

Life on earth is hypothesized to have have originated in microbial form. The first life is thought to have arisen from a sort of primordial soup or a pool of inorganic and organic compounds that came together to form the precursors for life. There are arguments made of whether genetic material came around first or metabolic pathways arouse first. There is also an idea that life was planted on earth by a meteorite. The article I read on this focuses on the possibility of viruses being the first living thing on Earth. They support this by discussing various traits viruses can have and how these compounds could have assembled in these primordial pools.

Title: Far Too Long

A2: Microbes In The News-Antibiotic resistance and ROS treatment

Title: “Anti-evolvability drugs could slow antibiotic resistance in bacteria.”  

Depiction of E. coli response to low doses of antibiotics causing sub-populations with different responses to emerge. Credit: John P Pribis

Publisher: Cell Press

Link: <>.

Published: April 1st, 2019

Summary: Growing antibiotic resistance is a threat. Traditionally the focus is to develop new antibiotics. This article focuses on identifying a mechanism by which drug resistance forms and identify a drug that prevents the mechanism from developing antibiotic resistance. In this case researchers observed that low doses of ciprofloxacin (“DNA breaking” antibiotic) administered to E. coli caused a stress response in a fraction of the isolate population which resulted in high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Which in turn, induced error prone DNA repair. This particular stress response strategy relies on a sort of mutation gambling that results in the rapid evolution of new antibiotic resistance without risking the entire microbial population. ROS-reducing drugs exist and are approved by the FDA for other uses. Researchers exposed E. coli to low dose ciprofloxacin and ROS-reducing drug edaravone in tandem and successfully prevented the formation of new antibiotic resistance in their tested E. coli populations.

Connection: Class covered how antibiotics treat bacterial infection. Bacteria develop antibiotic resistance for a variety of reasons as discussed in lecture. Antibiotic resistance prevention we discussed fuocused mainly at prevention of resistance development. Mechanisms by which resistance forms were also discussed but this idea to inhibit resistance mechanism during antibiotic treatment is quite clever.

Critical analysis: ScienceDaily is a reputable and credible news source. This story directly cites the original journal article and states its content is edited for “style and length”. This sort of reporting is perfect for casual scientific reading. It makes reading easy unlike reading the original journal article while staying completely factual and referenced. The perfect middle ground between deciphering a scientific journal article and reading a very watered down interpretation of the article in a non specialty news publication.

Question: What other mechanisms do bacteria use to develop antibiotic resistance? How could the mechanism you thought of be disrupted?



Painting with Microbes Lukash Platil F03

Enterobacter Aerogenes and Esterichia Coli Meme Culture: A selective culture plate with a niche joke from a viral internet campaign.

The plate was smeared using a graffiti inspired font while held vertically to further the graffiti feel.

MacConkey agar is a selective and differential medium that classifies bacteria based on their ability to ferment lactose, tolerate bile salts and grow in the presence of crystal violet.

E. Aerogenes is a gram negative bacteria whose growth is not inhibited by bile salts or crystal violet. The dark pink color of E. Aerogenes growing on a MacConkey agar is a result of the bacteria’s ability to ferment lactose.

E. Coli is a gram negative, rod shaped bacterium, that is not inhibited by bile salts and is able to ferment lactose. Because of these traits it turned a light pink when in contact with crystal violet.

E. Coli grows more clear on a TSA agar plate then E. Aerogenes so I suspected there would also going to be a slight difference in colors on the Mac agar plate. It appears to be this way in this instance.

A2: Microbes in the News

Germs in Your Gut Are Talking to Your Brain. Scientists Want to Know What They’re Saying.

Jan. 29th, 2019 By Carl Zimmer


Summary: Over the last few years several studies have linked particular microbes in mice intestine to traits in brain health and behavior. Some of these correlations have also been observed in humans. Alzheimer’s in mice have been found to be linked to the amount of bacteria living in the mouse gut. By putting mice on antibiotics an observable decrease of protein formation in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s was seen and transplanting the bacteria back into the mice caused the protein build up to resume. The article also talks bout other neuro problems that could be caused by certain bacteria or a lack there of. Introducing microorganisms from a depressed human into a normal mouse caused it to give up sooner in a particular experiment.

Connection: Microorganisms can release particular compounds as a result of metabolism dependent on their species and the boime they are in. Some of the compounds produced by microorganisms can be toxic, so it could be possible for some of the microorganism’s byproducts to have other impacts on mammals. There are many examples of mammalian microbes being dependent on particular microorganisms.

Critical Analysis: The articles comes off as very credible and offers sources throughout. it does not seem unreasonable for the mammalian microbiome to have an impact on the brain. By extension the particular microbes living within a mammal could also have an impact on brain chemistry through the gut’s microbiome and its interplay with other systems.k

Question: What would be some creative ways to pinpoint which specific microbe is responsible for producing an affect on a mammalian brain?


A3: Rita R. Cowellia by L Platil


Colwellia psychrerythraea is a genus of deep sea, anaerobic bacteria that grows around -20C and is capable of producing its own cryoprotective polymers that keep it from freezing. The binomial suffix after Colwellia  designates a specific genus and is a part of the Colwelliaceae family. The bacteria’s prefix is named after Rita R. Colwell, an American microbiologist.

Rita R. Colwell studied bacteriology, genetics and oceanography at Prude and University of Washington. She served as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation. Most notable is her research on cholera, discovering its aptitude to dormancy. Colwell studied the impact of infectious diseases on an international scale as well as drinking water around the world and its impact on public health. Colwell founded CosmoID a bioinformatics company and sits as chairman of its board.