Art Project: Bacteriophage

by: Michael Carpenter and Ana Strachan

For our project, we decided to build a bacteriophage to help us study for the final exam. Using repurposed items (mostly) around our houses we constructed this large bacteriophage. A bacteriophage is a virus that infects bacteria. The structures which we depicted are the capsid which protects the nucleic acids seen inside of it which can be DNA or RNA. A collar helped to support the capsid. The tail which allows the nucleic acid to pass through during infection of a host. Attached to the baseplate at the bottom of the tail are the tail fibers have chemical receptors to help find and attach to a potential host. The baseplate contains components that forms a more permanent bond to the host. Once the bacteriophage is secured to the host the sheath around the tail contracts helping to break into the envelope.

A2: Microbes in the News 3

Cold Plasma can Kill 99.9% of Airborne Viruses

Science Daily

April 8, 2019

Summary: Non-thermal plasma such as sparks from electrical discharges has proved highly effective in killing viruses in the air in just seconds. This is achieved by forcing air through a space in which electric sparks are being made.

Connections: From the classroom we have learned how viruses in many ways are a unique “lifeform” requiring sometimes unique solutions to deal with.

Critical analysis: This article is fascinating from a medical technologies standpoint. Air transmission of viruses had always been a concern as it is uniquely difficult to stop. This has a variety of potential applications, but the primary area of interest is hospitals.

Question: Do you think that this can be practically implemented in hospitals and other medical facilities.

A2: Microbes in the News Post 2

Copycat fungus deceives immune system and deactivates body’s response to infection. Science Daily, March 28, 2019.

Summary: Cryptococcus neoformans,  a fungi that is very dangerous for immune compromised people is able to send out a signal to weaken immune response. This pathway in humans is intended to prevent an overreaction by the immune system by effectively deactivating immune cells.

Connections: We are currently covering the immune system and pathogens in class.

Critical Analysis: I was interested in this story because we are currently covering the immune system in class. The story was written by a sight that regularly covers news in the science world. It was able to effectively turn what was a far more technical research paper into something most people can understand.

Would it be possible for a drug to block this pathway to bolster the immune system?

Painting With Microbes: Michael Carpenter F02

I attempted to paint moonlight upon mountains for my art piece. Of my three plates only the TSA plate turned out. I used the Chromobacterium violaceum  for the dark color; it did not turn out as full as I had wanted. This medium is not differential and so I did not have to worry about color change or growth. Citrobacter freundii provided the lighter color which I was hoping would be closer to white.

A2: Microbes in the News

Antibiotics vital for fighting drug resistant superbugs drastically overused in many countries, WHO report warns

November 12, 2018  


Researchers have found that many of the last line of defense antibiotics are being frequently prescribed in developing countries. In developed countries these drugs account for a small percentage of prescriptions and are usually not available for animals. However some reports indicate that last line drugs may account for upwards of half of all prescriptions, and they are often prescribed for things that they do not even treat such as viruses.


We have discussed in class about pandemics; we have also touched on resistance and evolution of microbes. We have discussed how microbes rule the world, a fact which may soon become very apparent if the liberal use of last line drugs continue.

Critical analysis:

I found this article interesting as I have always heard of how a “superbug’ would one day surface. I knew that the use of older antibiotics was widespread however I was not aware of the abuse of last line drugs.


New drugs will likely be needed in the near future to combat drug resistant bacteria. What avenues of treatment are not fully exploited by current drugs that could help in the future?

Henri George Derx

The genus derxia first described in 1960 by H. L. Jenson. Derxia Gummosa are gram-negative bacteria found in tropical soils. It was named in honor of Dutch microbiologist Henri George Derx born in 1894. He was an industrial chemist who researched microbiology and botany. He would during the Second World War be imprisoned in a concentration camp during part of 1943 and 1944. He would go on to contribute to a number of areas including the discovery of a new genus of sporobolomycetaceae which he named Itersonilia perplexans. He also contributed to the discovery diacetyl the flavoring agent of butter.

Olive, L. (1952). Studies on the Morphology and Cytology of Itersonilia perplexans Derx on JSTOR. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2019]. (n.d.). Derxia gummosa. [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2019].

Barnett, J. and Robinow, C. (2002). A history of research on yeasts 4: cytology part I, 1890-1950. Yeast, [online] 19(2), pp.151-182. Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2019].

Farber, E. (1961). Albert Jan Kluyver His life and work. Interscience, [online] 133(3452), p.574. Available at: [Accessed 29 Jan. 2019].