Third Microbes in the News

Article and link: A Blazing Hot Coal Shows How Microbes Can Spring to Life   Source: Wired 04/21/19   Link:

Summary: In Centralia many single-celled microbes live in the soil that is on top of the underground mine fire in the coal seam. Due to the fire it was initially thought nothing may have lived, but instead there are many microbes. The same amount of microbes have been found to be living in very hot areas including various thermophiles that microbes that live at geothermal hot springs.

Connections: In class we have briefly studied thermophiles which are heat loving bacteria. We have also looked at the various species of microbes that live in soil, and I find it interesting how natural disasters can affect what microbes are in the soil. We studied factors that can cause microbes to go dormant, which is what can happen during a fire since there is no activity on the soil.

Critical analysis: I thought this article was interesting because it involves microbe activity when a natural disaster occurs and using spores to regrow genomes. The article was well written and contained a large amount of detailed scientific information. It could be rather difficult for the general public to read the article and understand it all though, because of all the technical terms it contains.

Question: What organisms do you think would be likely to live through a fire or other extreme natural disaster? Would they become dormant?



Assignment 2 Microbes in The News

How a Fungus can Cripple your Immune System

February 8, 2019

Source: Science Daily:  Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena


In this article the scientists conduct a study about how the fungus  Aspergillus fumigatus  is able to turn off an enzyme that is used by immune cells to communicate between each other. Healthy individuals are not very affected by the fungus, but it is dangerous to individuals who are immune difficient, such as individuals who suffer from AIDs.


This does connect to when we were explaining what makes a microorganism. We discussed that fungi are covered under microorganisms, but we haven’t touched on fungus too much. This is a special adaptation specific to this type of microorganisms.

Critical Analysis:

I found this article very interesting in the fact that we often tell people that breathing in a certain fungus can “take years off your life’ and this fungus actually can. I learned to the extent that fungus can actually do this, I think people often assume that the air they breathe is healthy as long as it looks and smells pure, but this fungus has spores that can float through the air and be completely undetectable. I did not realize how potentially dangerous fungi can be, and it kind of opens your eyes to how vigilant people who have immune difficiencies have to be about their health.


How can we protect people who have immune defficiencies from these type of problems?




A2: Deadly Food Poisoning

Article and Link:

“Student, 20, died in his sleep from food poisoning bug after eating pasta that he’d left out on a worktop for five days’


A college student ate noodles with pasta sauce he had reheated after leaving out for 5 days.   Within 30 minutes he came down with a headache nausea, and stomach cramps.   He began vomiting and having diarrhea.   Thinking he had a case of food poisoning, he went to bed to sleep it off and was found dead in his bed 11 hours later.  Upon investigation it was found he died from Bacillus cereus, which is a spore forming bacteria that produces toxins that causes vomiting and diarrhea.   The autopsy showed that the concentration of B. cereus was so high it caused his liver to shut down.   Samples of the food were analyzed, results determined significant contamination within the pasta, no traces within the sauce.


As we just talked about spores in class, how easy they are to spread and how deadly they can be I found this article fitting.   Having talked about weaponizing spores, this article shows how contaminated food can have deadly effects.   As we were recently talking about generation times, I did some research and found it only takes 26 minutes for B. cereus to double and 8.6 hours do multiply by 1,000,000!   Which sheds light on why the boy died after leaving the food out for 5 days.

Critical Analysis:

I found this article interesting in that it went with a topic we just talk about.   The testing was completed by a medical examiner and scientists, so I believe the results are accurate.   This was written as a news article, they used easy to understand language making it readable for people not in the science community


Could a test stick could be created and marketed that could test for common microbes that cause food poisoning that people could use at home or in restaurants?