T-bacteriophages on E.coli.
Coloured Transmission Electron Micrograph (TEM) of T-bacteriophage viruses attacking a bacterial cell of Escherichia coli. Seven virus particles are seen (blue), each with a head and a tail. Four of these are “sitting” on the brown bacterial cell and small blue “tails” of genetic material (DNA) are seen being injected into the bacterium. T-bacterio- phages are parasites of bacterial cells. The virus attaches itself to the cell’s wall and, using it’s tail as a syringe, injects it’s own DNA into the bacterium. The virus DNA then takes over the bacterial cell, forcing it to produce more viruses. Magnification: x63,000 at 5x7cm size.
Bacteria are indeed single-celled organisms. However, they often times coexist within highly organized groups generally termed ‘biofilms’. The structure of a biofilm depends largely on its composition. For example, the types of bacteria present and their relative abundance, amount and forms of abiotic material, and local microenvironment all contribute to the final biofilm make up. Above are confocal microscopy images produced by the Haseloff lab at the University of Cambridge that depict biofilms of bacteria expressing different fluorescent proteins based on their particular cellular lineage. We encounter bacterial biofilms everyday, in fact, the human body is covered in them!
We grow biofilms on our teeth every night!
DID YOU KNOW…
The World Health Organization estimates that 1/3 of the world’s population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, one strain of bacteria that causes the disease Tuberculosis? ONE THIRD! That’s around 2 billion people! That’s crazy!
However, in healthy individuals with strong immune systems the body does a good job combating the bacteria, so the bacteria never reproduces or becomes contagious. You never show symptoms either. Only about 5-10% of people with healthy immune systems develop symptoms.
It’s when your immune system collapses that you become vulnerable (such as when you contract HIV).
Wee (Me) Beasties
This is inside you, right now. You’re looking at a (false-colored, unfortunately) electron microscope image of a colonucopia of gut bacteria. From the common species like E. coli to the still-to-be-discovered, your biology depends a lot on what you’re made of that isn’t exactly you.
In addition to, you know, digesting your food, these little guys can turn your immune system against you and even influence your mood. If you want to dig deeper inside your intestinal tract, there’s a fantastic Radiolab episode called “Guts” you should check out.
Check out more amazing images of the unseen microbial world as as tiny art at National Geographic’s Microbes: Small, Small World gallery.
(tip of the electron microscope probe to Science-Based Life)
X-rays Pinpoint Drug Target for Stomach Ulcers
Experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have revealed a potential new way to attack common stomach bacteria that cause ulcers and significantly increase the odds of developing stomach cancer.
The breakthrough, made using powerful X-rays from SLAC’s Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), was the culmination of five years of research into the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which is so tough it can live in strong stomach acid. At least half the world’s population carries H. pylori and hundreds of millions suffer health problems as a result; current treatments require a complicated regimen of stomach-acid inhibitors and antibiotics.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/12/x-rays-pinpoint-drug-target-stomach-ulcers
Symbiogenesis is the merging of two separate organisms to form a single new organism. The idea originated with Konstantin Mereschkowsky in his 1926 book Symbiogenesis and the Origin of Species, which proposed that chloroplasts originate from cyanobacteria captured by a protozoan.
Ivan Wallin also supported this concept in his book “Symbionticism and the Origins of Species”. He suggested that bacteria might be the cause of the origin of species, and that species creation may occur through endosymbiosis. Today both chloroplasts and mitochondria are believed, by those who ascribe to the endosymbiotic theory, to have such an origin.
the general believed hypothesis is that mitochondria and chloroplasts are both derived from ancient alpha proteo-like bacteria, which were engulfed by the nascent ancestral eukaryotic cell, and became inseparable from each other due to mutual benefit. mitochondria an organelle of all eukaryotic cells, and chloroplasts being an organelle specific for plants, and some algae (outlier groups).