Bacterial Space Menace

I decided to call my art project the Bacterial Space Invader. It’s a model of a T4 bacteriophage, a common bacterial virus. Bacteriophages have always been some of my favorite micro organisms. They have a futuristic look and appeal to them. It takes no stretch of the imagination to picture a UFO similar to the T4 phage to descend into our skies and release a race of mind controlling aliens who lead us to our own demise; much as the bacteriophage takes control of a cell. The Bacteriophage uses its tails fibers to attach to the surface of the bacteria, then drives the tail through the cell wall. The DNA stored in the head of the virus is injected into the bacteria where it will be inserted into the bacterial chromosome and follow either the lytic or lysogenic life cycle. The materials used were styrofoam balls, toothpicks, pipe cleaners and foam.

Microbe Painting Project

The top picture of a horse is actually a picture of my dog. The EMB agar turned black under the fermenting bacteria to match lola’s fur. The Macconkey plate was intended to be a smiley face. The bacteria was too effective and lowered the Ph and turned the agar white. The final picture was supposed to be a sunset but the bacteria didn’t grow red as I expected

Why Dragon fly Wings Kill Bacteria

American Council on Science and Health : 2/06/2017

Summary: This article looks at the reasons why dragonfly wings are so good at killing microbes. The study has brought into question why micro pili are effective against bacteria. Previous thinking was that it acted like a bed of nails of equal height and the membrane was punctured on the nails. New research shows that pili heights are non consistent and that their membranes are actually torn open by their own extracellular proteins  getting caught and tearing the membrane.  The researchers hope to apply this knowledge to create more efficient antimicrobial surfaces.

Connections: This relates to our discussion of biofilms. this technology demonstrates a way of inhibiting biofilms from forming by taking advantage of their own tendencies and extracellular structure.

Analysis: i find the story very interesting. The implications of creating a surface immune to biofilms that can be created relatively cheaply with 3d printing could revolutionize any number of fields. The study does need to use with a variety of bacteria still to prove its effectiveness but the work done with E. coli seems to very well done with a control and repeated examples of the tearing:

Question: Would this have the same effect on eukaryotic cells or would the increased scale counteract the effect of the micropili