A2: Microbes in the News – Amoeba can help kill bacteria protected by biofilm

Article:  Study finds amoeba “grazing,’ killing bacteria usually protected by film (April 17, 2017)

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Study finds amoeba “grazing,” killing bacteria usually protected by film


An Amoeba species called Dictyostelids  is capable of penetrating biofilm in order to eat the bacteria within. Bacteria tested were  Pseudomonas aeruginos,  Pseudomonas syringae,  Klebsiella oxytoca and  Erwinia amylovora.  All these bacteria are capable of creating biofilms and were harmful to humans or plants. This also opens up further studies of methods of killing bacteria without resorting to antibiotics, which the bacteria may grow resistances to.

We’ve learned about how certain microbes can create biofilms to protect and help with survival. This article is about how we can get around that. Also my isolate happened to be a bacteria capable of creating biofilms (S.epidermidis)

Critical Analysis:

Most of the article was regarding the scientists’ steps in finding out about this amoeba rather than the actual science behind it. However, it did use many quotes by the scientists so it did give assurances on the accuracy of the report.


What is the molecular mechanism of how the amoeba can “eat” biofilm?

Will using amoeba to kill bacteria be safe for humans/plants in vivo?


“Grazing” Amoeba Killing Biofilm-Protected Bacteria

Date Published: April 18, 2017
Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170418120831.htm
Author: David Tenenbaum

A research study finds that a particular group of amoeba called the dictyostelids are capable of penetrating biofilms in order to eat the microbes underneath. The researchers observed how these organisms deconstructed the biofilms of certain pathogenic bacteria. In the article they also mused about how they can utilize these findings to advance medical science.

This article talked about biofilm and how these amoeba group are able to get through these protective mesh made by bacteria.

Critical Analysis:
This article had ideas that really resonated with me, especially the part where they talked about figuring out how these amoeba species are deconstructing the biofilms of these bacteria, and how we could use that for our own bodies as some sort of pathogenic microbe hunter. If we could find out what kind of processes penetrate biofilms, then we can target pathogenic bacteria in our bodies and safely remove it in our system. But then again, that’s the best case scenario.

Would it be risky for us to mimic how this particular amoeba group approach bacteria and use it in our bodies as some sort of an immune function? What would be the worst case scenario? Would it also affect the good bacteria that helps us live a healthy daily life?