Plankton Found on the Exterior of the International Space Station!
While examining samples taken from the exterior surface of the ISS, scientists discovered something completely unexpected - Marine Plankton living on the surface, despite the harsh condition (Vacuum, temperature, and radiation.)
There was evidence that the plankton had been living there for years, and possibly even developing, too.
This gives more plausibility to the panspermia theory - that life all over the solar system/galaxy/universe is all related thanks to bacteria catching rides on asteroids and comets. We already know it is possible for rocks to be thrown away from a planet by something like an asteroid impact or large volcanic eruption - some meteorites have had their lineage traced back to mars.
So do you believe the panspermia theory to be plausible? what about alien life in general?
Your daily dose of Myoviridae TEM images:
Here’s a nice picture of some Myoviridae phage which infect Salmonella. Generally in the phage world, there are three more common families although others have been found:
- Siphoviridae with long flexible tails. (P2 above)
- Myoviridae with long contractile tails (T4 above)
- Podoviridae with short non-contractile tails. (P22 above)
Phage are first classified based on their morphologies, but bioinformatic information shows the relationships between the families. Typically families of phage are grouped on their appearance as a large amount of the phage genome goes into making the structural proteins.
Myoviridae are quite interesting in the sense that when they bind their host, there are large visible structural changes in the tail region. The tail sheath contracts and the DNA is transported from the head into the bacterium. Other less visible mechanisms are present in the other two morphology types too.
Bobtail squids and their bacterial partners:
This American group currently need your help. As shown in the video, they need money for lab supplies to carry out their current research interests on the bobtail squid. They want understand the symbiosis between the bobtail squid’s immune system and its relationship with the bio-luminescent bacteria that live within the squid itself.
They aren’t asking for much, but if you could help and share this around, i’m sure the team would be very grateful. Their crowd-sourcing page can be found here, so go check it out.
BBSRC-funded scientists are breaking down bacterial communities
These images by Dr Nicola Stanley-Wall, Dr Laura Hobley and Ms Rachel Gillespie from the University of Dundee show complex social communities of bacteria, known as biofilms.
Bacteria are single-celled organisms but they have the amazing capability to form these altruistic communities. Familiar examples of biofilms include dental plaque on your teeth and the slime that forms down your plug hole.
Biofilms made by a bacterium called Bacillus subtilis are waterproof because the cells make a ‘raincoat’ to protect themselves. You can see how effective this raincoat is by looking at the coloured water droplets that were placed on the biofilm pictured above.
When living in a biofilm community, bacteria are more resistant to antibiotics and are harder to remove from surfaces.
If we can understand what makes bacteria form a biofilm we can use this information to develop new ways to treat the chronic biofilm related infections that form on surgical implants, inside catheters, or in the lungs of people with Cystic Fibrosis.
Find out more about what this team is up to at BBSRC’s Great British Bioscience Festival in November: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/society/exhibitions/gb-bioscience-festival/biofilms-building-bacterial-cities.aspx
Congratulations to all the pre-registration pharmacists that passed your exam this year!
Hopefully I can follow suit….
Butterfly eggs on a raspberry plant
A micro-crack in steel
Needle and thread
E.coli bacteria on lettuce
Beard hairs under a scanning electron microscope: cut with razor (left) and electric shaver (right)
A moth wing
Leaf of a Virginia spiderwort
Not more C.perfringens!
Take these plates as a lesson to you for not leaving bacteria with incredibly fast doubling times in the anaerobic chamber over the weekend. Although these look similar to the other images, you can clearly see the massive overgrowth around the areas I’ve streaked out.
Well anyways, I digress. So my exploration of these bacteria is getting more in depth. Right now I’m currently trying to isolate the phages of these little things and hopefully I am able to do that as it will be really cool to start discovering some of the ecology of these guys.
I’ll hopefully try and post some more interesting photos as soon as possible - but if any of you have any questions about science research or bacteria feel free to ask!