Questions & An­swers

iD magazine - - Contents -

Mar­vels that can change our per­cep­tion of the world

Micro­organ­isms are in the air, on our food, and even in our bod­ies. With­out them we could not even breathe or eat. Bil­lions of mi­crobes live on as well as inside our bod­ies, en­abling and reg­u­lat­ing our ex­is­tence. For every one of our own cells in the body, there may be up to 10 uni­cel­lu­lar or­gan­isms. One- third of all the meta­bolic prod­ucts found in our blood come from bac­te­ria rather than from our own cells. Some re­searchers even think that a hu­man isn’t an in­de­pen­dent crea­ture, but rather a mix­ture of dif­fer­ent or­gan­isms— a so-called holo­biont. “We are noth­ing more than a bac­te­rial colony on two legs,” says Jeroen Raes of the Flem­ish In­sti­tute for Biotech­nol­ogy in Bel­gium. In just 1 mil­li­liter of in­testi­nal con­tents, there may be up to 1 tril­lion bac­te­ria. The var­i­ous in­testi­nal bac­te­ria ful­fill an es­ti­mated 15,000 func­tions, in­clud­ing killing germs, pro­duc­ing vi­ta­mins, and strength­en­ing the im­mune sys­tem.

HOW DO YOU CUL­TI­VATE BAC­TE­RIA? This photo shows the hand­print of an 8-year-old boy. The petri dish had been stored at 98.6°F for 48 hours, fol­lowed by three more days of be­ing stored at room tem­per­a­ture (72°F). The re­sult? Around 4,700 types of bac­te­ria f

DO BAC­TE­RIA MA­NIP­U­LATE OUR BRAIN? Some types of bac­te­ria can even pre­cip­i­tate men­tal ill­nesses such as de­pres­sion or autism. They do this by pro­duc­ing spe­cial neu­ro­trans­mit­ters or in­ca­pac­i­tat­ing en­tire brain re­gions that are re­spon­si­ble for pro­cess­ing emo

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.