- Definition: Large domain of microorganisms
- Types: Anywhere between 10 million and 1 billion different types
- Good bacteria: Main types of good bacteria are lactobacillus, bifidobacterium and bacillus coagulants
- Bad bacteria: Main types are clostridia, streptococci and staphylococci.
- Characterised by: How they grow and multiply on the skin, the earth and in the air
- Shapes: Rod shaped, round or spiral
- Reproduces: They reproduce asexually by a process called binary fission
- Classifications: 30 different types of classification
- Synonyms: Eubacteria
- Etymology: Bacterium from Latin
- Health: Scientists Have Used Bacteria from Cows to Treat Bladder Cancer
- Environment: Kangaroo Bacteria Might Hold the Key to Stopping Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Health: Where We Live Can Determine Whether We Need Deodorant or Not
- Science: 5ml of Botulism Bacteria Would be Enough to Kill Everyone in the USA
- History: Alexander Fleming Warned us About Resistance to Antibiotics in the 1920s
- History: In the US Civil War, Soldiers Developed Glow in the Dark Bacteria on Their Bodies!
- Science: Deinococcus radiodurans Is the World’s Most Resistant Bacteria
- History: In 1950 the US Navy Undertook a Mission Involving Bacteria That Made Many Civilians Ill
- Science: Scientists Have Found 8-Million-Year-Old Bacteria in Ice
- Food: Unwashed Eggs Are Safer than Washed Eggs
- There can be up to 1,500 different species of Bacteria in your navel
- Using a hand-dryer can increase Bacteria on your skin by 255%!
- One of your favourite past-times listening to music can create Bacteria!
- In the future Bacteria may be able to clean up serious oil spills
- Healthy dried fruit like raisins cause more Bacteria on our Teeth than chocolate
Scientists Have Used Bacteria from Cows to Treat Bladder Cancer
The first of our bacteria facts tells us about how scientists have successfully used bacteria from cows to treat people suffering from bladder cancer. Cattle who suffer from bovine tuberculosis have samples taken from them, which are then cultured and weakened in a laboratory. The resultant bacteria is then injected into the urethra of people who have bladder cancer. This treatment has shown itself to be very effective and has even outperformed chemotherapy in terms of its ability to manage the disease.
Kangaroo Bacteria Might Hold the Key to Stopping Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Kangaroos don’t break wind! In fact they don’t produce any methane at all in their stomachs. Scientists are intrigued by this and are now trying to harvest the bacteria they have in their colons to see if there is anything in there that could potentially help with reducing greenhouse gases. The worst offenders for producing methane in the animal world are cows – and researchers are hopeful that whatever they discover in the tummies of kangaroos can somehow be transferred into cows to reduce the emissions they produce.
Where We Live Can Determine Whether We Need Deodorant or Not
If you live in the Far East, particularly in East Asia, you may have a particular gene mutation called ABCC11 which will mean that you do not sweat, or produce sweat that attracts bacteria. Therefore you won’t suffer from body odour and won’t need to use deodorant. Other people across the world have this gene too, but it is most prevalent in East Asia.
5ml of Botulism Bacteria Would be Enough to Kill Everyone in the USA
This is a scary one of our bacteria facts. The botulinum bacteria is a particularly lethal strain of bacteria which is responsible for causing many illnesses, including food poisoning. It takes very little to cause symptoms, and scientists think that 5ml of this toxin, in its most potent and virulent form, would be enough to kill every single person in the USA. 5ml roughly equates to one teaspoon. The next time you are stirring sugar into your tea or coffee, think about how little that is!
Alexander Fleming Warned us About Resistance to Antibiotics in the 1920s
Many doctors and healthcare professionals have been warning us for years now about over use of antibiotics to treat conditions that would be better left alone. The misuse of these drugs leads to the creation of bacteria which become resistant to treatment. We call them superbugs, and cases of them are on the increase. However, the man who discovered penicillin, Alexander Fleming, had warned that we should expect this in the future, when he was writing in the 1920s. His extraordinary forethought seems to have come true.
In the US Civil War, Soldiers Developed Glow in the Dark Bacteria on Their Bodies!
The next of our fascinating bacteria facts tells us about a phenomenon that occurred during the US Civil War. Troops who fought in the Battle of Shiloh in 1862, and who were wounded, lay in trenches and on the fields, with their wounds open and festering. Naturally, these wounds were a breeding ground for bacteria. It was noted that as night fell, some of the soldiers’ wounds were literally glowing in the dark, and that those who displayed this strange phenomenon had a higher survival rate than those who didn’t. It was discovered, 160 years later, that these soldiers had been “colonised” by a particular form of bacteria called P. luminescens, which burrowed into their wounds from the cold, damp soil. There, these bacteria puked into the skin, offering the strange glow that people saw. It was the vomit from these bacteria that killed off the festering wounds.
Deinococcus Radiodurans Is the World’s Most Resistant Bacteria
This particularly potent form of bacteria is known, jokingly, among the scientific world, as Conan the Bacterium because of how resistant it is to everything. Deinococcus radiodurans can survive cold, heat, acid and vacuuming, without damage. It is so strong that it can even repair its own DNA. It is typically used in nuclear settings and can be used to detoxify nuclear waste.
In 1950 the US Navy Undertook a Mission Involving Bacteria That Made Many Civilians Ill
Operation Seaspray took place during the 1950s in San Francisco. The US Navy took balloons and filled them with various pathogens. These were then released and burst into the air over the city. A short while after this occurred, doctors in the city reported that there was a sharp increase in the number of people reporting to them with pneumonia and urinary infections.
The experiment was set up to see how, if the USA underwent a biological attack with nuclear weapons, the wind would carry the released particles, and how they might possibly affect people’s health.
Scientists Have Found 8-Million-Year-Old Bacteria in Ice
This ice was found in a glacier in Antarctica about 16 feet below ground in 2007. Scientists isolated and resuscitated some of the bacteria and organisms in it, and found they were up to 8 million years old. Some of these are now being grown in laboratories, but would cause little to no harm to humans now. When ice melts because of global warming, these bacterial colonies will come back to life, so scientists are keen to find out what they are and how they will develop.
Unwashed Eggs Are Safer than Washed Eggs
This next of our bacteria facts may surprise you, given the fact we know where eggs come from! It’s actually safer to store eggs in your fridge and on your counter top unwashed and as natural as possible. The shell and any detritus provide a protective bloom. In some countries they are washed to improve appearance, but this actually encourages them to develop bacteria. Unwashed eggs – so long as they are stored properly and cooked thoroughly – are less likely to contain bacteria.
There Can Be Up to 1,500 Different Species of Bacteria in Your Navel
This is one of our particularly gross bacteria facts, but it’s true. Back in 2012, scientists found that random samples they tested from people’s belly buttons contained as many as 1,500 different species of bacteria. Just like we have a fingerprint which is unique to us, we have unique ecology in our navels too. One particular sample that was analysed from a human belly button had bacteria that had only ever been found in a particular type of soil in Japan. The person they had taken this sample from had never been there!
Using a Hand-dryer Can Increase Bacteria on Your Skin by 255%!
The next of our interesting bacteria facts tells us a little about hand washing – and the best way to dry your hands. You might choose to opt for a hand dryer, if you’re out and about and using a public toilet, but think again. Drying your hands with a clean paper towel will reduce the amount of bacteria on your hands by 45-60%. However, if you use a hand dryer, you are likely to increase the amount of bacteria on your hands by as much as 255%! The reason for this is because the hot air will blow out bacteria that have thrived in the environment of the machine and in the rest room itself.
One of Your Favourite Past-times – Listening to Music – Can Create Bacteria!
Strange but true: you might not think about this, but every time you put your headphones on to listen to your favourite tunes, you’re exposing yourself to millions of bacteria that mutate. Listening to music through earphones or headphones for just one hour a day can multiply the amount of bacteria in your ears 700 times over!
In the Future Bacteria May be Able to Clean Up Serious Oil Spills
Over the last few years we have seen some terrible and destructive oil spills – one of the worst in memory was the spill caused by BP in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The damage to plant and marine life is incalculable. Scientists in the USA are working on developing strains of bacteria that want to eat oil. In the future, if such disasters occur again, they can release colonies of these organisms into the water and earth, destroying the oil without detriment to the environment.
Healthy Dried Fruits Like Raisins Cause More Bacteria on Our Teeth than Chocolate
The last of our interesting bacteria facts tells us a really shocking fact about our diet. While we know we should all be eating healthy foods like dried fruits (raisins, sultanas and so on) scientists believe that they can actually cause more bacteria to develop on the teeth and in the mouth. This is because of the natural sugars they contain and the length of time they coat the teeth and inside of the mouth for. Although chocolate is worse for our health, in theory it is better for our teeth as it does not stay on them for long enough when we eat it!
Bacteria Facts – Facts about Bacteria Summary
Facts about bacteria tell us how scientists are using bacteria from the tummies of kangaroos to try and help solve the greenhouse gas problem we have. They also tell us how little bacteria it can take to kill an entire nation of people. We also learn that bacteria up to 8 million years old are being grown in a laboratory to tell us about the past. Using a hand dryer can actually increase the amount of bacteria on our hands and, finally, bacteria might hold the key to cleaning up environmental disasters such as oil spills.