1. The ink of these tattoos is teeming with #AwesomeMicrobes!🖋🦠 Meet the first ‘living’ tattoos 👇
Bacteria are so versatile that they can do almost everything… even turning into tattoos! Researchers have developed a ‘biologic’ ink made of bacteria and hydrogel and have used a 3D printer to draw branch-like tattoo patches in human skin. Moreover, the bacteria were previously engineered to respond to different chemical stimuli by releasing a coloured substance. When the patch was tested on a human hand, the bacteria coloured the tattoo branches according to the chemicals they sensed. Who knows if in the future we will be able to decorate our skin with these tiny bugs!
2. Sweet and milked 🍪 Dark and rich in cocoa 🍫 No matter what your taste is, some of the nuance-rich flavours of chocolate are thanks to #bacteria! 🦠
Before turning into a delicious chocolate bar, cocoa beans have to follow a long journey. These fruits must be harvested, dried under the sun, fermented and roasted before they are ready to be used to make chocolate. Microorganisms have a lot to say in the fermentation step! When the cocoa beans are left to dry, yeasts and bacteria start feeding on the nutrients of the cocoa fruit and, in the process, they release different substances that influence the taste of the future chocolate. Now, this study has demonstrated that changing the environmental conditions in which the fermentation happens, alters the substances found in cocoa beans. This may allow to predict the final taste of chocolate according to how the cocoa was processed! To the publication >
3. They are tiny but they can even influence weather! 🌦 Airbourne sea #bacteria may be growing clouds in the sky! 🦠☁ Discover more here! 👇Some ocean bacteria feed on photosynthetic algae that commonly occur in the sea. Nevertheless, these marine microorganisms can end up dwelling in a very different habitat: the sky. This research suggests that Arctic Ocean currents and weather systems can produce water turmoils that spray bacteria into the sky. Moreover, these airborne bacteria they can become the ‘seeds’ for newborn rain clouds, as they assist the formation of ice crystals. Researchers took air and water samples from a blooming algae and from a spot 250 kilometers away, very close to the Arctic Ocean, and they found the same cloud-seeder bacteria in both samples. These results may indicate that bacteria are influencing the weather of the polar regions! To the publication>
4. Too much salt can hinder the growing of some plants 🌳🧂 For some #bacteria, this isn’t a big deal! 🦠 What could happen if we put these #AmazingMicrobes in the roots of these plants? 👇
Salty soils are becoming an obstacle that hinders the use of many farmlands, as crop plants can’t grow in this harsh environment. Bacteria can bring some hope to this matter! Microorganisms living in the roots of salt-tolerant plants, called halophytes, have a lot to do with this ability. Researchers grinded up the roots of a halophyte to isolate these microbes and applied them to alfalfa seeds. When they were put in a growth medium with a high salt content, the seeds were able to sprout and grow normally! Two bacteria genera, Halomonas and Bacillus, are thought to be particularly responsible for the salt-tolerance effect. These microbes may help to improve the harvests worldwide in the future! To the publication>
5. What do plastics and magnets have in common? 🧲♻ A lot in this #Synbio application from @iGEMAachen: Magnetic #bacteria to remove microplastics from water is the bold bet of this team for this year’s #iGEM competition! 👇
Plastic pollution is becoming an urgent problem worldwide, as most of this material is accumulating in the oceans. In addition, some plastic particles, called nanoplastics, are smaller than 1µm and can end up inside marine fauna and eventually into the human body. Now, the Aachen team of iGEM 2019 may have found a way to remove these pollutants from the water… and it involves magnetic bacteria! These microbes can produce magnetic particles within themselves called magnetosomes. The team attached to them a protein complex able to bind certain polymers: thus, the nanoplastics can be removed from the water just by applying a magnetic field. This strategy may shake up the way these pollutants are eliminated from the ocean in the future! To the publication>
6. #Microbes at the service of her Majesty! 🕵️♀️These #bacteria use their abilities to fulfill their mission… but are both of them real? 💡👣 You can vote now in our #SynBio test! 👇
And the answer is… A! Researchers from Tufts University in Medford Massachusetts developed a method to create messages using seven strains of Escherichia coli bacteria. Each one was engineered to produce a fluorescent protein with a specific colour. The bacteria were grown in the plate forming rows of paired areas: every mix of two colours represented a particular letter, digit or sign. For example, 2 yellow areas symbolize a ‘T’, whereas an orange and a green area represent a ‘D’. This project shows that bacteria may be useful to cipher messages without using any electronic technology!
7. A molecule to kill them all 💊 This new peptide can wipe out dangerous multi-resistant #bacteria 🦠 Read more here! 👇
Antibiotic resistance is a growing global threat, as some bacteria are becoming immune to almost all available drugs. Acinetobacter baumannii tops the World Health Organization’s list of threats, as it is very prone to developing antibiotic resistance and it is responsible for most of the infections in hospitals. Now, researchers have designed an antimicrobial peptide (AMP) that can kill this bug. This kind of drugs act by punching actual holes in the bacterial cell membrane, so it is more difficult for microbes to develop resistance to them. Results like this show that AMPs may be the next generation weapon in the fight against multi-resistant microbes! To the publication>
8. Look up to the sky at night🌃 How many tiny sparkly points can you see? 🌟 Millions? Well, inside our gut #bacteria, the number of genes is even higher! 🧬
Space is astonishingly vast: astronomers suggest that there are about one thousand trillion stars in the observable universe. Probably, if you think too much about this number, you may start to feel dazed, but the magnitude of this figure may be paled into insignificance by one we can find inside us. It is estimated that trillions of bacteria live in our body. In this new study, researchers analyzed up to 3,500 human microbiome samples and found nearly 46 million unique genes! From this discovery, scientists estimate that human microorganisms may hold more genes than stars in the observable universe. Projects like this one show how complex and varied our microbiome can be! To the publication>
9. This month’s #AgarArt challenge is a tribute to one of the most iconic artists of the past century 🎨 Let’s picture Frida Kahlo using #bacteria and remember to show us your results! 🦠🖌
Her piercing gaze and the flowers decorating her hair are well known worldwide. In the Agar Art of September we paid tribute to one of the most influencing artists of the 20th century. Frida Kahlo said she wanted to paint flowers so they didn’t die, and we couldn’t think of a better way to make her heritage immortal than turning her into a piece of art using bacteria!
10. Wool 🐑 A knitting needle 🧵… and #microbe inspiration! 🦠💭 Take a look at this impressive piece of microbial art by @ELINtm! 👀
From the distance, it may seem like a Petri dish teeming with many different microorganisms. If we take a closer look though, we may be surprised. This realistic microbe-brimming agar plate is completely made of wool! Artist Elin Thomas uses authentic petri dishes as a canvas to craft individual growths using crochet and embroidery techniques. As you can see, the result is so accurate that they may pass for a real microorganism cultures. This kind of project show that science and art are closer than they may seem! To the publication>