In Praise of Bacteria: New Scientific Breakthroughs Find Unexpected Ally

250px-EscherichiaColi_NIAIDI was struck this week with two remarkable breakthroughs in the use of bacteria. While once the scourge of parents and doctors, the simple bacteria is being enlisted as an ally in new scientific work. Researchers in New York have discovered a way to use radioactive bacteria to kill cancer, using bacteria as a uniquely effective vehicle to find and attack cancer cells. In the meantime, a team from the University of Exeter has discovered a way to use bacteria to make bio-diesel.

The bacteria fuel is reportedly carbon neutral biofuel and could eventually be made in sufficient commercial volume to dramatically slash greenhouse gas emissions. Shell is funding the research using special strains of E. coli bacteria — the culprit in so many health emergencies in the food supply.

Working with a mouse model of pancreatic cancer, researchers found that bacteria can deliver deadly radiation to tumors. This could be truly revolutionary since fewer than one in 25 people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are alive five years later. The research findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and built on the work of Ekaterina Dadachova of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York who thought of combining two ways to fight cancer. This research uses the bacteria Listeria, which also has killed many as a foodborne bacteria.

It will take time but we can change. Heck, last season I found myself rooting for the Packers in a game against the Vikings to allow the Bears into the playoffs. If I can do that, I can embrace bacteria as a friend.

33 thoughts on “In Praise of Bacteria: New Scientific Breakthroughs Find Unexpected Ally”

  1. This pro-biotic vs anti-biotic strife is tearing our country apart !

    Can’t we just get along?

  2. The bacterial enemy of my bacterial enemy is my friend.

    Do not confuse enemy with enema, More important do not confuse enema with friend.

  3. RWL, do not use soy unless it is organic. Over 90% of the soy on the market is genetically modified to either produce pesticides (Bt), or resist RoundUp.
    The RoundUp residues are now known to cause havoc with soil bacteria. This product was touted for decades as “biodegradable” but now we know it is NOT. There is no reason to think it does not damage gut bacteria when it kills bacteria in soils.
    RoundUp is showing up in urine samples of urban dwellers, so we know it is from food, not farms.

    Otherwise you are doing great damage to your beneficial bacteria in your digestive system. Soy GMOs are associated with the use of RoundUp.

    Try hemp, almond, coconut or rice milk instead for your health.

    Or buy organic soy, but the way the soy market is now, pollen drift et al, I would not even trust that to be GMO free.

  4. RWL,

    That’s the one exit no waiting strategy. 😀 I mainly take the supplements for the immunological benefits, but they have helped make indigestion a much less frequent visitor in my house.

    1. Gene H.,

      LOL! LOL! I was informed by my doctor to eat a bowl of raisin bran 2x a week (to help with other external issues: is that TMI?) The soymilk is supposed to help with my high blood pressure & it’s ‘healthier’ for you; however, soymilk is soooooo expensive: $3.69 for half a gallon.

  5. I thought that a bowl of Wal Mart brand raisin bran- extra raisin, with soy milk, would do the trick?

  6. Pete, right, excellent point. They didn’t even have raw sugar in the main but they did have honey and high sugar content beets and vege. Those sweeteners were reserved for cooking and eating as I recall. Sugar was reserved for royalty and well-off gentle’s.

    LOL, by Edwardian times the method of distilling alcohol was well known to everyone. As one episode showed over a several day brick or roof-tile making project (as I recall), they managed to distill some nasty, high alcohol content spirits. They just moved past the lack of raw sugar which was still a lux item for ‘commoners’. Progress, ya’ gotta’ love it.

  7. LK

    the beer had a lower alcohol content because they didn’t use raw sugar to increase the yield.

  8. Indigo Jones, There are two very cool BBC series on farm life: The Victorian Farm and The Edwardian Farm. A trio of Scientists/Scholars re-live a year living that life (within the confines of safety regs etc.) in period garb, actual period built manor farmhouses, raise their own food, make their own tools etc. The Victorian farm is superior IMO, or maybe just to my liking more.

    One of the interesting points of the lifestyle was the abundance of beer and hard cider which was consumed even at some breakfasts. They had a well (kind of a luxury) and used water for cooking and cleaning but the point was made in one of the episodes that water was ‘iffy’ and beer and cider less unhealthful so it was a dietary constant. The beer was generally of a lesser alcohol content though.

    These are entertaining and instructive shows if anyone comes across them, there are DVD’s so the library should have them or be able to order them. My grandparents were subsistence farmers and from what I learned spending the summers with them I was struck be how little that life changed over the centurys, probably millennia. My grandparents had a spring, a well and were Christians of some hard-shell Baptist sort so no beer or hard cider! I have no doubt that made the life much, much harder. 🙂

  9. pukindog:

    you got to bathe and get a shave at least twice a year unless you are some kind of sorry a$$ poodle or other fufu dog.

    I know, I know but you guys get really stinky from rolling in anything dead and the hair, it is everywhere.

    If you are a Chihuahua, go try to catch a car until I call you for dinner.

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