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Questions tagged [microbiology]

Microbiology is the study of extremely small organisms. This includes organisms like bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses.

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21
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2answers
2k views

Are single-celled organisms capable of learning?

I've read that the amoeba is capable of learning. Since these protists have no nervous system, it's safe to assume that even highly simplified learning mechanisms of the Aplysia are miles off in the ...
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2answers
672 views

Sugar as a defence against bacteria?

An answer on another SE site mentions that sugar "at a certain level acts as a preservative". I've always been taught that microorganisms eat sugar and expel acids, that is why sugary food are ...
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4answers
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Why do cell membranes have a lipid bilayer instead of a monolayer?

Many cells have a cell membrane composed of two layers of lipids. Why is it that they have two layers and not just one? What purpose do this arrangement serve?
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308 views

HIV Rapid Tests

The hiv antigens that are used in the oral rapid tests, are they infectious? The tests do not contain any actual virus but I am curious if the antigens themselves could somehow create the virus on ...
4
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2answers
308 views

Short-term Lamarckism in asexual single cell organisms

I was reading through the Karr et al. (2012) whole-cell computational model. One of the things they did was to induce single-gene disruptions in their model. They observed several to be fatal, but: ...
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Why is 70% ethanol preferred for aseptic techniques?

Are other concentrations (say 80%) less effective,or is this just for convenient manufacturing? Is the concentration chosen only because it is less volatile than 100 percent ethanol and hence safer?
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Human Digestion of Cellulose?

Most animals can digest the cellulose in grass because of the anaerobic bacteria called Fibrobacter succinogenes living in their rumen (gut). The bacteria produces the enzyme cellulase and is ...
11
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3answers
10k views

How much weight/volume do microbes occupy within the human body?

Microorganisms constitute the bulk of all the biomass on Earth. I weighed myself yesterday, and wondered how much less I would weigh if I were completely free of bacteria and microbes, inside and out. ...
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3answers
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Why is triclosan not considered an antibiotic?

Triclosan is a chemical often referred to as a "biocide" instead of an "antibiotic". However, its mode of action seems to suggest that it is an antibiotic. Triclosan binds to bacterial enoyl-acyl ...
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2answers
983 views

What defines a microbial species?

I know that microbes are not capable of sexual reproduction, thus sorting them into species according to "groups that can interbreed and generate fertile offspring" should not apply.
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4answers
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Why don't antiseptic agents kill 100% germs?

I've seen innumerable antiseptic, mouthwash, handwash advertisements that claim to be able to eliminate as much as 99.9% of all germs over a surface...but why not the remaining 0.1% (i.e- why can't ...
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2answers
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Are viruses self-propelled?

So obviously, viruses are nonliving. But when my teacher was teaching viruses in the video (we're doing "flip" learning this semester), the way he described it, it seemed like the viruses responded to ...
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3answers
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If someone were to die on the moon, would their body decay?

I heard that the footprints of Neil Armstrong are still there, so I was wondering if someone were to die there, would they remain preserved, too? If not how long would it take for them to decay?
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1answer
362 views

How exactly can dsRNA be introduced to a cell?

Is it just by viruses or are there other means by which it gets into cells, such as plasmid uptake?
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Do beneficial viruses exist? If so, what examples are there?

Typically, people call viruses some kind of organic compounds that cannot reproduce autonomously and which lower the fitness of their hosts. Even the word "virus" means "venom" in Latin. But from the ...
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5answers
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Is there an advantage to antibacterial soap?

There are plenty of different hand soaps out there, as well as hand sanitizers. Is there an advantage to soaps that claim that they're antibacterial vs soaps that just say soap? In particular I'm ...
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1answer
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How to obtain bacteria samples at home?

As the original question went from hold to closed, I thought I would write up a more appropriate question. How should one go about getting bacterial samples to look at under a microscope at home? ...
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2answers
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Does freezing microorganisms such as probiotics kill them?

Does freezing microorganisms such as probiotics kill them? If not, what is the process that allows them to "come back to life" after the temperatures are increased? As an example, lets say you ...
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2answers
3k views

Does rainwater contain many fewer micro-organisms than river water?

From watching many documentaries on micro-organisms, I can tell water typically contains quite a lot of them. But what about rainwater? (before it hits the ground). I know nothing about any micro-...
8
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2answers
660 views

Do acetic acid bacteria use the electron transport chain when converting ethanol to acetic acid?

Do acetic bacteria use the electron transport chain when converting ethanol to acetic acid? And is wikipedia inconsistent here in its definition of fermentation. It says fermentation Fermentation ...
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1answer
56 views

To understand clearly extraintestinal diseases

Extradistestinal disease seems to prefer to "bowel" diseases, I think this is about diseases outside gastrointestinal tract so stomach. Consider diseases ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease (...
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2answers
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Alternatives to CFU plating for measuring number of viable cells?

I am hoping to measure growth rates of a bacterial culture in several growth conditions. I am concerned that these growth conditions may cause cell death, which would lead to a decreased ...
5
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1answer
169 views

Are all functions of a human cell known? [closed]

Please bear with me as I'm intruding into your world from a computer science background. In programming, once you have created a program, you know all functions of that program. Thus, 100% knowledge ...
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1answer
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How heavy are all foreign microorganisms in and on the human body?

I define "foreign microorganism" as a microorganism which is not produced by the human body (not antibodies or leukocytes) including bacteria, viruses, fungi, biofilm aggregates or small lifeforms ...
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1answer
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How many eukaryotes are there on Earth?

I have been reading: William B. Whitman, David C. Coleman, and William J. Wiebe, "Prokaryotes: The unseen majority", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95, pp. 6578–6583, June 1998. [Full Text] [PDF] ...
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1answer
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How is the exogenous DNA protected from degradation during bacterial transformation?

During transformation, a bacterium can take up DNA from its environment. A small fraction of bacterial species are known to be naturally competent, meaning that they can engage in this sort of ...
7
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1answer
3k views

Why are there no known photosynthetic archaea?

I'm taking a microbial physiology course and we noted that, while some archaea are phototrophic, there are no known photosynethetic archaea. Are there any physiological characteristics that make ...
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1answer
240 views

What is the advantage of using plant-derived antibacterials rather than bacteria-derived antibacterials?

So obviously we have a big problem with antibiotic resistance. Most of our antibiotics originate from bacteria themselves (or are synthetic variations on scaffolds which originate from bacteria). I ...
5
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1answer
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What are the most important factors influencing a person’s gut microbes?

You are your bacteria! The probiotics and the antibiotics... There has been on going discussions about how our gut bacteria is important for a healthy lifestyle. Figure 1: Schematic diagram ...
5
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1answer
113 views

Is diarrhoea advantageous to the microbe?

Diarrhoea is a common side effect of many feco-orally transmitted bacterial infections. How does diarrhoea help the pathogen? Should it not have a selective evolutionary advantage? Do all symptoms of ...
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5answers
472 views

Why don’t different organisms have nucleic acid genomes containing different bases and sugar?

All organisms contain genetic material. Be it DNA or RNA, both of them have a fixed pentose group (deoxyribose and ribose). Also they contain the same types of nitrogenous bases, Adenine, Thymine(or ...
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3answers
15k views

Why are viruses considered microbes?

My question is simple. Why is a virus considered a microbe? Considering a microbe is considered to be a "living" unit of life, which viruses are not.
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1answer
109 views

How can an infection of lower respiratory tract lead to a skin infection? [closed]

I am interested in the multifactorial process about infectious diseases of the lower respiratory system and their progression to a skin infection. Possible agens are zwitterions, viruses, fungi, ...
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2answers
308 views

Relationship between our microbiome and personalized nutrition

Recently, it has been asked whether there are 'metabolic types' between humans that can benefit from a sort of personalized nutrition. One answer suggested that one discerning factor could be the ...
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1answer
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Can Naegleria fowleri enter through wounds into the bloodstream?

All the sources I've read said that Naegleria fowleri enters the brain through the nose. But lets say that someone had cuts on their arm or leg and they are swimming in water that is conducive to ...
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2answers
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How sterile is working next to a bunsen burner?

When I was still doing lab work, many people would just wear gloves and work next to a bunsen burner because the clean benches were all in use. This was mostly for plating bacteria like Bacillus ...
5
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2answers
980 views

Survival of E. coli on agar plate at -20 degree C without glycerol stock

If I kept E. coli transformed with plasmid at -20˚C without making glycerol stock, will it survive? Actually I have kept it this way for 18 hours. What will happen with it? Will it grow in fresh media?...
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1answer
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What is the distinction between F' plasmid and R plasmid?

Is there a difference between an F' plasmid that has taken up a chromosomal gene that conveys antibiotic resistance, and an R plasmid? Is a bacterium containing an R plasmid and yet lacking an F+ ...
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3answers
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What is the mechanism of oxygen uptake in E. coli?

How does E. coli uptake oxygen? Most of the literature I found is concerned with response to oxygen level supplied in the medium, as opposed to how much is actually transported inside. Can they shut ...
5
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1answer
243 views

Scale up of Bacterial growth from 250mL to 1-5L?

I am currently growing up a specific strain of E.Coli with a knockout in 40mL of growth medium (LB) in a 250mL shaker flask... My ultimate goal is to scale up this process to a 1-5L large scale setup ...
4
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1answer
294 views

How does botulinum toxin enter the blood stream from the digestive tract?

To my understanding, large polypeptides such as botulinum toxin cannot pass the intestinal lining intact. How, then, can it enter the bloodstream and cause botulism poisoning?
3
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1answer
225 views

Plasmid choosing

To design a experiment in feeding of C. elegans. It has to choose a plasmid vector to insert the gene of interest that can feed to C. elegans. Many paper are using pL4440 for the feeding vector, ...
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2answers
556 views

Bacteria Replication

I learned this at a lecture, but somehow I have trouble in understanding this. It is said that the bacteria such as E.coli need 20 minutes to divide, but its chromosome require 40 minutes to multiply. ...
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2answers
508 views

How to learn biomathematics?

I'm currently an undergraduate math student and researching on the internet I discover that exists an area called "biomathematics". Looks so interesting. They use the graph theory and topology to ...
2
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1answer
80 views

How many diseases can be linked to disruption in the microbiome of a human?

I was listing to the radio and heard recent research found a link between children and higher cases of asthma when certain bacteria are missing from the microbiome. How many other diseases can be ...
2
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3answers
502 views

Could plasmids and conjugation mechanisms be used against antibiotic-resistant bacteria? [closed]

I'm surprised no one has mentioned something like this. Plasmids are often exchanged between bacteria, sometimes through conjugation. In particular, conjugation could be considered an "open-port" ...
2
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1answer
6k views

Optical Density conversion to cfu / ml

I am having troubles understanding the correlation between OD measurements and CFU/ml. What is the conversion factor between the two units, and does this conversion factor somehow compensate for dead ...
2
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1answer
3k views

Anaerobic respiration choice in E. coli

Under anaerobic conditions E. coli has two options to generate ATP: fermentation (substrate-level phosphorylation), and respiration (proton gradient, chemisomotic phosphorylation). Which is favored? ...
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4answers
221 views

Why aren't all infections immune-system resistant?

It's been less than a century since the widespread use of antibotics started, and already we're seeing bacteria that have evolved immunities to the antibotics we use. On the other hand, we've been ...
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1answer
2k views

How to obtain bacteria samples?

Would anyone know how to go about obtaining samples of Salmonella or E. coli for purely educational purposes? Note: I just want to look at the stuff under a microscope.