Apr 28, 2017 01:24 AM EDT
An amoeba group called the dictys can penetrate the biofilm and cannibalize on harmful bacteria. While it is known that the 2.5 billion years of bacterial evolution developed the defensive biofilm to thwart predators and antibiotics, a medical breakthrough may soon crack the enemy. The University of Wisconsin was able to successfully demonstrate how some amoeba can feed on biofilm-protected bacteria.
Author Dean Sanders and his colleagues used a microscopic time-lapse video to catch the hero amoeba. There are particularly five species of bacteria which the amoeba targets. What Sanders did is to introduce the dictys to other bacteria that are known as biofilm-protected.
According to the Science Daily, there is a focus on Pseudomas aeruginosa, Pseudomas syringae, Klebsiella oxytoca, and Erwinia amylovora. These bacteria are known as biofilm-forming and some are multi-drug resistant. Others are pinpointed as causes of cystic fibrosis, sepsis, colitis, and even fire blight in plants.
Finally, the time-lapse showed that the result is dependent on the species of bacteria and which dictys was introduced. An interesting trend showed that dictys can annihilate millions of biofilm-forming bacteria within two days in most cases. The researchers dubbed the dictys as "social amoeba" as well due to its trait of forming a multicellular "slug," the National Geographic narrated. The slug is an even more efficient devourer of bacteria once it starts to kick in.
Meanwhile, University of Wisconsin bacteriology professor Marcin Filutowicz revealed that they are continuing the research which was started in 1930's by fellow bacteriologist Kenneth Raper. Raper gathered soil-borne microbes and extracted dictys from them. Unfortunately, Raper's work was neglected after he passed away.
Filutowicz said that he has limited knowledge on how to grow the dictys. The breakthrough came when he thought of utilizing the dictys as a biological weapon against bacteria. One possible approach is to grow them on E coli which are common in the human intestine. Dictys can also be considered as relatively safe since they are not pathogenic.
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