‘Shape-Shifting’ Bacteria Found By Nasa On ISS – Are We Really Alone In The Universe?
Not sure if a feeling of joy or horror was felt by the astronauts on the ISS (International Space Station) as they’ve uncovered a new ‘shape-shifting’ bacteria on-board the floating technology fortress.
It was detected in bacteria that was being experimented on the near weightless-ness of outer space, which scientists believe that it was the bacteria’s way of surviving. In what seems like a scenario from a sci-fi film, the space bacteria showed a 13 times increase in cell numbers, and a 73% reduction in cell column size.
Head of the study, Dr. Luis Zea noted that bacteria behave differently in space and it would take a higher concentration of antibiotics to kill them. What’s new is that they have conduct a systematic study on the physical changes in appearance of the bacteria during the tests.
Dr Zea published his findings in the Frontiers of Microbiology, explaining on how bacteria operates when they’re not slowed down by “gravity-driven forces such as buoyancy and sedimentation”, reports Sky News. He added that the only way for the bacteria on the ISS could ingest nutrients or drugs was through natural diffusion.
The result from the findings will affect on how astronauts deal with bacterial infection in zero gravity, where the study also finding that the cell wall and outer membrane of the bacteria actually thickens in space, which protects the E coli from the antibiotic.
Beforehand, Dr. Zea initially thought that the bacteria forming into clumps was the result of a defensive mechanism of the bacteria but the study showed that several of the bacterial cells were seen membrane vesicles, which are small capsules that form outside of the cell walls and will be messenger-like cells where they communicate with each other. That is something that’s quite scary..
Both the increase in cell envelope thickness and in the outer membrane vesicles may be indicative of drug resistance mechanisms being activated in the space flight samples. This experiment and others like it give us the opportunity to better understand how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics here on Earth Dr. Luis Zea, Study's Lead Author
Pokdepinion: All those question about “Are we alone in the universe?”, this is really a sign. There’s much to uncover out there..