Bacteria growing seem a lot of fun!

Posted on November 6, 2014

Every living organism is born, grow and multiply. Some organism are very boring to see while they grow, like century-living turtles. Others, like bacteria, multiply in a time-window of minutes or hours. Commonly, a bacterial culture follow different steps or phases:

  1. Lag phase: nothing happens here. There is no food or bacterial cells to allow any growth or development.
  2. Exponential phase: when we add food, the bacteria are happy and they start to multiply. Theoretically, this growth could tend to infinite in a system where neither food, space or energy are limited.
  3. Stationary phase: at some point, space and food availability stops the infinite growth, and the bacteria population remains constant (equal number of divisions and bacteria deaths).
  4. Death phase: every party comes to an end. In this case, if food is not supply steadily, the bacteria will start to die by starvation until no bacterium is left alive.

 

2000px-Bacterial_growth_en.svg

Bacterial growth curve\Kinetic Curve. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacterial_growth

 

Although this graph is a nice visualization of a growing culture of bacteria over time, I wrote this post only to show some cool videos of bacteria dividing and growing. Here they are:

A false-colored image from fluorescence microscopy of a growing colony of E coli cells. Taken from "Aging and Death in E. coli" Citation: (2005) Aging and Death in E. coli. PLoS Biol 3(2): e58 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.003

A false-colored image from fluorescence microscopy of a growing colony of E coli cells. Taken from “Aging and Death in E. coli” Citation: (2005) Aging and Death in E. coli. PLoS Biol 3(2): e58 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.003

Bacteria growing in a a microscopic box.

Bacteria growing in a a microscopic box.

However, we usually don’t see the bacteria dividing like in the video. In the lab, most of the time what we observe is the development of disgusting fluffy masses in petri¬†dishes. Fortunately, some bacteria show colored colonies (pink, yellow, blue, red…) to spice our boring-to-see experiments. I found a nice video from http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/:

I am still feel like a little kid when I see this little guys growing and spreading around. Nature is awesome!

 


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