In the series of essays The Language of Bacteria, we discussed some ways that bacteria are able to fight against us. Specifically, we know that bacteria can protect themselves under coated biofilms, or they can pass around genes to make them unresponsive to antibiotics.
Today, doctors treat infections and diseases almost exclusively with antibiotics. However, bacteria have two big ways of fighting back: they can pass around genes for antibiotic resistance, and they can coat themselves under biofilms to keep antibiotics at bay. In this ongoing chess game, the move is now ours. What strategies should we take as we continue the fight for health among communicating superbugs?
In the last essay, we covered how bacteria share helpful genes with each other, and what that means for the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria (“superbugs”).
Another aspect of the bacterial world is that of chemicals and molecules. When you live in the world as a single cell, you cannot eat the kind of food we do, and you cannot interact with your environment the way we do.
What if I told you that bacteria can communicate? With each other, with bacteria of different species (and thus, of a different “language”), and even with you?