Update: An extra-thorough examine performed on the University of Colorado took samples from fifty-one faculty-college students and they recognized 4742 completely different species of bacteria and found that women harbored a better selection. I used to work on the Microscale Life Science Center on the University of Washington, the place they build instruments for biologists to study mammalian cells at the single cell degree. Here, right here, and listed below are some papers describing some of the biology and engineering.

The MLSC is a multi-disciplinary group made up of electrical and mechanical engineers, biologists, chemists, and pathologists. The units I helped construct were really neat and allowed our biologists to answer questions on cells that we by no means could even ask before! Bacterial contamination is a really serious problem with our lab-on-a-chip gadgets.

If a bacterial outbreak invades the mammalian cells we are experimenting with, the results will probably be compromised and a number of worthwhile time can be wasted. As part of the engineering crew, I needed to identify how a lot bacteria was around where it was, and how to maintain it out of our sterilized experiment.

I learned that microorganism floats around in the air and congregates on dust particles, and that every little thing within the room has some microorganism on it unless it hasn’t been sterilized a few minutes earlier than. It turns out that our body (and everything we touch) are the primary supply of micro-organism contamination. Even when you’re wearing Latex gloves to handle an experimental system, when you touch your face or tweezers that was previously touched by un-gloved fingers, it’ll get contaminated.

Realizing this, I grew to become very inquisitive about which species of bacteria really had been using my body as a bunch. Using the gear in our lab, I transferred some microorganism from my arms to Agar plates, removed and grew individual micro-organism colonies for every species, sequenced their DNA, and imaged them utilizing a scanning electron microscope (SEM).

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From the DNA sequences, I used to be in a position to inform precisely what species they were by evaluating the sequences to an internet DNA database, and learn more about them. The following is a recount of what I did. Step 1: Step one was to tradition some bacteria on an Agar plate to isolate the totally different species.

Touching the Agar jelly on a plate was sufficient to transfer the bacteria from my hand to the nutrient-wealthy Agar where colonies quickly grew from single bacterium cells. You may see eight completely different bacteria cultures from my hand. In actuality there are probably a lot more additional sorts, which might have grown on totally different Agar substrates. The microorganism diverse in coloration and appearance, however all of them had one thing in frequent – they stink!

I assume that’s what showers are for – to clean away the stinky excrement from the microorganism residing on us! By the way in which, I touched the Agar with my fingers AFTER washing them with soap and water. These microorganism or related species are on all of us and are just a part of our pure wholesome body and actually repel “unhealthy” bacteria by taking on virgin actual property on our skin and digestive system. To do that I used a way referred to as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to exponentially multiply a number of the 16S ribosomal RNA gene generally found in all microorganism. Slight variations within the DNA sequence act as a fingerprint and can be used to establish individual bacteria species.