About Academia Microbilor

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Academia Microbilor by Simona Ivana is an educational site in microbiology field.A century ago, Louis Pasteur said: ”Messieurs, c’est les microbes qui auront le dernier mot”/ ”Life would not long remain possible in the absence of microbes”.Indeed, microorganisms have an impact upon the earth’s ecosystems that rivals that of the sun, the oceans, and the activities of humans and other living things.Microbiology is emerging as the key biological science. Microorganisms provide the models used in molecular biology for research.

There is growing recognition of the potential of microorganisms in many applied areas.The ability of microorganisms to decompose materials, the potential of microorganisms as food supplements, the exploitation of microbial activity to produce energy such as methane gas, and the potential of new therapeutic substances produced by microorganisms – these and other uses are becoming increasingly attractive.Recombinant DNA technology makes it feasible to consider genetically manipulated microorganisms for commercial production of new and valuable products for a variety of purposes (medicinal, fuel and food).

“When I first had the idea for this site I wanted to introduce microbiology in a way that left an exciting and indelible impression on young students and that made difficult concepts comprehensible.At the same time I aimed for a style and organization that produced a readable, current, accessible, and attractive site.My primary emphasis is on a survey of general topics needed by students entering careers in allied health.My teaching in the field of microbiology, and this site as a result of it, have been built around a central concept, that of the dual nature (”bad and good”) of microorganisms on the one hand, and of operating constituents of functional cells on the other hand. This site attempts to be thorough without being exhaustive and sufficiently broad in scope to appeal to any interested student desiring a background on the topic.” (Simona Ivana)

Because visual and mental figures can be extremely helpful in understanding a process, structure, or abstraction, we have tried to develop an unique approach using plasticine technique.Each animated plasticine microorganism is personified based on its structure thus focuses interest on one of the thought-provoking subjects about bacteria, viruses or molds.

The Microbes Academy by Simona Ivana is made up of the following characters:

STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS – NICKNAME ”GRAPE MAN”

From Greek: ”grape-cluster berry”, Latin: aureus, ”golden”, is a Gram positive coccal bacterium also known as ”golden staph” and ”oro saphira”.It appears as grape-like clusters when viewed through a microscope, and has large, round, golden-yellow colonies, often with hemolysis, when grown on blood agar plates.

S. aureus is catalase-positive, this means, it can produce the enzyme catalase.

S. aureus produces various enzymes and exotoxins.

BACILLUS ANTHRACIS – NICKNAME ”TEUTONIC KNIGHT”

B. anthracis is a Gram positive, endospore-forming, rod-shaped bacterium, with a width of 1.0–1.2 μm and a length of 3–5 μm. It is one of the few bacteria known to synthesize a protein capsule (poly-D-gamma-glutamic acid).Like Bordetella pertussis, it forms a calmodulin-dependent adenylate cyclase exotoxin known as (edema factor), along with a lethal factor.

B. anthracis spores are extraordinarily well-suited to use (in powdered and aerosol form) as biological weapons.

LISTERIA MONOCYTOGENES – NICKNAME ”RUSSIAN GIRL”

L. monocytogenes is a Gram positive bacterium, named after Joseph Lister.L. Motile via flagella at 30°C and below, but usually not at 37°C, L. monocytogenes can instead move within eukaryotic cells by explosive polymerization of actin filaments (known as comet tails or actin rockets).

Listeria monocytogenes can cause meningitis in newborns.Pregnant mothers are often advised not to eat soft cheese such as: Brie, Camembert, feta, and Queso Blanco Fresco”, which may be contaminated.

BACILLUS CEREUS – NICKNAME ”RICE MAN”

Bacillus cereus is a Grame positive, rod-shaped, motile, beta hemolytic bacterium.Some strains are harmful to humans and cause foodborne illness, while other strains can be beneficial as probiotics for animals.It is the cause of “fried rice syndrome”, as the bacteria are classically contracted from fried rice dishes that have been sitting at room temperature for hours.

B. cereus bacteria are facultative anaerobes, and produce endospores. Its virulence factors include cereolysin and phospholipase C.

ESCHERICHIA COLI – NICKNAME ”VAMP”

Escherichia coli also known as E. coli is a Gram negative, facultatively anaerobic, rod shaped bacterium of the genus Escherichia.

Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in their hosts. The harmless strains are part of the normal flora of the gut, and can benefit their hosts by producing vitamin K2, and preventing colonization of the intestine with pathogenic bacteria.

CLOSTRIDIUM BOTULINUM – NICKNAME ”SEA WOLF”

Clostridium botulinum is a Gram positive, rod-shaped, anaerobic, spore-forming, motile bacterium with the ability to produce the neurotoxin botulinum.

The botulinum toxin can cause a severe flaccid paralytic disease in humans and animals and is the most potent toxin known to humankind, natural or synthetic, with a lethal dose of 1.3-2.1ng/kg in humans.Depending on their ability to produce botulinum toxin there are four distinct groups, (I-IV).

SALMONELLA SPP. – NICKNAME ”BLACK WIDOW”

Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped bacteria of the Enterobacteriaceae family.

There are two species of Salmonella: Salmonella bongori and Salmonella enterica.

Salmonella enterica is further divided into six subspecies and over 2500 serovars.Salmonellae are found worldwide in both cold-blooded and warm-blooded animals, and in the environment.

CLOSTRIDIUM PERFRINGENS – NICKNAME ”LEMON FACE”

Clostridium perfringens is a Gram positive, rod-shaped, anaerobic, spore forming bacterium of the genus Clostridium.

C. perfringens is ever present in nature and can be found as a normal component of decaying vegetation, marine sediment, the intestinal tract of humans and other vertebrates, insects, and soil.

C. perfringens is the third most common cause of food poisoning in the United Kingdom and the United States.

ASPERGILLUS FLAVUS – NICKNAME ”SUNNY BOY”

A. flavus is complex fungus in its morphology and can be classified into two groups based on the size of sclerotia produced.

Group I consists of L strains with sclerotia greater than 400 μm in diameter.

Group II consists of S strains with sclerotia less than 400 μm in diameter.

Both L and S strains can produce the two most common aflatoxins (B1 and B2).

Unique to the S strains is the production of aflatoxin G1 and G2 which typically are not produced by A. flavus.

STACHYBOTRYS CHARTARUM – NICKNAME ”GAVROCHE”

Stachybotryschartarum , also called: Stachybotrys atra Stachybotrys alternans or Stilbospora chartarumor, is a black mold that produces its conidia in slime heads.

S. chartarum was originally discovered on the wall of a house in Prague in 1837, by Czech mycologist August Carl Joseph Corda.

It requires high moisture content in order to grow and is associated with wet gypsum material and wallpaper.

VIBRIO PARAHAEMOLYTICUS – NICKNAME ”SEAGULL”

Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a curved, rod-shaped, Gram negative bacterium found in brackish salt water, which, when ingested, causes gastrointestinal illness in humans.

This bacterium is motile, with a single, polar flagellum.While infection can occur by the fecal-oral route, ingestion of bacteria in raw or undercooked seafood, usually oysters, is the predominant cause of acute gastroenteritis.

YELLOW FEVER VIRUS – NICKNAME ”YELLOW JACK”

Yellow Fever Virus, known historically as Yellow JackYellow Plague, or Bronze John,is an acute viral disease.

The disease is caused by the Yellow Fever Virus and is spread by the bite of the female mosquito.

It infects only humans, other primates, and several species of mosquitoes.In cities, it is spread primarily by mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti species. The virus is an RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus.

BACTERIOPHAGE T4 – NICKNAME ”BUDDHA MAN”

Enterobacteria phage T4 is a bacteriophage that infects Escherichia coli bacteria.

The T4 phage is a member of the T-even phages, a group including enterobacteriophages T2 and T6.T4 is capable of undergoing only a lytic lifecycle and not the lysogenic lifecycle. The T4 phage’s double stranded DNA genome is about 169 kbp long and encodes 289 proteins.

PENICILLIUM NOTATUM – NICKNAME ”BRUSH MAN”

The genus name is derived from the Latin root penicillium, meaning “painter’s brush”, and refers to the chains of conidia that resemble a broom.

The genus includes a wide variety of species molds that are the source molds of major antibiotics.

Penicillin, a drug produced by P. chrysogenum (formerly, P. notatum ), was accidentally discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1929, and found to inhibit the growth of Gram positive bacteria.

CAMPYLOBACTER JEJUNI – NICKNAME ”SEAHORSE”

Campylobacter jejuni is a species of bacteria commonly found in animal feces. It is curved, helical-shaped, non-spore forming, Gram negative, and microaerophilic.

C. jejuni is one of the most common causes of human gastroenteritis in the world. C. jejuni is commonly associated with poultry, and it naturally colonises the digestive tract of many bird species.

It is normally a harmless commensal of the gastrointestinal tract in cattle. It can cause campylobacteriosis in calves.