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Bacteria and Humans

Introduces beneficial and harmful relationships between humans and bacteria.

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Bugs Bite Back!

Bugs Bite Back

The use of laboratory cultures is a long standing practice for studying bacteria.

How Did This Happen?

The widespread use of penicillin started in the 1940s. Its ability to clear up bacterial infections was considered a medical breakthrough and helped untold numbers of people. Little did researchers at the time realize that the bacteria would not take this new weapon in the medical arsenal lying down.

No Duh's and Head Scratchers

If you need help scratching a mental itch, use the resources below:

  1. How is the spread of disease aided by large populations? How do livestock practices artificially create this situation? Can you think of anyway to modify livestock practices to reduce the risk of spreading disease?
  2. Where did researchers determine the drug-resistant strain of Staphylococcus originated? How is it believed it developed its drug resistance? Does this pathway surprise you? Why or why not?
  3. How would you deal with drug-resistant bacterial strains? What kinds of information would you collect to address this problem?
  4. Do you see any problems with the widespread use of antibiotics? Do you think most people are aware of this situation? Why or why not?
  5. Why do you think bacterial strains can become more harmful when they jump from one species to another? Consider the life history of bacteria in answering this question.


Penicillin, the first antibiotic drug, was isolated from mold and started the long road to superbugs.

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