Microbiology 3302 Spring 2013 – Getting Friendly with Bacteria

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    Al
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    Hello Ladies and Germs.
    I would like to introduce myself as the one and only MAGNIFICENT Burkholderia cepacia.
    I am an amazing magician that can accomplish a great amount of feats.
    Before I can wow you with my magic I must quickly explain the mark of the greatest magic tricks. All the greatest tricks ever known consist of 3 parts.
    The first is called “The Pledge”. During the pledge a magician (me) will show/explain how ordinary I might seem to the lay bacteria.
    The second is called “The Turn”. This is where I make something ordinary into the extraordinary.
    Lastly, is the “The Prestige”. This is where I bring out all the bells and whistles and show you why I am known as the MAGNIFICENT!
    THE PLEDGE: I will first show you how a simple Gram negative rod that is only 1.6-3.2 m in length can do feats only dreamed about by other bacteria. As a strict aerobe I shall do all my tricks unaltered and with no protection but the lipopolysaccharides and the small amount of peptidoglycan on my body. I am one of you, a mesophile, a simple microorganism living under the constrains of 30-35 degree Celsius temperatures. No doubt one of you may have seen me perform at the three places where I have spent all my life, Backyard Heights (soil), Poland Springs (water), and Ireland (plants).

    THE TURN: Now, enough talk, I shall perform my first feat! This trick was first discovered with the help of my adoptive father from whom I can thank for my name. My father, Walter Burkholder first noticed me in 1949 and became astonished by my amazing trick, which I shall perform for you all. Can you all see this perfectly good onion? Look at it closely. Notice how much bigger it is than me. Now look again……! I have given the onion a brand new sour skin and changed its color!

    THE PRESTIGE: You may be thinking my last magic trick was a fake and there was nothing to it. As much as I want to assure you that I am the real deal, I much rather show you! (Crowd goes wild!) For my next and ultimate trick I shall best the fraud who styles himself Harry Houdin-eria cepacia. (Crowd goes even wilder!). I shall break free (breakdown/metabolize) from all my chains and steel safe boxes. First, I shall be handcuffed (chlorinated hydrocarbons) in a pool of toxic commercial herbicides and pesticides. Now everyone start clapping your fimbrae I mean your hands. Abra kadabra…waka waka..(poof)…I am out, I have metabolized I mean broken free from the chlorinated hydrocarbons I mean handcuffs in the toxic pool! (Crowd gasps)

    Now, I shall get out of the ultimate safe box with hundreds of penicillin laced pythons in there to keep me company. Assistants, if you would please shut the safe box behind me and then bury me in the ground (soil). (Several moments later) Wha-LA. I am free of my chains and the penicillin laced pythons are softly sleeping even though I’m covered in snake bites! (Crowd goes into an uproar!)

    Now I would just like to thank my family, Chitinimonas, Cupriavidus, Lautropia, Limnobacter, Pandoraea, Paucimonas, Polynucleobacter, Ralstonia, Wausteria, and last but not least the coolest, Thermothrix (always full of tricks!).

    Special thank you to all my Betaproteobacterial friends who have supported me, Zoogloae, Bordetella, Spirillum, Neisseria, Sphaerotilus, and Thiobacillus!

    Last but not least, I would like to apologize to all those who were hurt while I made my way to the top. I now know that my abilities to break free (metabolize/breakdown) basically anything that can get ahold of me, including carbon are not shared by everyone. Unfortunately, my rebellious/resistant ways have caused pathogenesis in plants and my adoptive father’s species, humans. Even though I do not allow myself to be controlled and can quickly bend (mutate) to get out of any dangerous situation like penicillin pythons, I know I can still do good in the world. I will try to rid the world of toxins and make the environment a cleaner place as I have done in the past by cleaning leftover pesticides and herbicides. The EPA may have forbid me from trying to bio-remediate but I will appeal that decision! I will also stop taking those gambling trips to Vegas because I always end up in the hospital. I do too much silly nonsense (nosocomial infections) at the hospital with my magic tricks and sometimes end up making people feel worse and in some cases killing them. They have called me an opportunist and should stay away from those with cystic fibrosis even though I seldom travel there anymore; but I can only be optimistic and look forward as the great magician that I am!

    Bergey’s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology, Volume 2, Part 3
    edited by David R. Boone, Richard W. Castenholz, George M. Garrity, Donald J. Brenner, Noel R. Krieg, James T. Staley

    Steenhoek, Justin. Burkholderia cepacia. http://web.mst.edu/~microbio/bio221_2000/burkholderia_cepacia.html

    APS.net. Burkholderia cepacia. http://www.apsnet.org/publications/apsnetfeatures/Pages/Burkholderiacepacia.aspx

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