Microbiology 3302 Spring 2013 – Getting Friendly with Bacteria

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    Andrew Wills

    My name is Staphylococcus epidermidis; my friends call me S. epidermidis, for short. When view under a microscope I may appear in pairs, chains, or clusters. I am gram positive cocci. Because I am gram positive I only have one plasma membrane which contains teichoic acids that are connected to peptidoglycan by covalent bonds. I am a facultative anaerobe because I can survive with or without oxygen; however I prefer aerobic conditions because that’s where I grow best. In the presence of oxygen I can breakdown glucose, fructose, maltose, sucrose, and glycerol and produce acid as an end product of fermentation.
    I generally live on the skin and nares of all humans and other warm blooded animals, healthy individuals can even have as much as 24 strains of S. epidermidis. Although I am present on the skin and nares, I love to vacation in the blood stream. They call me the “opportunistic pathogen” because I usually attack when your natural defenses are weak. This is why I am one of the leading hospital pathogens. I commonly infect intravascular catheters and cause havoc because I am resistant to common antibiotics like penicillin and methicillin.
    The ability to form biofilm and stick to living cells is one virulence factor that I possess. My family is big, diverse and crazy like everyone else; some of us even have weird names. A few members of my family include Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Staphylococcus intermedius. Although I am not as famous as Drake or LeBron James, I am well known among those who work in the health care field and they are constantly trying to stop me from infecting unsuspecting patients.
    This was a quick look into my life as staphylococcus epidermidis. Hope you enjoyed reading and most importantly hope you learned something new. Look out for me when you’re sick in the hospital and remember I am an opportunistic pathogen.




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