I am fascinated by bacteria, and particularly interested in how bacteria contribute to and influence the human body. I will not go into much detail about how I got interested in the subject but I am excited that a lot of research is happening on bacteria and human health.
It was when I lived in Germany that I first had my eyes opened to good bacteria. I do come from a country of natural yoghurt, full of healthy bacteria, but still it was in Deutschland that I got truly interested in the subject.
The first book I read was in German – The Microbiological Therapy (Leitfaden – der Microbiologischen Therapie) by Michael Martin. I find it a very interesting Subject: babies born through cesarean section are fed additionally bacteria.
13 years Later (I actually read the book in 2003) I finally see this topic being discussed in public – of course, I might have missed a lot of publication – being quite busy working on my cleaning business.
So here it is an article on bacteria – it’s what is inside that counts – by Mark Henderson
Bacteria in your intestines say as much about your health as your DNA: The consequences for medical science are huge: personalised treatment, safer drugs, even advances in understanding autism and schizophrenia.
The most shocking scientific fact of all and that I often use to convince my cleaning clients that antibacterial cleaners that not all bacteria is bad is that:
Count up our cells, however, and a more nuanced picture emerges. A typical adult boasts about 10 trillion cells in solid tissues and another 25 trillion red blood cells that supply the others with oxygen. But large as these numbers may seem, they are but minority players in the rich ecosystems that are our bodies. Our own cells are outnumbered at least ten to one by others that do not even belong to the same branch of the tree of life as we do. From a cellular perspective all of us are mostly bacteria. The adult human body is home to more than 100 trillion bacteria.
It’s simply ASTONISHING.
It’s also a great shame that no one Biology Textbook – in the average school contains this information. We are living in utter oblivion for who we really are.
100 trillion of bacteria in an adult body, 100 trillion, 100 trillion with a tri!
I have always had this big mind with all these big ideas – I once read a book, a science fiction book – that’s where I got the basics for my personal take on conscious human evolution. The book was Slant, by Greg Bear (my most favourite writer of all time). Here is THE quote that completely blew me away:
So it all begins in bed…. Sex is often confused with reproduction. but bacteria engage with sex for the sheer desperate necessary joy of it – sex is their visit to the community library, the communal cookbook. They wriggle themselves through seas of recipes, little circular bits of DNA called plasmids. When they absorb a plasmid they don’t necessarily reproduce, but they still swap genetic material, that’s what bacteriologists call sex. Unlike us, however, bacterial sex – this kind of swap – can even occur between totally different kinds, what we once regarded as different species. But there are no true species in bacteria. We know now that bacteria are not grouped into species, as such, but evanescent communities we call microgens, or even more currently, ecobacters.
This is from a Sci-Fi book…
and then a few pages later…
What makes us special? Like Bacteria, as social animals, we engage in communal sharing of information. We call it education, and the result is culture. The shape of our society relies on spoken and written language, the language of signs, the next level of language above the molecular. Some insert another level between these two, that of instinctual behaviour, but I believe that’s just another kind of language of signs.
It’s about several pages long thesis – it’s a fascinating read, but as short of time, I would only highly recommend you to read Slant by Greg Bear.
But before I conclude this article – here is what really did my head in:
Evolution is a kind of thought, a making of hypotheses to solve the problems posed by a changing environment. Bacteria operate as an immense community, not so much evolving as exchanging recipes, both competing and cooperating. We are comprised of alliances of cells that are made up of old alliances between different sorts of bacteria. We are, in effect, colonies of colonies of bacteria that have learnt many new tricks, including slavish cooperation.
All separation is a convenient illusion, all competition is the churning of the engines of sex. Our social conventions give our culture shape, just as cell wall holds in the protoplasm; but we are soon approaching a time when education will overcome convention, when logic and knowledge must replace rote and automatism. This century can be characterized as a time of conflicts between old errors, old patterns of thinking, and new discoveries about ourselves. We have no big father in the sky, at least none that is willing to talk with us on any consistent basis.
…If we all think alike, if we all become uniform and bland, we shrivel up and die, and the great process shudders to an end. Uniformity is death, in the economics or in biology. Diversity within communication and cooperation is life. Everything your forebears, your ancestors, everything you have ever done, will have been for naught, if we ignore these basic bacterial lessons.
I hope this at least intrigue a few of us.
I will probably have to come back to this post as the subject is of immense importance to me and I actually believe – our evolution, conscious human evolution must be on everyone’s mind and the example with bacteria – just gives the answer to the too many questions for the future, for living in a sustainable world, in creating a sustainable culture.
I will appreciate any comments and if you could share some of your related ideas – that will be great.
26 December 2009
Further to the above reading please read about the Human Microbiome Project.
otal microbial cells found in association with humans may exceed the total number of cells making up the human body by a factor of ten-to-one. The total number of genes associated with the human microbiome could exceed the total number of human genes by a factor of 100-to-one.