Endospores
Certain genera of Gram-positive bacteria, such as Bacillus, Clostridium, Sporohalobacter, Anaerobacter, and Heliobacterium, can form highly resistant, dormant structures called endospores. In almost all cases, one endospore is formed and this is not a reproductive process, although Anaerobacter can make up to seven endospores in a single cell. Endospores have a central core of cytoplasm containing DNA and ribosomes surrounded by a cortex layer and protected by an impermeable and rigid coat. Dipicolinic acid is a chemical compound that composes 5% to 15% of the dry weight of bacterial spores. It is implicated as responsible for the heat resistance of the endospore.

Endospores show no detectable metabolism and can survive extreme physical and chemical stresses, such as high levels of UV light, gamma radiation, detergents, disinfectants, heat, freezing, pressure, and desiccation. In this dormant state, these organisms may remain viable for millions of years, and endospores even allow bacteria to survive exposure to the vacuum and radiation in space. According to scientist Dr. Steinn Sigurdsson, "There are viable bacterial spores that have been found that are 40 million years old on Earth — and we know they're very hardened to radiation." Endospore-forming bacteria can also cause disease: for example, anthrax can be contracted by the inhalation of Bacillus anthracis endospores, and contamination of deep puncture wounds with Clostridium tetani endospores causes tetanus.
Bacillus anthracis (stained purple) growing in cerebrospinal fluid

Reactions:

0 comments:

Post a Comment

12 Ways to Prepare for Hepatitis C Treatment

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!