Bacteria comprise a large domain of prokaryotic microorganism. Sometimes it is a transformed into dormant spores that can survive millions of years in extreme environment. These bacteria pose a major threat to human life in the form of food poising and the biological weapon anthrax.
The professors at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, South California in the US examined the spores at molecular level using complex mathematical techniques to identify the mechanism or strategies that bacterial spores use to evade attack from extreme temperatures, chemical and radiation. The team also determined the optimal conditions for killing these harmful bacteria.
At present, the researchers found that the elements of a bacterium are water, acid and calcium ion by using X-ray crystallography data. Even a super computer has been used to run hundreds and thousands of simulation, controlling the percentage of acid, water and calcium and finally it has been observed that depending on water concentration and temperature, the water inside the bacterial call behaves like either solid, gel or liquid.
This insight could be applied to stop microbial contamination on food processing equipment and restrict the spread of disease in a biological attack. As evident from the study, the process depends on moist-heat rather than chemical processes so the bacteria should not be able to develop resistance.
By: Srishti Sharma