Model of Infection: jelly baby

This is a playful work that addresses a serious issue, the use of animal models of infection in microbiology. Bacterial pathogens do not cause disease by accident and tend to be sophisticated and evolved types of bacteria that have highly sophisticated mechanisms to disarm the human immune system, and to overcome various host barriers. Amongst these systems they possess arsenals of powerfully lytic enzymes that are able to dissect human tissue at the molecular level, to provide nutrition to the bacterium, and to aid its spread in the body. Here two jelly babies (sweets held together by the protein gelatin) have been infected with a disease causing bacterium (the two and the left) which has a poweful protease activity. If you compare these with the uninfected control (on the right), you will notice that the infection is causing the jelly babies to liquify as the bacterium digests the gelatin that gives the sweet its from. I do like the way that two of the  jelly babies are still smiling as they are turned to a rich soup by the infection.

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