Towards An Aesthetic Of The Opportunistic Pathogen

The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important opportunistic pathogen, not capable of infecting the otherwise healthy, but causes significant infections in the compromised,  and especially  individuals with cystic fibrosis.

These are the results that our wonderful undergraduate students produced during  my BMS1035 Practical And Biomedical Bacteriology Module.

Our students first isolated the bacterium from the thin human soup that is swimming pool water (below).

pseudo

Pseudomas aeruginosa isolated from swimming pool water, using membrane filtration and cetrimide agar.

 

P. aeruginosa strains produce two types of soluble pigments, the fluorescent pigment pyoverdin and the blue pigment pyocyanin. The latter  (from “pyocyaneus”) refers to “blue pus”, which is a characteristic of the suppurative infections caused by this bacterium. The former pigment, pyoverdin,  confers fluorescence to colonies of the bacterium (see below)

image-11

Strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa displaying blue fluorescence in response to exposure to UV light.

 

And finally, one of our P. aeruginosa isolates observed at 1000x magnification using a Differential Interference Contrast microscope (below).

 

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