This video will both amaze you and concern you for humanity's future.
It’s one of the most beautiful and yet frightening things you will ever seen: video of a vicious strain of E. coli evolving in an antibiotic-resistant superbug — and in just 11 days. The footage shows the gut bacterium E. coli evolving into a state where it is 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics, something that worries the medical community as it makes the disease pretty much impossible to treat.
Researchers observed this happen in the Microbial Evolution and Growth Arena plate, or the MEGA-plate. Scientists got the idea for the MEGA-plate from Hollywood, and specifically the movie Contagion, which basically used a giant petri dish. Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute for Technology decided they would try to use this to visualize antibiotic resistance in a new and interesting way.
It’s a way to visualize the threat we all face: our overuse of antibiotics has allowed for diseases like E. coli and gonorrhea to mutate into more resistant diseases that are impossible to treat.
“Bacteria were cultured at one location on the plate; as competition for resources increased, they spread to other regions,” the statement reads. “Applying varying levels of antibiotics, the authors were able to map out mutations that allowed increasingly resistant mutant bacteria to spread. Bacteria were unable to adapt directly from zero antibiotic to the highest concentrations, for both drugs tested, revealing that exposure to intermediate concentrations of antibiotics is essential for the bacteria to evolve resistance. Mutations that increased resistance often came at the cost of reduced growth, which was subsequently restored by additional compensatory mutations, the authors found. Intriguingly, the spatial location of bacterial species played a role in their success in developing resistance.”