The growing concern of bacteria becoming resistant to even our most powerful antibiotics will soon be a reality.
Harvard scientists have revealed a time-lapse video showing one of these growing, spreading ‘superbugs’ combatting antibiotic drugs. The film depicts the evolution of the bacteria on a ‘mega-plate’ Petri dish measuring 2ft by 4ft, guaranteed to be more interesting than your ninth grade chemistry lab experiments.
The experiment took nine bands with different amounts of antibiotics in the agar, with low concentrations along the edges, increasing as it nears the center. The background was dyed black with ink, making it easy to distinguish the white bacteria over it.
As you can see in the film, the bacteria stays on the sides where no antibiotics are present. When the next band comes, a ‘mutant form’ evolves in a survival-of-the-fittest move against the antibiotics, and spreads from there.
The bacteria continue to persist through the bands of antibiotics, so it continually responds by mutating again and again, until it reaches the center.
“Bacteria can evolve resistance to extremely high concentrations of antibiotic at a time,” the video explains.
The Harvard video is the first real look at these superbugs, and their uncanny ability to survive. It’s quite unsettling to watch super bacteria like we’ve never faced before easily adapt – and thrive – in what’s supposed to destroy them.