Germ of Many Uses

in STEMGeeks4 months ago

         Whenever I see an organism I didn't know at work, I look it up afterward. The other week was no different. There was a finger abscess sample with Rhodococcus erythropolis mixed with other potential pathogens.

         The Wikipedia entry made it sound exotic and alien. Okay, the patient did have a Slavic-sounding first name (Anglo last name), but that person was not a foreign cosmonaut that fell from the skies. The organism reminded me of a post I wrote over a year ago about bioremediation since we are talking about bacteria breaking down hardy compounds.

         A quick internet search yields cases of encephalitis and septicemia. It should be no surprise. Almost anything could infect you when you are immunocompromised.

         A more serious search resulted in more information about the applications of R. erythropolis. The ScienceDirect entry mentioned the process of desulfurization in petroleum refinement and bioflocculation in water treatment. Another application listed in that particular article is its role in leukemia research.

         Well, our patient was more interesting than we initially thought. That person could be a researcher in the medical field, an engineer in the refinery, or a technician at the local treatment plant. Given the patient had no strict pathogens in the wound, I think the prognosis was pretty good.

         Of course, I had to look up the term bioflocculation. Flocculation is a process similar to coagulation. The Wikipedia article briefly mentions its role in water treatment.

         The world is more complex and interconnected than it appears.

Posted with STEMGeeks


Here in Pakistan, some time ago, similar things were being said that nothing will be given to eat inside a plastic shopper because it is causing a lot of diseases, but here again, everything is going on with the same.

 4 months ago 

They gotta do what they gotta do.

That's what makes your field so interesting. The synergy between the natural and man-made world gets ever more intrinsically combined. Genuinely fascinating.

I am however, disappointed he wasn't a Russian cosmonaut, and had most likely nicked his finger while cleaning out a septic tank at the local sewage works.

Hope you and your loved ones are well and having a great weekend :-)

 4 months ago 

I had no way of confirming or denying of the person works elsewhere.

Hope you are doing well too.

Very interesting. It seems it was a lot more mundane than it sounded at first. I wonder if they have tried to apply that bacteria to cleaning up plastics or other waste. I guess plastics aren't exactly rubber though are they.

 4 months ago 

Nah, plastics aren't rubber.

I'm sure they have tried it for something though.

Bang, I did it again... I just rehived your post!
Week 157 of my contest just can now check the winners of the previous week!

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