Bugs & drugs…

Zones of inhibition around antibiotic infused disksText books commonly state that in the natural environment antibiotics are a means by which bacteria (and yeasts) reduce competition for resources, by creating a ‘zone of inhibition’ around themselves—kind of like unleashing a smelly fart to stop people sitting too closely. However, antibiotics can also be seen as part a more complex system of cell to cell communication/signalling in microbial communities, in fact, they can also be food. When used at the concentrations we employ therapeutically, they can either stop bacterial growth, or kill outright. Just because they can have this effect, doesn’t mean that this is what they evolved to do—’antibiotic’ is simply the name we give to the few (of many) small organic molecules produced by bacteria that happen to have an effect on a particular group of bacteria against which it (along with many other molecules) was screened.

Continue reading “Bugs & drugs…”