Bacteria can be great hunters. Bacteria Bdeloliobrio bacteriovorus hunt other bacteria, and once their bacterial prey hits their paws, they eat it.
You've probably seen hundreds of videos about how predators hunt animals.
But let's take a step back and dive into a world of micro-organisms where billions of bacteria are constantly fighting each other for survival. That's exactly how it is! Bacteria can also hunt other bacteria. This skill is not only common to animals. These bacterial hunters are called predatory bacteria.
Predatory Bacteria — What Is It?
Simply put, predatory bacteria
Although relatively harmless to man, they are not so polite to themselves.
The most famous and widely studied example
How does Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus hunt?
These bacteria operate in the same way as leechs, they attach themselves to the host and start sucking out all the nutrients for themselves, and they reproduce within the host, and new copies are dug out of it, killing him.
Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus is attached to other literacy bacteria, such as Escherichia coli or Salmonella, and then makes holes in their cell membrane. Through these holes they enter the periplasmatic space of the host, which is a small helelike matrix that exists between two layers of the cell membrane.
Once inside, they start sucking nutrients out of the host's intestines, becoming like microbial leechs, and they also release destructive proteins of enzymes that destroy the host from the inside.
Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus hunts like any other animal in nature.
What types of predatory bacteria exist?
In addition to Bdellovibrio, there are other bacterial predators, and these species are called BALO.
Other examples include Bdellovibrio exovorus or proteobacteria, such as Micavibrio aeruginosavorus and other bacterial families: Peredibacteraceae, Halobacteriovoraceae and Pseudobacteriovoraceae.
Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus remains the most studied and known.
Are predatory bacteria harmful to humans?
In fact, numerous studies have been carried out on other mammals, such as mice, rats, crabs and rabbits, using B. bacteriovorus and M. aeruginosavorus. Fortunately, these bacteria have not adversely affected these living creatures.
Research has also shown that B. bacteriovorus may be part of the bacterial landscape of our bowel.
As more studies confirm that predatory bacteria are harmless to humans, they become increasingly attractive as treatment methods.
At present, antibiotics are the most common methods of combating bacterial infections, but you may have heard of the serious threat facing us — resistance to antibiotics!
If antibiotics don't kill disease bacteria anymore, what can we use to stop them? One potential way might be to use predatory bacteria.
This method would be like sending its own bacterial army, which is fighting on our side!
Many of the bacteria that cause the disease can live comfortably in our body without successfully destroying the immune system through biofilms.
But the drawback is that we can't just inject these bacteria into our system and hope they find unwanted bacteria and attack them.
The probability that predatory bacteria will escape the immune system of our body and find in it bacteria they must hunt is quite high, and instead the treatment will be more superficial.
For example, if there are bacteria inside the skin that cause rashes or changes in the colour of the skin, it is easier to inject predatory bacteria into this area; in other words, the treatment style will be more local and will be used for relatively small problems.
It turns out there are bacteria that can hunt other bacteria, and they can be very useful to us, and a lot of work is being done on how predatory bacteria kill their victims.
If we're lucky, we can find ways to adapt them to treat bacterial infections. If we forget about diseases, we can use them as pesticides in agriculture or as preservatives in the food industry.
In the end, they can become the new best friend of a man!