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Biotechnology: Bacterial Language

Those two simple, inexpensive, practical activities, from the Association for Science Education (ASE) explore cultivating glowing bacteria and the phenomenon of one species turning a bright purple.

The glow is caused by luminous bacteria commonly found on rotting seafood. Ghostly glowing fish like this provided a clue that led to the discovery of bacterial language in the 1990's. Bacteria, even those of different species, communicate with each other, and decoding their communication (dubbed 'quorum-sensing') is now a hot research topic around the world. It has major implications for our understanding and treatment of disease, and for enzyme and antibiotic production.

These activities can be used to enrich the curriculum for younger and older students alike as:
*A practical activity during microbe study.
*A science fair or science club activity.

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