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10 Things You Never Knew About Bacteria

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When we hear the word bacteria, we are likely reminded of the pain and irritation of a sore throat and runny nose, or imagine a petri dish with a variety of shapes growing out of it that look like they’re about ready to jump out at you. Although the more familiar strains of sassy bacteria muddy up the cheer of winter holidays and make microbiology labs feel like the ground zero of an apocalyptic novel, there are some strains of bacteria that can be beneficial to the environment and to our bodies. There are also some bacteria that simply mind their own business, operating as neutral neighbors never peeking over the hedge. In order to offer a suggestion on how one might deal with the trouble makers, and to offer a deeper look into the weird world of these organisms, here are 10 interesting facts you might not know about the real life of bacteria!

 

1. Who discovered bacteria and when?

Humans have been trying for hundreds of years to find a way to peer into and investigate the itty bitty universe within the larger things in our environment, including ourselves. Thanks to developments in research and technology early on in our pursuit, we were able to discover one such tiny crusader, bacteria. Although Robert Hooke was the first to discover microorganisms through a microscope in 1665, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek is credited as being the first scientist to discover bacteria in 1676. 

2. How many species of bacteria have been found to date?

Over the past 345 years, since we first found out they existed, we have been cataloging bacteria, giving them names, and trying to understand the part they play in how our world and bodies work. We have so far been able to discover roughly 30,000 different species of bacteria! Some of the more discouraging bacteria that cause those seasonal symptoms we’re all too ready to never experience again can actually flourish in your bathroom. Installing Sink Spinner can help wash away the more pesky assassins of wellness and it’s fun enough to use that your kids will be encouraged to go the extra mile and wash their hands.

 

fossil algaegreen algae on a rock

 

 

 

 

 

3. What is the oldest known bacteria?

Actually, some of the oldest fossils ever found are of microorganisms, and one of them IS a bacteria. The oldest identified fossil of a bacteria is a cyanobacteria-like organism and is thought to be roughly 3.5 billion years old. Beginning as an unlikely forerunner on the ground-floor of evolution, actually manufacturing the primordial ooze, Cyanobacteria are more commonly known to you and I as blue-green algae. These little guys have apparently existed since the Precambrian period, which means they are almost as old as our 4.5 billion year old planet itself! 

4. What kind of microorganisms are bacteria?

Bacteria are always single-celled organisms, which are known as Prokaryotes. Some of us might remember that term from our high school biology classes. These forms of organisms can live on the outside or inside of our bodies and are also found all over our natural world. They self-replicate, and only change genetically when they mutate due to outside influences. There is a surprising amount of diversity in bacteria, considering they’re only made up of one cell.

 

bacteria cell digitalprokaryote cell anatomy

 

 

 

 

 

5. How many bacteria cells and microorganisms do we have in our bodies?

This number is difficult to determine, but the accepted ratios are that the average human has roughly 724 trillion cells altogether in their body, some are human cells and some are microbial. There are roughly 66 trillion human cells, roughly 35 trillion blood cells, leaving 623 trillion cells being microbial cells. Among those estimated 623 trillion microbial cells in our bodies, 100 trillion of them are bacteria of over 10,000 species. Rather than us being the unwitting hosts of microbes and bacteria, it appears to be the other way around.

6. How many bacteria are on the human hand?

The human hand alone, is home to an estimated 150 species of bacteria at any given time. This number changes of course depending on our daily activities, including how often we wash our hands, especially after we use the bathroom. It may seem like an unattractive reality, but many of these bacteria are a part of our natural microbiome and can even have a positive effect on us. For those malicious bacteria that aren’t invited to the party, Sink Spinner can help, and might also encourage kids to not only wash their hands, but be willing to even clean the bathroom sink more often.

 

chlorine on periodic tablebathroom sink running water

 

 

 

 

 

7. What area of homes contains the most bacteria?

The answer to this might seem like something we already know. The obvious locations for bacteria are door handles, knobs, light switches, coffee pots or cutting boards. However, there have been studies that have shown that our bathroom sink itself often harbors more bacteria than our toilet seat. More than 1,000 colony forming units of bacteria can be found on the surface of our bathroom sink basin. Perhaps more unsettling, is the thought that we usually use our bare hands to wipe down the sink after each use, unknowingly swiping our hand into an invisible film of bacterial growth. Sink Spinner’s unique design and swiveling head allow you to clean your entire sink basin without needing to sacrifice even a finger to ensure the cleanliness of your bathroom sink.

8. What product is most often used at home to kill bacteria?

The short answer is, bleach. In fact, most cleaning products intended for use in our kitchens and bathrooms, contain chlorine. Unfortunately, chlorine doesn’t just kill bacteria. It causes damage the soft tissue of our skin during contact, to our mouth, throat, lungs, and even our eyes when we are exposed to fumes, and even worse damage is caused if chlorine is accidentally ingested, especially by a child. Thankfully, the use of a vinegar solution and a simple rinsing down of your sink with your Sink Spinner can eliminate your exposure to harsh chemicals as well as saving you from needing to rise out your sink with your hands.

 

astronaut international space station

9. Can bacteria survive the harsh climate of space?

Yes! Interestingly enough, we have even discovered 4 varieties of bacteria on the outside of the International Space Station and 3 of them were previously unknown. Apparently the sky is not the limit for bacteria, and the world is not enough. Not only can bacteria survive the dramatic climate varieties present on Earth, but they can survive the harsh climate of space and the unrelenting exposure to the Sun’s radiation. If they can survive the harsh climate of space, perhaps they can and have survived the drastically different climates of other planets as well.

10. How do bacteria stay alive on Earth?

Most bacteria feed off of starches and sugars, and other organic material they have access to. They feed off of electrons to create the energy they need, and they absorb water through the outer membrane of their body. Some need light to survive, and some do not. Certain species of bacteria prefer warmer or colder temperatures, and different acid or haline (base) levels, but no climate has been found to be completely void of bacteria. Bacteria can even group together in communities called biofilm, though this does create competition for resources at times, there’s benefit in numbers and biofilm has been shown to generate a resistance towards antibiotics.

 

These mighty machines have definitely brought a whole new meaning to not judging a book by its cover.  Although you may not be cozying up to the idea of sharing our world, and our bodies with bacteria, hopefully these facts have taught you something new and given you insight into a character that’s honestly as interesting as a single-celled organism can be. We hope you’ll allow Sink Spinner to help you keep a balance between the good and evil in the invisible war of worlds that is bacteria. We can help keep your bathroom cleaner and limit the amount of bacteria in one of the most commonly used and underappreciated places in your home, your bathroom sink!

 

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