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Pseudomonas aeruginosa

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This colorized version depicts a scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a number of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a gram-negative, rod-shaped, asporogenous, and monoflagellated bacterium that has an incredible nutritional versatility. It is about 1-5 µm in length and about 0.5-1.0 µm in breadth and is an obligate aerobe, which means it requires oxygen and uses aerobic respiration as its choice of metabolism. Due to its capability to synthesize arginine, P. aeruginosa can also proliferate in anaerobic conditions. This, then, makes P. aeruginosa a very ubiquitous microorganism, for it has been found in environments such as soil, water, humans, animals, plants, sewage, and hospitals. In all oligotropic aquatic ecosystems, which contain high-dissolved oxygen content but low plant nutrients throughout, P.aeruginosa is the predominant inhabitant and this clearly makes it the most abundant organism on earth.

P.aeruginosa is an opportunistic human pathogen. It is “opportunistic” because it seldom infects healthy individuals. Instead, it often colonizes immunocompromised patients, like those with cystic fibrosis, cancer, or AIDS. It is such a potent pathogen that firstly, it attacks up two thirds of the critically-ill hospitalized patients, and this usually portends more invasive diseases. Secondly, P.aeruginosa is the leading etiology for Gram-negative bacteria at most medical centers, carrying a 40-60% mortality rate. Thirdly, it complicates 90% of cystic fibrosis deaths; and lastly, it is always listed as one of the top three most frequent Gram-negative pathogens and is linked to the worst visual diseases. Furthermore, P.aeruginosa is a very important soil bacterium that is capable of breaking down polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and making rhamnolipids, quinolones, hydrogen cyanide, phenazines, and lectins. It also exhibits intrinsic resistance to a lot of different types of chemotherapeutic agents and antibiotics, making it a very hard pathogen to eliminate.

Content Source: Microbewiki
Photo Credit: Janice Haney Carr, CDC
 
 

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