Saturday June 10, 2017
Bacteria turns poop blue when you're sick
more stories from this episode
- Your baby can recognize the shapes of faces before it's even born
- Bacteria turns poop blue when you're sick
- Hear the tune that explains the deep space mystery of Trappist-1
- This autism prediction breakthrough could help with early treatment
- Cannibal insects get hungrier in a warming climate
- What's with all those red-bearded hockey players?
- Full Episode
Bacteria can be engineered to perform various tasks. For example bacteria has been engineered to make valuable proteins for medical use, and to make enzymes that are used to help degrade toxic chemicals when spills occur. But a new study by Dr. David Riglar from the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School in Boston has engineered bacteria in the gut of mice for diagnostic purposes.
The bacteria can remain in the gut of the mice for up to six months and can detect a molecule associated with a particular illness, in this case inflammation. When a fecal sample is analyzed for the molecule, the bacteria has also been designed to turn blue if the inflammation is present.
It is hoped that this technique can be applied to the detection of inflammatory illnesses like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Crohn's Disease in humans, and possibly used as an early warning sentinel of other diseases at some point, including cancer.