Here on Earth we are surrounded by living things, which makes it important to be able to study the complex thing called life. When studying humans, you will come across microbes that are everywhere in your body. These microbes include protozoa, fungi, bacteria, viruses, prions, and algae. According to the Weizmann Institute in Israel there are about 39 trillion bacterial cells in the human body. It is so important to study these cells so that we can determine the good and bad bacteria cells. Not all bacteria are bad for you, in fact some are essential to build your immune system, beneficial for our favorite foods, and are able to fight off diseases and some viruses.
Projects like this one will consist of several tests to determine which specific bacteria type was found. The results to the biochemical tests will then be used with a dichotomous key to achieve the end results by naming the unknown bacteria. The dichotomous key is used to single out the organism into individual groups with distinctive features. To identify the specific unknown bacteria #82, a few biochemical tests must be completed to get results. These tests can determine shape, color, gram stain, fermentation, methyl red, gelatinase, catalase, amylase, indole, sulfur reduction, urease, Simmons citrate, and nitrate reductase.
To identify unknown bacteria #82 the first step will be to do the Gram Stain method. This test is used to classify species into the groups gram-positive bacteria and gram-negative bacteria. A gram-positive test results will be purple in color, meaning that it detects a thick layer of peptidoglycan. A gram-negative test result will be pink in color, meaning the crystal violet dye did not stick to the bacteria. Without the peptidoglycan it makes these bacteria more resistant to antibodies since it is replaced with a two-layered cell wall. This should be the first test which helps to cut out at least half of the known bacteria. The ending results of this method was the unknown bacteria is gram-negative.
The next test performed was Methyl Red which tests for mixed acid fermentation by the pH broth culture. A positive test will result with the broth turning red in color, this means that a low pH was detected, and acids are produced from glucose fermentation. A negative test will be yellow in color, resulting in a higher pH, less acid was produced from the fermentation of glucose. In some cases, a result of the broth turning orange means the test was inconclusive. The results found was that unknown bacteria #82 is yellow in color, negative for Methyl Red and is the control.
The third and final test completed was the Urea, which tests to see if the enzyme Urea is used and then converted into ammonia with a high pH. If Urea is positive it will then turn the broth media orange to pink. Positive meaning that the bacteria is a rapid user of the enzyme. If the color turns yellow, this means the results were negative due to acid production. Unknown #82 changed from orange to pink, which confirms that it is a positive result for Urea. Due to the results found, unknown #82 is Proteus Mirabilis.
The tests already ran above proves that Proteus Mirabilis is a gram-negative bacterium, methyl red negative, and urea test positive. When testing for Proteus Mirabilis at a doctor’s office, a urine sample will be needed. Doctors will then check to see the motility, if swarming motility is detected they will identify the bacteria infection as Proteus Mirabilis. Proteus Mirabilis has another “sibling” called Proteus Vulgaris; they are both very similar but have a few differences. Proteus Mirabilis tests negative for Methyl Red and Indole, while Proteus Vulgaris test positive for both. Proteus Mirabilis #82 is a part of the Enterobacteriaceae family.
“Enterobacteriaceae family contains a large number of genera that are biochemically and genetically related to one another.” (Tankeshwar, 2013) Being able to identify the family of the unknown is important to limiting the possible unknown. Proteus Mirabilis has characteristics that go along with the Enterobacteriaceae family such as: motility, gram negative, short rod, anaerobes, etc. Another way to see the characteristics is to run biochemical tests and study the results. Most characteristics of the Enterobacteriaceae family will be similar, tests are used to identify the specific members of the family.
The identified bacteria Proteus Mirabilis is usually found in the intestinal tract which is why it tends to cause Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). The common symptoms of the UTI include fish odor, frequent urinations, and lower back pain. These symptoms can be caused by a variety of different things. Most commonly when someone contracts a UTI, they are now prone to them. They can be caused by sexual activity, long-term catheters, and infections from hospitals. This infection is also more common in women, but it is possible for men to contract the infection. This infection can be more harmful if left untreated.
Once Proteus Mirabilis has entered the human body and turned into a UTI, it must be treated with antibiotics. Otherwise, this infection can get into the kidneys and start to crystalize into stones. Kidney stones are much more harmful than a UTI, a person can be hospitalized with kidney stones. When treating a UTI with antibiotics it can be tricky to find the perfect fit for each person since some have severe allergies to antibiotics. Also, this bacteria has become resistant to certain types of antibiotics. When the right antibiotic has been chosen, it must be taken correctly as it will not go away on its own. To treat kidney stones is more difficult and much more painful. Most patients are admitted into the hospital and then must wait for the stone to pass through. If the stone has not passed through the patient will undergo surgery so they can remove the stones.
To prevent the infections of Proteus Mirabilis it is told to drink plenty of water each day. This will help to flush out your system while urinating. Another helpful recommendation is drinking pure cranberry juice. Even simple things such as cutting out caffeine and alcohol could make an impact. As mentioned previously, if antibiotics are not finished the infection will come back and could possibly worsen. Following doctors’ instructions can keep this minor infection to a minimum and help limit painful symptoms quickly.