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  • Enid Gonzalez-Orta

A Blog Post from Stephanie...

Soil! Many of the antibiotics we currently have are derived from soil bacteria. The diversity of soil microbes is vast, yet, we are only able to cultivated about one percent of that bacteria (Ling, 2015). From the one percent of soil bacteria that scientist were able to cultivate, we were able to get life-saving antibiotics, like penicillin. This could have been the “Magic Bullet” that Paul Ehrlich believed to have existed to kill microorganism (Gaynes, 2017). It was a serendipitous event, eventually leading to more discoveries but, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics has provided the conditions needed to become resistance (Ventola, 2015).

Alexander Fleming, the person who discovered penicillin, warned everyone about the risk of over using this new drug that was on the market (Ventola, 2015).


Fleming was right in warning us, now, we have highly resistant bacteria that can not be killed by previously discovered antibiotics, leading to an increase in deaths (Ventola, 2015). Amazing antibiotics came out of the one percent of soil bacteria that was culturable which saved so many lives, but what about the other 99%? Scientist have hit a wall when it comes to culturing the other 99% since the old methods of cultivating are not working. This is considered to be the “great plate count anomaly”; only a small fraction of bacteria is culturable in laboratory conditions (Tanaka, 2014). But, if scientist find a new way to culture to other part, it can lead to a discovery of a new class of antibiotics; to treat the multi-drug resistant bacteria. Unfortunately, there has been some lost interest in soil bacteria because of frequent re-discovery rates (Hover, 2018). This is the reason why Microbial Diversity and Ecology is an important field of study, there is so much more to discover!!

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