The research team, consisting of biologists from Belgium, Spain, and Korea as well as multiple researchers from IU released a study regarding the growth of a specific type of bacteria called Agrobacteria. The study found that instead of expanding uniformly along the bacteria, the new growth occurs at only the end of a given cell. Essentially that means researches have a better understanding of how to control the growth of bacteria.
IU Biology Professor, Clay Fuqua, championed the medical benefits of exploiting the newly discovered growth process by comparing it to bacterial growth inhibitors such as penicillin.
“It’s an antibiotic that blocks cellular growth but it specifically targets functions that in other bacteria are involved in this distributive growth that was described. New antibiotics would be analogous to penicillin but would target this polar growth mechanism specifically,” Fuqua says.
There are many benefits to stopping or controlling the growth of bacteria. Knowledge about this newly found growth process could lead to the prevention of infectious diseases and the rescue of agricultural crops from plant pathogens.
Pamela Brown, an Indiana University research associate, says the implications for this discovery are potentially wide reaching.
“It’s really important to understand how these bacteria are influencing our lives and our world and to be better able to both exploit them to do good for us and to prevent them from doing harm to us in our environment,” Brown says.
Researchers have been studying the bacteria for years but this is the first time they’ve witnessed the process.