Bacteria--microscopic organisms present in virtually every habitat on Earth. They are found in water, soil, and even the air we breathe. Bacteria reproduce rapidly and exist in any place conducive to their survival. Although their omnipresence is intimidating from a survival standpoint, the vast majority of bacteria are harmless. Those few that are infectious, disease-causing agents are known as pathogens. Despite their negligible size, these organisms can be lethal when they infect living things. Traditionally, bacterial infections have been treated through the use of antibiotics--powerful medicines formed from semi synthetic modifications of compounds found in nature, such as penicillin. (Pirisi, 2000) A myriad of bacteria have begun to develop resistance to these antibiotics that have become staples in medicine. In some cases, a bacterium can even carry multiple resistant genes. These bacteria are known as superbugs, and are part of the reason that scientist have begun pushing for the revival in research and widespread use of bacteriophage treatment. (Amezquita, Joakim-Larsson, & Pruden, 2013)
Bacteriophages are “good” viruses that infect and replicate within bacteria, in order to ultimately destroy them. Researchers have been trying to develop a new treatment to replace antibiotics, and bacteriophage appears to be the best option. Tests show the remarkable result of treatment with phage, but can it be too good to be true?
Purpose of Experiment
The goal of this study is to determine bacteriophage therapy’s viability as an alternative to antibiotic treatment in the case of common bacterial infections. If phage therapy is proven to be effective, this could revolutionize the way we view bacterial disease treatment.
I predict that the bacteriophage will successfully destroy the bacteria. As bacteria have been showing a steadily increasing resistance to antibiotics, scientists have been exploring other options. The bacteriophage kill by infection. They try to pierce the outer coats of the bacteria in nature and inject them with phage DNA. If successful, the DNA will take over the bacterial cells and force them to make many copies of the phage. The bacterial cells will then break apart, releasing new phage that start the process. Since phage are capable of killing other bacteria, it could be used to fight human bacterial infections such as (not yet determined).
Variables and Limitations
The independent variable in this experiment would be the bacteriophage dilution being added to the bacteria culture, measured in milliliters. Bacteria will be placed in different concentrations of bacteriophage dilution. The dependent variable is the number of plaques formed by the dilution, and will be measured in PFU (plaque-forming units)/mL. The temperature in particular will be the most important control. I will regulate it by keeping the plates and tubes in an incubator. There will be a control group of bacteria that will not...