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Bacteria Podcast: Extras
Another example of a biofilm is the plaque that forms on your teeth between brushings. Commonly found in these films are Streptococcus mutans and anaerobic bacteria such as fusobacterium and actinobacteria. You can read more about it over on the Microbe Wiki.
The zone where plant roots and soil microorganisms interact is called the rhizosphere. It’s not always a peaceful place. While some plants and microbes have “friendly” relations, other plants secrete toxins to kill off bacteria. Researchers are studying the model organism thale cress to learn more about what happens in this subterranean zone.
There are many instances of mutalism, relationships between species that benefit each partner. Well-known examples include the oxpecker and the rhino; the clownfish and the anemone; and certain ants and the acacia tree.
Citizen Science connection:
The American Gut Project of humanfoodproject.com wants to know what constellation of bacteria has colonized your intestines. For a fee, you will be enrolled in the project and receive a kit. Return it with a stool sample and you’ll receive a profile and analysis of your gut microbiome. Despite the name, it’s a global project—participants don’t have to be U.S. residents. Want to know more? Read the detailed crowdsourcing pitch or the University of Colorado Boulder press release.