Thursday, September 25, 2008

Didn't Your Mom Tell You to Wash Your Hands? The Wonders of Kingdom Monera

Did you ever wonder why you Mom told you to wash your hands before eating? Well, my biology students at New Creation Co-Operative found out the answer to that question this past Tuesday.

One of my awesome students, ZD, volunteered to have the microorganisms (a living thing too small to be seen with the naked eye) on his hands cultured (placing an microorganism on a nutritive plate to encourage its growth). We allowed the growth of the microbial colony for one week and wow...the amazing microscopic world of God's creation.

I'm not a microbiologist, but I'm thinking the pictures you see below are Staphylococcus aureus, the bacteria which live on our skin. This "germ" is the culprit for a myriad of minor skin infections including, but not limited to, pimples, impetigo, boils, cellulitis folliculitis, furuncles, carbuncles, scalded skin syndrome and abscesses to life threatening diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, osteomyelitis endocarditis, Toxic shock syndrome (TSS), and septicemia (Information from Wikipedia).

You may have heard about MRSA or the "Superbug" on the news. This virulent strain of S. aureus, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, resists traditional antibiotics and is difficult to cure concerning those in the medical field. As a former infection control nurse, it was my responsibility to monitor this type of infection and insure proper handling of it to prevent spread to others.

But what can we do to protect ourselves?

#1. Do as your mother said and wash your hands. Hand washing is the most effective way of dealing with this little culprit.

#2. Follow your doctor's instructions in taking antibiotics. Always complete the course of treatment. By only taking enough antibiotics to make you feel better, you risk only decreasing the bacterial population. The bacteria that remain have ways of "learning to" resist the antibiotic in the future.

#3. If it's wet and it's not yours, don't touch it! I learned this humorous statement in nursing school and it has stuck. It was drilled in our heads to WEAR GLOVES in this type of situation.

These beautiful golden spheres are magnified 600x.
This image is without stain.

Magnified 600x with methylene blue stain applied

A huge thank you to Mrs. Knowles for allowing our class to borrow her cool microscope with a camera!!!

Also, thanks New Creation biology class for your co-operation and interest. We're going to have an awesome year learning about God's creation!!!!


Livin' Life said...

Well, I am going to go wash my hands and probably my entire body now. :)

Classic MaMa said...

This was a way cool post. Especailly cool since today Scarlett learned about asexual reproduction. She learned that bacteria can split every 10 minutes. Okay. I learned it too. It's amazing how much you can learn when you are "teaching" homeschool students. :)

Beautiful Grace said...

Tell Scarlett I was thinking about her when I wrote this post. I got the impression she wasn't thrilled about science, but I'm gonna change her mind about that. I'll be posting in a couple of weeks regarding Kingdom Protista. I'm actually hoping to capture some pond creatures in action.

Science is awesome and God created it ALL!!!:)

TCC said...

You made me miss teaching...first - I heart biology (including micro) and second - I used to work with Mrs. K. Isn't she awesome?!?

Beautiful Grace said...


Yes, she is awesome!!

I really enjoy teaching. The kids are great. I love to watch the expressions on their faces when I say something that sparks their curiosity.

Iam4jesus said...

It's always interesting when "modern science" supports the Bible. God's word always instructed His people to wash their hands befor ethey eat - that was under the "law". But, now that we're under grace we don't have to follow the law some say. I wonder - maybe we should still wash our hands as God's law says? It's just a good idea. :)

Jenne said...

Time to take a shower!!!

Maria Matter said...

Too cool!! I wonder if a drop of Purell would increase or decrease that bacteria????
blessings, Maria

Sandy@ Jesus and Dark Chocolate said...

I must show this post to SportTman. Mr. "Whhhhhyyy do I have to wash my hands mom?"
Thanks for the pics and insight. :)