Remember “Where Was I, Episode 3?”

Picture of sausage-link-like bacilli

Hi! My name is Willy Bacillus!

“I came from the Portneuf river in Pocatello. I grew in 10% NaCl and I look like slime-coated sausage links. I’m purple in this picture because I’ve been Gram stained. People used to think I was just a strain of Bacillus subtilis, but I’m really Bacillus atrophaeus“.

Yes, I named my bacterial isolates. I figured if we had to give them some arbitrary designation, naming them like hurricanes was just as good as some bizarre system with names like “ZXKUQYB276” or something equally boring.

Unfortunately, we had so much trouble getting the PCR reactions to work we ended up just pooling the class’ sequences rather than having all our own. That means I only got this one. (Actually, it looked like one of my others worked, but not well enough to give enough DNA to sequence.)

I’m trying to talk the instructor into letting me do a 1-credit “Independent Study” session next semester to try to finish getting good sequence identification of Pyotr, Paul, Olga, Ursula, Peggy, Penny, Ada, Horace, and Castor.

The first seven of those all produced fluorescent stuff (probably siderophores, I’m guessing) and while I suspect they’re probably all Pseudomonas species, and almost certainly all gamma-proteobacteria, I was told they actually could be quite different, and I’d really like to find out just how different they really are. Plus, Horace the Thermophile was just kind of neat-looking in the microscope.

Yes…I am a nerd.

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The Author is (currently) an autodidactic student of Industrial and Environmental microbiology, who is sick of people assuming all microbiology should be medical in nature, and who would really like to be allowed to go to graduate school one of these days now that he's finished his BS in Microbiology (with a bonus AS in Chemistry). He also enjoys exploring the Big Room (the one with the really high blue ceiling and big light that tracks from one side to the other every day) and looking at its contents from unusual mental angles.

One thought on “Remember “Where Was I, Episode 3?””

  1. But your nerdiness is nifty! And yes, actually, I DO want to hear about how gram staining works. Just because I’m not ambitious enough to go back to school doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy learning on my own terms. 🙂 Besides, you’re fun to learn from. 🙂

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