We sent an interview Tellagami to a man called Stuart Allen who is actually a brilliant scientist at the University of Northampton. He is a Doctor of Microbiology! He told us a lot about what he does in the lab and about what he thinks is important in microbiology. Stuart has spilt some dangerous organisms on him but luckily he was wearing his gloves and his labcoat! Here is the interview we sent and Dr Allens reply.We hope you find it as interesting as we do!
Sorry for the delay – marking and exam time of year!
Answers…… to great questions.
Answer 1: Humans have many defences to microbes, including Skin, tears, immune cells, saliva, stomach acid, mucus and we have many good bacteria and yeast on our skin that stop dangerous microbes from growing.
Answer 2: The worst symptoms of a bacterial infection are when the infection causes the skin to die and then turn black; this might mean that arms or legs have to be amputated in the more serious infections. Examples of bacteria that cause skin to die and turn black include Bacillus anthracis and Clostridium perfringens.
Answer 3: There are many good bacteria and yeast that protect us. These include those found on our skin such as Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans. There are more bacteria on our skin than we have in our body! These good bacteria protect us from dangerous pathogenic bacteria by creating an environment that the bad bacteria do not like and will not grow.
Answer 4: Yes, I have split a dangerous organism on me. I was training to be a scientist and made a mistake, and I spilt Listeria monocytogenes on my laboratory bench and this ran onto my lab coat. Luckily I was wearing a lab coat and gloves, which I had to have decontaminated. I made sure I washed my hands and cleaned up the spillage. I did not get ill, so I must have cleaned everything really well. Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogenic bacteria that is often associated with unwashed food. It can cause the person who ingests it to become ill, with symptoms that include sickness and diarrhoea. Make sure your food is washed before you eat or cook it, especially if it says so on the packet.