Episode Summary

Bacteria that can store sugar as glycogen have multiple advantages when food is only available sporadically!

Microbe of the episode

Microbe of the episode: Carnivore bocaparvovirus 3

Jesse's takeaways

Almost all habitats experience some sort of change and fluctuation; very few are totally stable, depending on the timeframe. So strategies to change and adapt with changing conditions can greatly help an organism thrive. For example, methods of storing energy are helpful when food is only available sporadically.
Some bacteria, like humans, can store sugar in a polymer called glycogen, which can be quickly produced when food is abundant and quickly broken down to ease a transition to fasting. In this study, bacteria that could produce and use glycogen were able to stay active longer and grow better in the face of intermittent starvation. They were even better able to acquire new food when more became available.

Journal Paper

Sekar K, Linker SM, Nguyen J, Grünhagen A, Stocker R, Sauer U. 2020. Bacterial Glycogen Provides Short-Term Benefits in Changing Environments. Appl Environ Microbiol 86.

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