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Smart Slime

Ecclesiastes 4:9: "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour."

We all know that there is strength in numbers. Many animals have even discovered this. However, one would never expect bacteria to realize or discover anything.

One could never say that bacteria have discovered that there is strength in numbers. They have no nervous system, and their one cell doesn't even have a nucleus. They simply reproduce by dividing in half. Yet somehow some marine species of bacteria are able to sense when there are other bacteria around them. When they sense enough other bacteria around them, their metabolism changes. They begin to produce a slime that holds them together. This has been known for some time. But new research now shows that the slime, called biofilm, includes chemicals that are poisonous to the very predators that would ordinarily feed on the bacteria and their biofilm. In fact, the biofilm seems to protect the bacteria whenever they are in danger of attack. The more bacteria there are, the more biofilm they make and the more protection they have from predators.

As we have often said on Creation Moments, there are no simple forms of life. Even bacteria, which are an important part of the ecosystem, have been designed with the ability to protect themselves, something they could never have invented themselves.

Prayer: Father, while You teach us to help one another, help me to always look to Your strength for my aid. Amen.

Notes: Minneapolis Star Tribune, 7-29-08, p. A5, David Brown, "Cellmates: Research shows that bacteria, when under attack, stick together to survive."

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