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Author Topic: How do bacteria survive stomach acid?  (Read 2425 times)

Offline thedoc

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How do bacteria survive stomach acid?
« on: 21/03/2014 14:29:07 »
How does bacteria brave the cocktail of acid in our stomach to cause food poisoning?
Asked by Steve, UEA.


                                        Visit the webpage for the podcast in which this question is answered.

 ...or Listen to the Answer or [download as MP3]

« Last Edit: 21/03/2014 14:29:07 by _system »


 

Offline thedoc

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How do bacteria survive stomach acid?
« Reply #1 on: 21/03/2014 14:29:08 »
We answered this question on the show...

Some bacteria are really tough.  They have protective layers around them that enable them to survive acid.  Some viruses actually need the acidic environment of your gut in order to infect you.  Some bacteria, such as Clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene, and Clostridium difficile (C.diff) form spores.  These spores are tiny husks of dried up bacterium, almost in suspended animation, which can pass through the stomach without being damaged and they can come back to life in the relatively nice environment of the intestines.
Other bacteria, like Helicobacter pylori, which is linked to causing stomach ulcers and stomach cancer, encode an enzyme called urease.  Urease breaks down urea which is found in low levels in all our tissues, into ammonia, which is alkaline and neutralises the acid around the bacteria.
« Last Edit: 21/03/2014 14:29:08 by _system »
 

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How do bacteria survive stomach acid?
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