Serratia

If you don't like bacteria, you're on the wrong planet - Stewart Brand

Serratia

image by: American Society for Microbiology
     

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The Killer Bacteria Hall of Fame no doubt houses the usual suspects: Yersinia pestis, perpetrator of the Plague; Treponema pallidum, the spiral-shaped culprit in syphilis; and Vibrio cholerae, the swimmer that causes cholera. But you have probably never heard of one of the inductees.

Serratia marcescens is a forgotten but ubiquitous bacterium that can produce a red pigment called prodigiosin and likes to hang out as a pink film in the shower grout and toilet bowls of less-than-scrupulously clean homes. The pigment is so persistent that giant amoebas called slime molds that dine on S. marcescens turn red just as flamingoes that eat…

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Last Updated : Monday, July 27, 2020