Over the last year, it's become more and more apparent that I do, in fact, have recurrent cystitis. Having cystitis is a bit like entering the matrix - until I had my first attack I'd never even known it was a disease.
I'm having a bit of a break this weekend catching up with my Dads-in-law. I'm pleased to present a guest post from Andy Wang who works as a Microbiology Research Associate at Emeryville Pharmaceutical Services .
A lot of the research that gets highlighted on this blog is academic, providing fascinating insights into bacterial behaviour and potential antibiotic targets.
Each year, the iGEM competition encourages undergraduates from all over the world to create synthetic bacterial machines by organising modular pieces of genome.
As far as bacteria are concerned, other living creatures are just another niche to exploit, which means that pretty much every animal and plant has a set of bacterial pathogens that come along with it.
There is more than one type of genetic material within the cell. As well as DNA, which stores the code for making cellular protiens, there is also RNA, which contains similar snatches of code but is less stable and more mobile than DNA.
I've been on holiday for the last few days, so haven't had much time to read papers about bacteria. What I have been doing, however, is looking at butterflies.
In order to survive in complex and interesting environments in the wild, bacteria have a whole arsenal of chemical products that they make within the cell.
The soil is not just a single environment. To human eyes it may look like a brown layer of plant mush that fits into the rocks, but for a living environment it is highly complex.
Thursday 26th July saw the launch of SciLogs.com, a new English language science blog network. SciLogs.com, the brand-new home for Nature Network bloggers, forms part of the SciLogs international collection of blogs which already exist in German, Spanish and Dutch.
There's been a lot of focus on the human microbiome recently, and while I'm obviously thrilled at anything which makes people think more about bacteria it's easy to forget that it isn't just humans who provide internal living space for bugs.
Unlike animals, plants do not have a circulating blood system containing cell capable of fighting off bacterial invasion. Instead, they have to rely on various other techniques, which I covered in detail way back on my old Field of Science blog.
I've been getting quite into the human microbiome lately, covering both vaginal bacteria and digestive tract bacteria. One thing I thought it might be interesting to highlight is that we talk about the human "microbiome" rather than the human "bacteriome" because it contains a range of microbial species including bacteria, fungi and even possibly blastocysts.
Back in the mists of blogging time Ed Yong set up the yearly tradition on his blog of asking readers to delurk and leave a small post in the comments about themselves.
Last weeks post on the changing composition of bacteria in the vagina generated a lot of interest, and as there's been quite a of talk about the human microbiome (all the bacteria that live on the human body) at the moment I thought I'd stick with the theme.
One thing that becomes more clear with each piece of research is that the human body is a hive of mostly harmless bacteria that live in any crevice they can reach while affecting their human host as little as possible.
One of the first things you learn in bacteriology is that bacteria come in different shapes. Not a huge range of shapes admittedly, but the main shapes are spherical, rod-shaped, or spiral.
Although this blog tends to deal almost exclusively with the life and times of bacteria occasionally I find something else that catches my fancy, and over the long bank holiday weekend I visited a wildlife park.
In multicellular organisms it is essential that every cell behaves and does the job it was produced to perform. The survival of a multicellular organism depends on this - every cell in your body is tightly controlled in terms of how big it can grow (fairly big), when it can reproduce (almost never) and what sort of metabolic processes it may carry out.
It's been an interesting week for the story of ancient bacterial diseases. My post last Saturday discussed how the bacteria that cause leprosy and whooping cough might have been present in the early hominids.