Bacteria and fungi form biofilms on just about every wet surface, like that bowl of water you left out last night! In this biofilm state, bacteria cause 70 percent of all human bacterial infections. On underwater pipelines, biofilms cause corrosion. Such biofilms even form on seaweed. That is, except for the seaweed called Delicate Beauty.
Delicate Beauty grows off the coast of Australia, and researchers long wondered why biofilms never form on this seaweed. Researchers have now discovered that Delicate Beauty secretes chemicals called furanones. Furanones don't kill the bacteria, but prevent it from colonizing by repelling them. This observation is important because it is believed that since the furanones don't kill the bacteria, the bacteria will not develop a resistance to the furanones.
Commercial production of these chemicals is now beginning to be used in water-cooling towers to prevent biofilm buildup and in clinical trials on contact lenses to prevent bacterial growth. So far these trials have been successful, and further applications are under study.
It was not God's desire that disease and death should come into His creation because of our sin. But He knew that it would. So He stocked the creation with things for us to discover to alleviate and avoid some of our suffering in this world. Christians know that there is no disease or death in heaven.
Notes: Science Illustrated, 7-8/08, pp. 62-69, "Inspired by Nature." Photo: Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (PD). Creation Moments, Inc., P.O. Box 839, Foley, MN 56329 www.creationmoments.com