Microbe Invasion

Microbe InvasionJust like the Earth itself, our body is a living planet, a network of ecosystems where bacteria are the dominant life form. Throughout life’s journey we are invaded and become host to an army of microscopic bugs - both good and bad.
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Humans are constantly under attack from relentless waves of microbes fighting to set up home in every living environment the body has to offer – and there’s no escape.

With some of the world’s leading microbial experts guiding the way and through extensive use of computer graphics, this fifty minute documentary takes us into the world of bacteria and bugs as we’ve never seen them before and demonstrates that we need them as much as they need us.

Just like the Earth itself, our body is a living planet, a network of ecosystems where bacteria are the dominant life form. The womb is the only environment where we are free of bacteria. But, throughout life’s journey, as we travel from the birth canal to death and beyond, we are invaded and become host to, an army of bacteria and other microscopic bugs – both good and bad.

Science is fast discovering that our entire lives are spent in partnership with microbial allies. After thirty years of research into sore throats and rheumatic fever, Professor John Tagg, of New Zealand’s Otago University, has discovered that not only are some strains of Streptococci harmless, but at least one produces its own natural antibiotic, known as BLIS.

Meanwhile other microorganisms are swallowed and find themselves on a one way trip through the human gut. We have a kilogram and a half of bacteria in our gut which scientists now say constitute an organ, as important to us as our liver and kidneys.

The colon is bacteria heaven. This is where the bacterial population explodes, fueled by fiber. As bad bacteria reproduce and grow they often give themselves away by broadcasting toxins into the area. If our bacterial allies decide there are too many bad bugs in the neighborhood, they’ll attack them with their own biochemical weapons. But when the bad bugs are overwhelming, the immune system just evacuates the area – which we know as vomiting or a bad case of the runs.

But what of the one final journey that we and our microbes make together, the journey to death and beyond? At perhaps one of the most macabre research laboratories ever, a team from the University of Tennessee are studying the processes of decay to help criminal investigators identify the time and cause of death. Dozens of bodies lie about in various stages of decay as the microbes work from the inside out and the outside in.

No matter where we are in life’s journey we’re never alone – we’re always accompanied by our microbial allies, the armies of the microbe invasion.

©2002 Natural History New Zealand Ltd

NTSC Widescreen 16:9 – Total Running Time: 50-minutes

DVD -R LogoThis program was duplicated to DVD-R media. Click for terms of sale

Interesting Links:

Professor John Tagg
Probiotics to Remedy Antibiotic Effects
Click for the Full Script of this Program

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