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Bacillus Anthracis Biological & Biomedical Sciences Research Paper (Research Paper Sample)




Bacillus Anthracis
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Bacillus Anthracis
General Description
Bacillus anthracis is a rod-shaped, spore-bearing bacteria that is responsible for anthrax. (Spencer, 2003). It is classified under to the Bacillus species, within the B cereus together with other organisms such as the B. Cereus, B. mycoides, and B thuringiensis. The bacterium is quite large with 1–1.5 × 3–10 μm. It is gram-positive, which means that its cell wall is comprised of a thicker peptidoglycan middle layer (Koehler, 2009). The bacteria produce spores, which thermo, radiation, and disinfectant resistant
Bacillus anthracis contains non-functional flagella, renders the organism, immotile. However, it is important to note that the organism does contain a single flagellin gene. Although, four of the necessary proteins have undergone point mutations and frameshifts, making them non-functional (Turnbull, 2008). Bacillus anthracis also contains an anti-phagocytic capsule, which is unique in the sense that is composed of the amino acid glutamine, instead of polysaccharides, that is present in other members of the Bacillus species (Koehler, 2009).
Metabolism specifics
Bacillus anthracis several modules of metabolism. The main pathway for carbohydrate metabolism is glycolysis, pyruvate oxidation, TCA cycle, and Pentose phosphate pathway, to break down carbohydrates (Yu et al., 2011). In energy metabolism, the bacteria have adopted carbon fixation, methane, nitrogen, and Sulphur metabolism and ATP metabolism. Lipid metabolism includes fatty acid metabolism, biosynthesis of sterol, and lipid metabolism. The bacteria utilize purine metabolism and pyrimidine metabolism to produce nucleotide. Bacillus anthracis has well-developed metabolism pathways to produce 24 more major amino acids, namely, serine and threonine, cysteine and methionine biosynthesis, lysine, and arginine and histidine (Yu et al., 2011). The bacteria have well-developed pathways for cofactors and vitamins such as riboflavin, NAD biosynthesis, synthesis of Coenzyme A, and Biotin. Other major metabolic pathways include metabolism of glycan, co-factors, and terpenoid and polyketides (Yu et al., 2011).
Environmental conditions
The vegetative form of Bacillus anthracis is a facultative anaerobe, which can utilize carbon dioxide for energy production, in absence of oxygen (Spencer, 2003). However, Bacillus anthracis forms spores when exposed to an environment that is nutrient deficient, which can survive in the environment for decades, up to 75 years. Oxygen and nutrients are necessary for the spores to germinate, and these conditions are easily found in human or animal tissue or blood. The bacteria sporulates quickly in areas with low-lying mash, where the soil has a pH of 5.0 to 8.0, making them neutrophils (Spencer, 2003). The bacteria also thrive in soil rich in calcium and nitrates. While the spores are resistant to heat, the vegetative form is a mesophile, which thrives at temperatures of an average of 370c. They are easily destroyed by heat temperatures above 430c (Spencer, 2003).

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