Here’s a ‘Touching’ Discovery About Bacteria

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Photo: Bacteria Have Feelings
Scientists at CU Boulder say they've discovered that bacteria have electrical impulses running through them, allowing them to "feel'' what's around them.

If University of Colorado scientists are right, bacteria have a sense of touch. Meaning, the little critters can detect the cells they need to glom onto to cause an infection.

CU's research focused on E.coli and salmonella, two types of bacteria that cause food poisoning.

University biologist Joel Kralj says his lab showed bacteria have electrical activity going on inside them. If scientists can find a way to block that activity, they may be able to develop drugs for infectious diseases. The study, recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the latest focus of our series, Beta Test, exploring scientific and technological breakthroughs in the state.