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Bacteria - Land -

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(generated from captions) remains a mystery. The origin of bacteria

bacteria colonised the Earth Some scientists believe after arriving aboard meteorites. Earth resembled an inferno In the beginning, and carbon dioxide. composed of methane, ammonia this inhospitable environment Paradoxically, for warming the planet. was responsible SOARING DRAMATIC MUSIC The first forms of life appeared... bacteria. planet, reproducing by duplication. Our ancestors rapidly invaded our

all environments, they diversified. Then, to adapt themselves to on the ancestors of humanity. This man is walking are our ancestors. Australian cyanobacteria is not on vacation. Dr Kenneth McNamara He studies these blocks  calcium-carbonate apartment block - stromatolites, a sort of floor by floor. that the cyanobacteria built are still quite young. The stromatolites of Shark Bay and still growing. They are only 3500 years old for understanding our origins. They provide excellent material DRAMATIC MUSIC Dr Kathleen Grey and Dr McNamara at an early age. fell into the culture broth that cyanobacteria, Both are convinced these algae-like bacteria, the atmosphere breathable. were responsible for making formed these layered structures, Over time, the cyanobacteria the stromatolites. hundreds of years, Each layer represents and as Dr Kathleen Grey explains... the oldest, most convincing life. In Australia, we've got

were probably not fish or monkeys, Our oldest ancestors as most people believe, but bacteria, fossils in the world and finding some of the oldest

experiences in my life. has been one of the most exciting like this If you put your arm out with your fingertip... and touch your nose

4600 million years ago. This is the time the Earth began,

on Earth about your shoulder, The very first life appeared and that was bacteria. the length of your arm - Then for a huge period of time - except bacteria. there was nothing else around much very rapid evolution Then we had suddenly about the time of your wrist. and fish appeared. This is where the first plants the dinosaurs were. This is about where If you take a nail-file the tip of your fingernail, and just scrape off man's evolution occurred this is where all of man's existence on Earth. and you've wiped out

During the two billion years the only form of life on Earth, when bacteria were into an earthly paradise. they helped to transform the inferno that our cells developed It has now been proven from the fusion of two bacteria. Strength in numbers. gradually transformed itself One of these bacteria what we call mitochondria. into the cell's power-plants, of all our movements. Mitochondria are at the source Energy is life! to a great variety of life forms. This fusion gave rise In those far-off times, were constant. electrical phenomena, like lightning,

may have contributed Electrical shocks to creating this diversity, of DNA exchanges between bacteria. by increasing the frequency has included her bacterial ancestors. In her family album, Dr Kathleen Grey think that life may have evolved Today many scientists at the same time, on both Earth and Mars future prospects so one of the exciting for fossilised bacteria on Mars. is to hunt Thanks to meteorites, from Mars to Earth. bacteria may have hitched a ride the thermal shock of 3600 degrees C But how did they resist when they entered the atmosphere? debris from Martian meteorites To answer this, NASA is studying that fell into the Atlantic Ocean. living bacteria to Earth MAN: Meteorites that might bring heat up in the atmosphere, and people for many years that might be brought in. thought that would kill any life that is absolutely not true. But it turns out never heats up. The inside of the meteorite and the inside stays frozen. It's only the outer skin, is going to survive So any bacteria inside there in your refrigerator. just as it would Dr David McKay has discovered Using electron microscopy, fossils of minute bacteria traces of what could be on the Martian meteorite ALH 84001. But his discovery is contested. of terrestrial contamination. There are even suggestions began with extraterrestrial bacteria. According to Dr McKay, life on Earth Impossible? Incredible, yes! NEWSREEL-STYLE: Impossible, no. found live bacteria On the Moon, the Apollo 12 mission left there two years earlier on a surveillance camera by a previous NASA mission. our bacteria lying about. In the future, let's not leave We must be prepared! That is John Rummel's job at NASA. Being prepared. See your badge here? Yes, sir. How're you today? Yes, indeed. You have a safety badge? Not at all. Okay, thanks. Mind if I look in your briefcase? a Planetary Protection Officer. John Rummel is No, this job really exists. A remake of 'Men in Black'? Ready for the test. mono-layers ready to go. We've got several Let's get it going. The bacteria are in place. John, everything is aligned here. Let's close the door Excellent, Andrew. to Mars' atmospheric pressure. then we'll pump it down an antibacterial suit John Rummel must put on a sterilisation chamber and pass through the robots being prepared for Mars. before he can gain access to allowed 300,000 bacterial spores JOHN: A Mars lander is currently on the vehicle. Which is about the same number drinking water you'd buy at a store. you'd find in half a bottle of To monitor this threshold, from each robot. 4500 samples are taken artificially to other worlds, JOHN: When we send spacecraft we want to keep contamination up really did make the trip naturally, so we can find out whether microbes and perhaps if we're all Martians. Detecting life on Mars is hard. One indirect method that the Beagle II lander is using is to try to sniff for methane... and would seek to suggest that if you find methane on Mars, it must come from very tiny bacterial farts. LAUNCH COUNTDOWN A front-row spectator, John Rummel, Planetary Protection Officer, has the power to cancel any NASA flight in order to avoid the contamination of other planets. We are not on the Red Planet, but in Senegal, on Pink Lake. On Earth, extremophile bacteria are capable of surviving, a little like extraterrestrials might do, in the most inhospitable places... boiling geysers, the deep ocean floor and alkaline lakes. This immense ultra-salty lake is pink due to the pink pigment produced by the innumerable bacteria milling about in it. The salt concentration would kill any fish. So the humans living here have become salt gatherers. In these extreme saline conditions, only bacteria can survive. Bernard Olivier is a specialist in the behaviour of these extremophile bacteria. QUIRKY AFRICAN-STYLE MUSIC This human chain is harvesting saline extremophile bacteria. Bernard hopes to identify new species, since he knows these bacteria do not live on love and fresh water alone. These bacteria do not die from dehydration by the salt. They know how to conserve their water. In fact, they are so well adapted they find a salt-free diet unbearable. Bernard is convinced a study of the bacteria's adaptation will lead him to new applications. In fact, we use them already in tanning creams and food colouring. You have to keep your wits about you when you go bacteria fishing. In Bernard's sample,

each colour represents bacteria with different functions. So, well ahead of us,

these bacteria invented the division of labour. But this doesn't stop Bernard searching in the bacterial salts. In the meantime, Bernard practises "bacterial therapy" for relaxation. In Iceland, people adore bacterial baths for their powerful skin-hydrating properties. Dr Viggo Marteinsson collects extremophile micro-organisms in hot springs throughout the country. The Icelandic bacteria fear neither cold nor heat. In fact, they exist quite happily between +100C for the thermophiles and -12C. For the heat, they have a membrane that prevents them from melting and for the cold, a type of antifreeze. Viggo remarks that these rosary-bead-like extremophile bacteria

bear a strange resemblance to our cyanobacterial ancestors. With its thousands of hot springs and geysers, Iceland has become the biggest natural laboratory in the world. From 100 to 10,000 species of bacteria live in these springs, depending on their acidity. According to Viggo, these springs represent open-air culture media. Only 1% of the bacteria can be grown in the laboratory. Each time, it's like a treasure hunt trying to locate the thousands of bacterial cultures scattered about this immense land resembling the Earth in its original state. Today, despite the progress made in chemical technology, it is difficult to create new molecules, so we must look for them in nature. One of the advantages of thermophilic bacteria is their enzymes which resist temperatures of over 85 degrees C. These "dirt-eating" enzymes can be used at high temperatures - for example, in medical tests or to destroy grease in textile fibres. Thermophilic bacteria have been patented for many industrial applications. Viggo has taken part in several expeditions with the French research institute Ifremer, to collect the most extreme thermophilic bacteria. The deep ocean floor is the only place where the water temperature can go above 100C without evaporating,

because of the very high water pressure. On the ocean floor, at depths of between 2000 and 4000 metres, lives a very strange fauna. Its diversity was totally unknown to us until a few years ago. But where are the thermophilic bacteria to be found? Close to these black chimneys emitting sulphur clouds, the temperature reaches over 350 degrees C. Worms, giant or minute, proliferate there thanks to their bacteria farms. Samples are taken here

in the aim of revealing the secrets of these worms' diets. This is the mouth of a one-millimetre-long worm, enlarged thousands of times with the electron microscope to enable us to observe the miniscule bacteria. The worm's digestive tube has been replaced with a pouch of bacteria. To survive, these worms cultivate the bacteria and feed them with the toxic sulphur emitted by the chimneys. In other words, the bacteria serve both as food and as filters. According to Jean Guezennec, these bacteria have real industrial potential. The weight of bacteria in the sea is greater than that of the worms and fish put together. So the experimental field is fathomless.

In other words, the bacteria secrete molecules that could boost our immune system by providing our antibodies with better arms. Throughout history, epidemics of bacterial origin have killed 1000 times more people than all the wars. Epidemics of plague caused by the bacterium 'Yersinia pestis'... of cholera with 'Vibrio cholerae'... gangrene with 'Clostridium'. In the Middle Ages, the bacterium Serratia caused blood-red spots to appear suddenly on the communion wafers. This invisible cause provoked the massacre of hundreds of Jews by the clergy. With the arrival of the microscope in the 16th century, bacteria could be observed for the first time and were baptised "animalcules". But the world had to wait until the 19th century for Louis Pasteur to understand the role of bacteria. Pasteur won the day in spite of his detractors and the era of pasteurisation began. A good bacterium is a dead bacterium.

And yet it was thanks to a micro-organism that Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928. He was responsible for saving millions of human lives with the first antibiotic. SLURPS AND GULPS We're not making it up. In fact, our immune system was the first to come up with the idea of using bacteria. WATERY RUMBLING The greatest concentration of bacteria is found in our digestive system. Over 400 species line the walls of the large intestine, constituting our intestinal flora. They form a living barrier against dangerous bacteria. MUNCHING But how is this flora renewed? Most bacteria are destroyed by the acid secretions of the stomach. However, certain bacteria, through their abundance or their resistance, come through the stomach alive, like the bacteria in yoghurts. Scandinavian researchers have come up with the idea of adding good bacteria to widely consumed foods such as fruit juices. A single pot of yoghurt contains more bacteria than there are humans on Earth. The idea is to add bacteria with therapeutic properties to yoghurts. But will they assert themselves in the jungle of the digestive tube? MAN: Good bacteria like 'Lactobacillus plantarum' has been in our food for thousands, maybe millions of years. But that situation has changed since we introduced refrigerators and also antibiotic cures became more common and also the way we process food. This has created problems for our digestive flora so that more negative bacteria has entered into the gut, and we're trying to change that, to put back the good bacteria. It remains to be proven, as the Swedish Academy claims, that these "good" bacteria are capable of replacing harmful ones. No need to eat yoghurt to get your fill of bacteria! With a simple kiss, we exchange thousands of co-residents. Bacteria colonise everything... our mouths, our tongues, our teeth. Some are responsible for this tooth decay, others for our bad breath. There are 10 billion of them in our mouths alone. On the surface of our skin, we have a trillion. If you weigh 75 kilos, you have over one kilo of bacteria. But don't worry. Only one bacterium in 1000 is pathogenic. Despite this abundance, Africans used to apply bacteria contained in mud to their skin, in particular to protect themselves against leprosy. Only the old people remember, and the mud is applied less and less frequently to the skin. They may not realise it,

but the doses of bacteria they're inhaling from this mud and the environment that they're putting on themselves are modulating their immunity by giving them protection from diseases which are a real plague in our modern society. Yes, our society is so sterile we don't get the experience we need to build up a decent immune system. These people do. John Stanford is a professor at the University College in London. Antibiotics don't only kill the bacteria you want them to kill but they kill all the other bacteria that are actually good for you. The new approach is that we add another level of recognition. We modify the immune system so that will recognise organisms that are the enemy within you and wipe them out. According to John Stanford, 'Mycobacterium vaccae', one of the bacteria found in soil, would appear to stimulate the immune system. In the future, I see this as being the first of the immunomodulators, which are able to change the immune system to a beneficial way of working, so that many diseases can come under control. Whatever disease you like to choose, more people don't get it than do. Those people that don't get it have the right form of immunity.

If we could make this go over so it covers everybody, then many of the diseases could be reduced in incidence and made more easy to treat. John is conducting his first tests of bacterial vaccines on calves. With this method, he can offer farmers an alternative to antibiotics. Indeed, the European legislation limits the use of antibiotics in animal feed. John is also testing the vaccine on a human guinea pig. His wife! Ready? Ready? Yes. The results are encouraging and new soil samples are being collected in Africa. The bacterium 'Mycobacterium vaccae' is extracted from the soil and from the skin. It's then killed to make the vaccine. Dead bacteria are sufficient stimulation for our immune system. Like deserts, the arid regions of our skin are sparsely populated. In the armpits, life abounds as in a tropical rainforest. When we use soap too often, we destroy this protective mantle. Without this natural barrier, fearsome bacteria, like the 'Staphylococcus aureus', can settle in. Even though it is important to wash our hands, excessive hygiene can be dangerous. And yet, all over the world, we chase away our friendly lodgers with antibacterial soaps. JINGLE On the other side of the coin, bacteria-based soaps are manufactured in India. Sunil is the director of the Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra Institute. He campaigns for the benefits of soaps and medications containing the bacteria found in cow manure, among other ingredients. All Sunil's research centre is doing is reviving the 4000-year-old recipes of Ayurvedic medicine. In the town of Nagpur, thousands of patients are treated with sacred bacteria resulting from the fermentation of rare grasses in the cow's intestines. Many doctors have adopted these bacterial remedies. In the countryside, where people have no money but plenty of cows and ideas, they opt for direct contact between the bacteria and the skin. Applied from head to toe - to the delight of the village dog. RUMBLING A hundred grams of our intimate waste contains billions of bacteria.

In his lifetime, a man will produce six tons of excrement. In a single day, the planet's inhabitants make over 12 million tons. Since we don't want to wallow in it, we have had to take action. While faecal bacteria may be inexhaustible, the same cannot be said for our natural resources - gas, oil, coal. Even if one day there is no more oil, we will still be going to the toilet. CHINESE MUSIC

Mr Liu Ying is director of the Chinese Biogas Institute. Mr Liu Ying begins every day with a civic gesture. At Biogas, all faeces are recycled, even those of Comrade Director. And it works! The gas produced by bacterial fermentation

serves as an energy source. This energy can be used for lighting, heating or cooking. Mr Liu Ying checks the incandescence of this light bulb,

between 60 and 100 watts, to gauge how well the bacteria are performing.

Without knowing it, more than one person in ten in the world uses energy derived from the fermentation of faecal bacteria. But in China, even factories run on biogas. The excrement is stocked in giant vats. Smoking is forbidden because of the hundreds of pipes filled with fermented gas. Since the faeces of employees and neighbouring villages are not enough to keep the factory going, pigs are raised within the grounds of the factory which uses the pig manure with its high concentration of bacteria. Over the past 20 years, China has installed millions of biogas digesters for private citizens. Every person who builds this type of installation receives assistance from the government. This new vat is the latest model on the market. Mr Liu Ying regularly gives advice to people in the community so they obtain the best results from their raw matter. In private homes, the biogas plant covers 60% of the household energy requirements. And it even works for cooking. To be equipped with a biogas plant is even regarded as a status symbol. However, the bacterial pressure can become extremely high, so the vat must be checked regularly. If not, there is a risk of explosion. Mr Liu Ying intends to conquer other markets. Tomorrow we will run on clean fuel, thanks to our faecal bacteria.

NEWSREEL-STYLE: The first "bacterial industrialists" were surely wine and cheese makers,

unaware of the presence of bacteria. They attributed the transformation of their products to the gods. Our elders could hardly have imagined

that their existence depended on the goodwill of bacteria. Today, thanks to bacteria, scientists are inventing a new way of life. Many bacteria have been patented. Bacteria can be found in electro-acoustic speakers, to improve sound quality. Paintings have been restored by bacteria. These luminescent bacteria light up with their own energy. Others serve as living power packs. Engorged with microbes, they provide cheap and environmentally-friendly lighting. These ones pointing north can replace our compasses. Mind-boggling! Bacteria can even be put in our underwear but this time to eliminate odours. Bacteria are useful for washing not only clothes, but buildings as well. Jean Francois Loubiere uses bacteria to treat historic monuments. Small but effective, 2.5 grams of the bacterium 'Bacillus cereus' will help protect dozens of square metres of Notre Dame in Paris against the ravages of time. This bacterium treats the stone by producing a mantle of calcium carbonate, which protects against water and ice. Observed with the electron microscope, the millions of bacteria appear to be creating a mesh that covers the areas of disintegrating stone. Jean-Francois is considering a new patent, in which his bacteria, in the form of biological mortar, will be used to rebuild damaged stone statues. Jean-Francois' bacteria are extremely popular with architects, who have changed their approach over the past few years.

Jean-Francois' career as an inventor began with his discovery of some strange rocks in a cave that seemed to have been protected from time. This protective layer had been deposited by very efficient calcium-carbonate-producing bacteria. The goldmines of South Africa, Australia and Brazil successfully use microbes to improve their production. These Thiobacillus bacteria are alchemists. They produce acid, which dissolves the ore and concentrates the gold particles on the surface of the rock. By employing bacteria, humans are doing nothing more than accelerating the process of gold accumulation. PING! While some bacteria attract gold, others trap nitrogen. Infertile desert soils always lack nitrogen and water, so why not use bacteria to re-green the deserts? Trees can be made more resistant to the climate if they get bacteria-based cocktails to drink. The destitute farmers show interest in this economical method. But can they be sure it's not a mirage? In Senegal, scientists are working on selecting the best nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These bacteria multiply in culture dishes. They are then mixed into the watering bottles. The next step is to observe, in the greenhouses, which bacteria are the most effective. Some bacterial strains can attain a concentration of more than one billion per gram of root. A truly natural fertiliser. Yannick Combet-Blanc, of the French Institute of Research and Development, is seeking the means of fighting the battle against the plastics that pollute our environment and invade towns in poor countries. But how can a low-cost biodegradable plastic be produced? The solution is plastic made from a natural product, such as lactic acid. The bacteria love it and digest it perfectly well. But how can large quantities of lactic acid be produced? Yannick has discovered a very hard-working lactobacillus.

This is the bacterium implicated in the fermentation of a natural product - palm wine. Yannick isn't as crazy as he seems. Rather than drinking the palm wine, he's observed that thanks to a bacterium, the wine ferments in a few hours.

The bacterium can produce huge quantities of lactic acid from sugar and palm sap. In a context where sugar manufacturers are looking for ways of using their production surplus, these bacteria have a brilliant future ahead of them - and not just in the shade of palm trees. From these samples, Yannick has isolated his famous bacterium which will enable the industrial manufacture of biodegradable plastics. And with the leftover palm wine, Yannick has made many people happy. Palm wine is not all bad. Biodegrader, recycler, depolluter... Today, bacteria are required to swallow everything... our oil slicks, wastewater, chemical pollution. Among bacteria, gluttony is not a deadly sin. In fact, most bacteria know how to degrade pollutants more or less effectively. But what about the most indigestible pollutant? Radioactive waste. It could well be that a superhero has been found to do that, a bacterium capable of resisting very strong radiation... doses 3000 times the dose that would kill a human. Because of this bacterium's superior powers, it has been baptised "Super Conan". If Conan's DNA explodes under the effects of radiation, Conan can repair it in less than 24 hours by collecting the broken fragments using those that are still intact. EXPLOSION However, in the event of a nuclear explosion, this bacterium will not function. It prefers to attack old radioactive waste,

like those from the Cold War, and there's plenty of work available. The quantity of radioactive waste in American soil is said to be equivalent to the volume of water that flows over Niagara Falls in a 28-day period. MAN: Genetically engineered strains of Conan the Bacterium are kept under lock and key. These strains are not toxic. But they've been genetically engineered to degrade a range of very toxic compounds that are present in radioactive waste sites.

Whereas they have great promise in helping clean up those wastes, we still have to be very careful not to release them, so they don't get into the natural world, since they contain foreign genes. This man, Craig Venter, dreams of creating a bacterium with super-powers, with new genes - an artificial bacterium. Craig is a star of science, one of the main craftsmen of the sequencing of the human genome. His bacterium must be capable of producing large quantities of energy or of reducing the greenhouse effect by trapping carbon dioxide. In fact, Craig is trying to create a synthetic bacterium using the desirable genes. I think the main motivation is using the scientific tools that I and other people have created to try and do something to make life survivable long-term on this planet. At the rate we're going, we'll be an extinct species before too long if we don't reverse some of the greedy habits that we've developed as a species. You can always hope, but you must know how to listen. Joe Davis defines himself as a scientific artist. He composes acoustic poems from the songs of our bacterial forebears. To hear 'em play well, there should be a lot on the slide then you can hear them, the more the better, and so... Put some on... We should be able to hear them now. Yup. REPETITIVE POP MUSIC Joe claims to have invented a method of sound recording, using laser beams, that enables us to hear bacteria singing. HIGH-PITCHED BUZZING TO REPETITIVE POP What's really exciting, I think, is that each organism, including bacteria, has its own signature, its own sound. Like a cat goes miaow and a cow goes moo... um... There's an opera, a bacterial opera... underground harmonium, singing everywhere, like birdsong. RASPY SOUND, WITH FEMALE VOICE So, I have an idea that some day we may have CDs of microbial opera. After all, it's a whole new acoustic universe. MOBILE PHONE RINGS Yeah, I've got it, mate. And that. Yep, that as well. Don't worry, mate. I've got the lot. By the way, mate, I'm off early tonight. Taking the kids fishing. See you, mate. a 128-kilowatt turbo diesel, Dad can definitely look at our catalogue out of there what they need to buy him for Father's Day. Rover four-stroke petrol mower, $298. SONG: # Bunnings Warehouse. #