Mental Floss

How Bacteria Communicate

Chris Higgins

For your Monday viewing pleasure, here's a smart talk about bacteria. Princeton microbiologist Bonnie Bassler knows her bacteria. Specifically, she has learned how they communicate with each other chemically in order to perform group tasks, like generating light under certain circumstances. In this TED Talk, Bassler describes the specific mechanisms by which bacteria communicate, and describes how we can use this information -- the most compelling application is for new forms of antibiotics that might be able to kill even multi-drug-resistant bacteria. Sit back and get ready to geek out!

If you can't see the player, try visiting the TED page directly. (There's also a high-resolution MP4 version of the talk.)