(Roughly) Daily

“We mostly don’t get sick. Most often, bacteria are keeping us well”*…


E. coli bacteria

Food picked up just a few seconds after being dropped is less likely to contain bacteria than if it is left for longer periods of time, according to the findings of research carried out at Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences.

The findings suggest there may be some scientific basis to the ‘5 second rule’  – the urban myth about it being fine to eat food that has only had contact with the floor for five seconds or less. Although people have long followed the 5 second rule, until now it was unclear whether it actually helped.

The study, undertaken by final year Biology students and led by Anthony Hilton, Professor of Microbiology at Aston University, monitored the transfer of the common bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus aureus from a variety of indoor floor types (carpet, laminate and tiled surfaces) to toast, pasta, biscuit and a sticky sweet when contact was made from 3 to 30 seconds…

Read the reassuring details at “Researchers prove the five second rule is real.”

The [Five Second Rule] has many variations, including The Three Second Rule, The Seven Second Rule, and the extremely handy and versatile The However Long It Takes Me to Pick Up This Food Rule.

-Neil Pasricha

* Bonnie Bassler


As we waste not so as to want not, we might send synthetic birthday greetings to Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty; he was born on this date in 1938.  A microbiologist with specialties in directed evolution and genetic engineering, he created a new single cell life form, the Pseudomonas bacterium (now called Burkholderia cepacia) while working at G.E.  The microorganism had the had the potential to clean up toxic spills, due to its ability to break down crude oil into simpler substances that could become food for aquatic life (an ability possessed by no naturally occurring bacteria).

Chakrabarty applied for a patent on his creation– the first U.S. patent for a genetically modified organism. (U.S. utility patents had been granted to living organisms before, including two pure bacterial cultures, patented by Louis Pasteur. Chakrabarty’s modified bacterium was granted a patent in the U.K. before the U.S. patent came through.) He was initially denied the patent by the Patent Office because it was thought that the patent code precluded patents on living organisms.   The case was appealed to the Supreme Court, where in 1980 the Justices granted the patent (Diamond v. Chakrabarty)– a decision that paved the way for many patents on genetically modified micro-organisms and other life forms, and catapulted Chakrabarty into the international spotlight.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

April 4, 2014 at 1:01 am