Innocent bubbles may be used as a launching tool to spread bacteria from the water into the air, according to a new study.
The study, published on November 15 in the journal Physical Review Letters, found that bacteria can manipulate the physics of bubbles in a way that improves the spread of bacteria. For example, bubbles covered with bacteria can last much longer than clean bubbles, although the bubble surface is thinning over time. Then, as soon as they explode, these thin bubbles produce more droplets, which are sent to the air at a faster rate than clean bubbles. [Tiny & Nasty: Images of Things That Make Us Sick]
"We discovered that bacteria can manipulate [bubble]Interfaces to increase their air-to-air bursts, "said Lydia Borowebe, a research associate of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Laboratory for the Dynamics of the Disease Transfer Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The researchers first discovered the effect of bacteria on bubbles slightly. Initially, they learned the physics of clean bubbles, but a glass of water was accidentally left open during the transition to a new laboratory. When researchers later used water in this experiment, they noticed that the bubbles acted differently than expected.
"The bubbles were created from this water [lasted]Much longer and had a strange development of dilution compared with that of typical clean water bubbles, "said Stefan Pauline, a research student at Borovie's laboratory.
When researchers discovered that the water was contaminated with bacteria, they turned their attention to investigating the effects of bacteria on bubbles, using high-speed imaging.
They found it when bubbles were contaminated E – voice, They were drawn 10 times more than clean bubbles before an explosion. This means that contaminated bubbles lasts for minutes versus seconds. Further investigations suggest that the bubbles lasted longer because the bacteria would secrete materials that acted to reduce the surface tension of the bubble, making it more flexible.
The researchers also found that clean, clean bubbles began to drop as soon as the bubbles reached the surface. But because polluted bubbles lasts longer, they are thinned out much more, because of evaporation of water over time.
When they exploded, these thin bubbles formed 10 times more drops, and these droplets ejected 10 times faster than in clean bubbles.
Researchers estimate that one drop can carry thousands of microorganisms, and each bubble is estimated to carry hundreds of drops.
In the past, the same group of researchers used rapid imaging to quickly learn droplets released from a human sneeze. Not surprisingly, the results were gross.
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