Hitchhiking microbes protect plants and people, according to articles in Science (AAAS) News 22 March 2021, and The ISME Journal, 15 March 2021. Doi 10.1038/s41396-021-00952-8. 

Soil dwelling bacteria known Streptomyces are known to colonise plant roots and protect plants from damage by other microbes by producing antibiotics.  Many of these antibiotics are also used in medicine to treat infections in humans.  As such, Science News describes them as “the guardian angels of the microbial world”. 

Scientists have wondered how they can quickly settle among plant roots when they cannot move through soil by themselves.  Many other soil microbes move through soil by propelling themselves with whip-like filaments called flagella. 

Scientists at Leiden University, The Netherlands, have studied Streptomyces and found theyform sporesthat attach to the flagella of other microbes and hitch rides to their preferred micro-environment – plant roots, where they form a symbiotic relationship with the plant they colonise.  The Streptomyces spores have surface protein that acts like Velcro and can attach a spore to any passing flagella-bearing microbe. 

The researchers concluded: “These results demonstrate that nonmotile bacteria are capable of utilizing the motility machinery of other microbes to complete necessary stages of their lifecycle.”

Link: Science

Editorial Comment: This is another reminder that nothing in the living world works in isolation.  Wherever we look in the living world we see design, not only within individual creatures, but also in the way they are built to interact with others.  God created fully functioning ecosystems, where plants, animals and microbes work together, with each contributor to a functioning system having the necessary structures to function, e.g. the attachment proteins on the Streptomyces spore surface. 

The more we look at the living world the more of these mutual support systems we find, and more evidence we have that the living world had to be made quickly.  Otherwise, the system would not work at all, and plants and microbes would not have any means to make it happen before one of them dies out. 

We would also remind the scientists that Velcro had to be designed and manufactured, and is put to useful applications by creative designers.  Therefore, there is no excuse for believing the spore version of Velcro came into existence without purposeful creative design.

Creation Research News 7 April 2021

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