October 2022

This month, all the ghosts, ghouls, and goblins come out, but let’s not forget about the monsters that are always with us.

Microbes are the true creepy creatures that lurk among us. Here are four microorganism stories that will surely leave you spooked.
Vampirovibrio chlorellavorus

Fitting for its name, Vampirovibrio chorellavorus is known for its intense predation on the microalgae Chlorella. V. chorellavorus is a nonphotosynthetic obligate pathogen that preys on Chlorella by attaching to its cell wall and sucking out its nutrients.

New England Vampire Panic

The 19th century New England Vampire Panic was the reaction to a “consumption” outbreak, more modernly known as Tuberculosis. Residents of the area believed the illness was due to vampire attacks.

Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus

Another known vampiresque microogranism is the small bacterium Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus. B. bacteriovorus is a microbial predator that attaches to Gram-negative bacteria and imbeds itself into their periplasm, then procedes to grow and replicate by degrading the host bacterium from the inside out.

Salem Witch Trials

In 1976, scientist Linda Caporael proposed the Salem Witch Trials were the result of an Ergot outbreak. Ergot is a fungus that belongs to the Claviceps genus and grows on grains. Severe exposure to the fungi can cause hallucinations, psychosis, and gangrene.