Living on caffeine alone is possible

bacteria living on caffeine onlyAnd God said

“Man shall not live on coffee alone …. but Pseudomonas putida CBB5 can”

Okay, so I am paraphrasing a bit, but no matter how much you depend on coffee to keep you going, it will not keep you going indefinitely.

Caffeine energy

When you roll out of bed feeling like a flat tyre and stagger to the kitchen to swig down your first cup of coffee/caffeine, the caffeine energy boost comes due to a little neurotransmitter manipulation.

The energy lift has nothing to do with you actually burning the stuff for fuel to derive energy. To load up with fuel, you need to include some food along with the coffee.

But when Pseudomonas putida swallows a little java juice, it actually manages to turn it into fuel, squeezing biological energy (known as ATP) out of the caffeine molecule. So this little guy can get by on a caffeine only diet.

The caffeine enzyme package

The ability to survive on caffeine alone, comes courtesy of a special package of enzymes. The enzymes lob off the methyl groups (CH3 bits) and then smashes the complex nitrogen rings, in the process energy is released.

caffeineWe do a little caffeine chemistry as well, but our enzymes focus on popping things on, so we can pee it out.

Caffeine workaholics

Don’t covet that enzyme package too much. Caffeine really doesn’t taste too good on its own – it is quite bitter, the taste comes from the peripheral chemicals, only the oomph comes from caffeine.

The owners of this special package are unlikely to be spending their days sipping coffee at the local coffeeshop. The Iowa researchers have plans to keep the caffeine guzzling bacteria wired and working hard.

They will be staying up late, removing caffeine from coffee to create ala natural caffeine-free coffee, for the crazy people who believe drinking caffeine is an unhealthy past time.

Currently, getting the caffeine out of coffee is a very chemical reaction, but a little biotechnology could see caffeine-free coffee, being 100 % caffeine free and 100 % natural.

Caffeine guzzlers go local

Hopefully not too many species of bacteria are able to burn up caffeine.

Shushi eating encourages shushi eating bacteria to take up residence in your gut so, if you are a caffeine addict, you may already be sharing your daily caffeine fix with a few thousand friends.

Eish – I hope not. I can’t afford to be buying coffee for thousands.

American Society for Microbiology issued a press release about Pseudomonas putida coffee eating capabilities

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Further reading

caffeine fiddling with the brain switches
coffee aroma switching on genes
nootropic medicine cabinet
Caffeine is the ultimate party killjoy Coffee aromatherapy can give the brain a bit of a buzz What can I take to  boost brain performance ?

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

Hire Dr Sandy from a Spoonful of Science to be the keynote speaker at your next event.

Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..

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2 Comments

  1. We have discovered another bacteria Pseudomonas CBB1 and it eats caffeine via another pathway. Check that out. I think that fits well with the above cartoon pic (the second bacteria).

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