From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Microbial intelligence (popularly known as
bacterial intelligence) is the intelligence shown by
The concept encompasses complex adaptive behaviour shown by single
cells, and altruistic and/or cooperative behavior in populations of
like or unlike cells mediated by chemical signalling that induces
physiological or behavioral changes in cells and influences colony
Complex cells, like protozoa or algae, show remarkable abilities to organise
themselves in changing circumstances . Shell-building
by amoebae, reveals complex discrimination and manipulative skills
that are ordinarily thought to occur only in multicellular
Even bacteria, which show primitive behavior as isolated cells,
can display more sophisticated behavior as a population. These
behaviors occur in single species populations, or mixed species
populations. Examples are colonies of Myxobacteria, quorum sensing, and biofilms.
It has been suggested that a bacterial colony loosely mimics a
network. The bacteria can take inputs in form of chemical
signals, process them and then produce output chemicals to signal
other bacteria in the colony.
The mechanisms that enable single celled organisms to coordinate
in populations presumably carried over in those lines that evolved
multicellularity, and were co-opted as mechanisms to coordinate
Examples of microbial
- The formation of biofilms requires joint decision by the whole
- Under nutritional stress bacterial colonies can organise
themselves in such a way so as to maximise nutrient
- Bacteria reorganise themselves under antibiotic stress.
- Bacteria can swap genes(such as genes coding antibiotic ressistance)
between members of mixed species colonies.
- Individual cells of myxobacteria and cellular slime moulds coordinate to
produce complex structures or move as multicellular entities.
- Populations of bacteria use Quorum sensing to judge their own
densities and change their behaviors accordingly. This occurs in
the formation of biofilms, infectious disease processes, and the
light organs of bobtail squid.
- It's known that for any bacterium to enter a host's cell, the
cell must display receptors to which bacteria can adhere and be
able to enter the cell. Some strains of E. coli are able to
internalize themselves into a host's cell even without the presence
of specific receptors as they bring their own receptor to which
they then attach and enter the cell.
- Under rough circumstances, some bacteria transform into endospores to resist heat and
- A huge array of microorganisms have the ability to overcome
being recognized by the immune system as they change their surface
antigens so that any defense mechanisms directed against previously
present antigens are now useless with the newly expressed