Whack-an-E. coli with the Morbidostat

E. coli figure prominently and violently in this study:

Whack-an-E. coli with the Morbidostat,” Ofer Fridman, Amir Goldberg and Nathalie Q Balaban, Genome Biology, 2012 Jan 27;13(1):140. The caption to figure 1 of the paper reads:

“The morbidostat, as a whack-a-mole game, maintaining constant evolutionary pressure despite the evolution of protective mechanisms. An Escherichia coli culture is monitored for growth over time. As soon as the culture has grown to exceed a threshold optical density, an antibiotic pulse is added (shown as a hammer whack). If a mutation results in protection from the antibiotic (shown as a protective hat), the antibiotic level is again increased by the computer‑controlled morbidostat. As the bacteria develop more protective mechanisms (stronger helmet), the antibiotic level is further increased (heavier/nastier hammer).”

morbidostat-fig1BONUS: Video of a traditional Whack-a-Mole game. The man shown here may not realize that he is almost certainly whacking e. coli that are on the moles, as well as whacking the moles: