Quiz: My Little Bacteria: Friendship Is Magic

Estimated Completion Time
1 min
Quiz: My Little Bacteria: Friendship Is Magic
Image: Influx Productions/Photodisc/Getty

About This Quiz

Not all bacteria are our mortal enemies. Some are our friends and, yes, we have been known to go on amazing adventures with them. They're not as cute as talking ponies, but they help out in amazing ways. Let's see just how well you know the world of "good" bacteria.
Bacteria love you. After all, would they live inside you if they didn't? See if you can guess how many bacteria reside in the average human's gut.
100 million bacteria
100 billion bacteria
100 trillion bacteria
Welcome to the human bowel, population 100 trillion! You' d have a hard time digesting your favorite foods without some help from your friendly (intestinal) flora.

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Dead bacteria have to go somewhere. Care to guess how much space they take up in the average person's bowel movement?
30 percent of the solid mass in your stool
Thirty percent, if you can believe it. Keep in mind that feces is typically only 25 percent solid mass and the rest is water. But still, that's quite a lot of No. 2.
60 percent of the solid mass in your stool
90 percent of the solid mass in your stool

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Which of the following does NOT come from helpful bacteria?
Gouda cheese
penicillin
Helpful bacteria have a hand in both Gouda and yogurt. Fungus, however, claims credit for penicillin.
yogurt

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Which of the following medical products does NOT benefit from bacteria?
Prozac
Bacteria have nothing to do with Prozac, but Botox actually comes from botulinum toxin, and E. coli is used to grow human insulin in the lab.
Botox
insulin

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One all-star type of bacteria has proven itself quite a friend to scientific research. Which one can be adapted to detect both landmines and oil spills?
Salmonella
Listeria
E. coli
Despite its infamous reputation in the food industry, E. coli has shown itself to be quite useful due to its ease of manipulation.

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The bacteria species Alcanivorax borkumensis continues to excite scientists due to its consumption of which substance?
oil
This bacteria evolved to feast on oil spills, first due to natural leakage through the seafloor and now due to man-made oil spills.
uranium
meat-lover's pizza

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How do Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria in Bt insecticides kill their targets?
The bacteria blind the insects.
The bacteria paralyze the insects' digestive tracts.
Bt paralyzes the digestive tracts of insects, who then die of starvation in a matter of days.
The bacteria make the insects' skin fall off.

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Ancient cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, helped shape our planet, raising the level of _____________.
oxygen in the atmosphere
Oxygen makes up roughly 21 percent of our planet's atmosphere, a level that scientists trace back 2.45 billion years ago to a sudden uptick in blue-green algae.
heat in the ocean
nitrogen in the soil

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Bacteria thrive in neighborhoods that humans wouldn't dream of moving to. Which one is totally made up?
lakes of burning asphalt
liquid nitrogen ponds
While Earth doesn't boast liquid nitrogen ponds, it does feature hydrothermal vents and Trinidad's Pitch Lake.
deep-sea hydrothermal vents

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In 2010, the biotechnology company LS9 reportedly engineered an E. coli bacterium capable of eating _____ and secreting _____.
glucose, fuel
Just think, all we'd have to do is feed the bacteria sugar, and they'd produce a diesel-like fuel.
fuel, glucose
pizza, soda

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You Got:
/10
Influx Productions/Photodisc/Getty
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