Germ Theory vs Cellular Theory
January 17th, 2011 | Blog, References, Stories & News, Antoine Bechamp, bacteria, bion, cellular, darkfield, DNA, enzymes, Florence Nightingale, Gaston Naessens, germ, Guenther Enderlein, history, Louis Pasteur, medicine, microzyma, nanobacteria, nanobe, Olavi Kajander, orgone, Philippa Uwins, pleomorphic, RNA, Rosenow, Royal Rife, science, terraine, vaccine, virus, Wilhelm Reich
In 2003 when I first started writing for Healthy Options magazine in New Zealand I did a three day fast and spent a couple days at the Auckland library (some people do prayer and fasting, I do reading and fasting-heh). Now those of you who do fasts know that it is a good way to clear your mind and get great focus. I don’t think I had any particular interest in the vaccine issue at the time, so it was some synchronistic event that made me pull a book on vaccines from the shelf and read it. At the time I was astonished to learn about Antoine Béchamp and his research on what is now termed the cellular theory. I photocopied the section from the book about Béchamp and filed it away for future reference.
“Disease is born of us and in us.” – Béchamp
A few years later, after some rather traumatic personal experiences, I got back together with an old love from my college days. He is something of a genius and won some famous award in high school which got him an internship in a medical lab researching genetics or some such thing. As a result he was unconsciously tied to trusting our mainstream medical industry. He knew I didn’t think highly of vaccines so at some point we had a huge argument over this issue. Since I had read about Béchamp years before and my immediate recall memory (especially under stress) is pretty sad, I didn’t have the arguments on the tip of my tongue. I also suck at verbal debates in general, so I knew I had no chance as he had been debating with his father since a very young age. I did know that what I had read made a whole lot of sense and that I actually probably knew more about the topic than he did, so I stuck to my guns which resulted in him getting pretty pissed off.
The thing that disturbed me the most about our argument, was that he didn’t really have anything logical to say to refute what I was trying to explain to him. Instead, it felt like he was relying on personal attack tactics, treating me as if I was some brainwashed, illogical, close-minded idiot who had never really researched the topic or even spent a minute thinking about it. He seemed to think I was just parroting something some ‘science hater’ had told me. Now, that really pissed me off, since I knew that I had actually put in a fair amount of time researching the issue and he hadn’t. In fact, I felt the opposite was true–he seemed to be simply using arguments that he had heard other people use about those quacks and charlatan’s who were “germ theory denialists”.
Now one of the problems, when people start trying to argue about the germ vs cellular theory, is that you need to be able to step back and look at life and organisms from another perspective entirely. When you get involved in an argument and are unable to do this, you get stuck in various ruts and can’t move forward. This is what happened to us. I kept trying to shut the argument down, but he, in his love for me and determination to help ‘save’ me from the pure foolishness I had mindlessly succumbed to (his perspective) couldn’t stop attacking me. Finally, I got fed up with the whole thing and decided we had probably better get some space between us so things could settle down and be examined in a different light. Plus the attacks he was levelling at me were getting increasingly personal and downright mean.
When we were able to settle down and he realised I wasn’t budging, he finally decided to try to understand where I was coming from and we were able to discuss the ability of our bodies to heal and even go online and find some sources of information that he could read and understand what I was trying to say. After he read about Béchamp and could see that the point I was trying to make was not that all science is stupid, and in fact I was actually defending a very good scientist–who had been forgotten because he wasn’t interested in politiking–he has actually come out on the side of the cellular theory due to his own experiences and research.
Now the reason I bring this argument up (even though my partner would prefer I didn’t) is because this is a very typical experience that people face when trying to talk to each other about the differences between Béchamp and Pasteur. For some reason this argument really hits people’s buttons and gets them irrationally angry. The main way this comes out is that they then start to attack you personally, calling you names and passing you off for a brainwashed idiot. It is very hard to have a reasonable discussion. People on both sides of the argument think that they are in the right and are just trying to help the other person. It is a tough situation to try to deal with. Perhaps the best thing to do is to ask people to simply suspend their disbelief and to try to have an open mind as they take a look at the information that is available.
Here is a quick list of some sources that give more information on the topic:
- A simple explanation of the differences between the Germ Theory and the Cellular Theory.
- Who is Antoine Béchamp?
- The Post-Antibiotic Age: Germ Theory
- Pasteur or Béchamp? Pleomorphic Organisms
- Béchamp or Pasteur? by Ethel Hume
- The Blood and its Third Element by Antoine Béchamp
- Biotensegrity–this may not seem to have much to do with the topic, but biotensegrity demonstrates how damage to the shape of our body affects all the cells in our bodies
Here are some favorite passages from the book, Immunization: The Reality Behind the Myth by Walene James, that I originally read on the topic. Unfortunately I don’t have the page numbers for reference:
We might say that while Pasteur taught that germs cause disease, Béchamp taught that disease generates germs.
To quote Rene Dubos of the Rockefeller Institute: “The germ theory of disease has a quality of obviousness and lucidity which makes it equally satisfying to a schoolboy and to a trained physician. A virulent microbe reaches a susceptible host, multiplies in its tissues and thereby causes symptoms, lesions and at times death. What concept could be more reasonable and easier to grasp?”
Reasons why the germ theory became popular are: First, it fit neatly into the mechanistic theories of the universe that were popular in the nineteenth century. Second, it fit “human nature.” Man, apparently, ever ready to avoid responsibility and place causation outside himself, found an easy scapegoat in the bad little organisms that flew about and attacked him. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that evil spirits had been responsible for man’s ills. Third, it fit “commercial nature.” When we place causation outside ourselves, we create vast armies of attackers and defenders, assailants and protectors.
Béchamp showed through innumerable experiments not only that the germ we associate with a particular disease is a product and not the cause of the disease but also that what some researchers would call different species of bacteria are really different stages of microzymian evolution into their bacterial forms.
Béchamp showed that bacteria function in whatever medium they find themselves, even changing their shapes (see biotensegrity above) as well as their function to accord with that medium. In other words, bacteria are pleomorphic (form changing) rather than monomorphic (form fixed). They reflect the conditions in which they find themselves rather than create those conditions.
Bodies in which pathogenic bacteria form are not healthy; merely fighting and killing bacteria will not bring health, for the condition that gave rise to the bacteria will do so again.
Microzymas are constantly developing into bacteria. In fact, bacteria are an evolutionary form of microzymas–actually microzymas fully grown. They develop from the cells of the host organism when that organism dies. So-called virulent or pathogenic bacteria are generated by decaying matter, their function being to reduce (decompose) matter back to its constituent elements. When their job is finished, they become microzymas again. Pathogenic bacteria could be thought of as nature’s undertakers or clean-up crew.
If a tissue is healthy, the microzymas will function to support the life and integrity of the cells; if the cells have been damaged, they will produce morbid or diseased microzymas that may evolve into pathogenic (disease producing) bacteria. In short, the microzyma has two functions: to build or to disintegrate tissue. Another way of thinking about the function of microzymas is: They secrete ferments that aid digestion, and when they encounter dead or damaged cells, they evolve into bacteria.
Regarding the germ theory, Florence Nightingale remarked:
“Is it not living in a continual mistake to look upon diseases, as we do now, as separate entities, which must exist, like cats and dogs, instead of looking upon them as conditions, like a dirty and clean condition, and just as much under our own control…? I was brought up to believe…that smallpox was a thing of which there was once a specimen in the world, which went on propagating itself in a perpetual chain of descent, just as much as that there was a first dog (or pair of dogs), and that smallpox would not begin itself any more than a new dog would begin without there having been a parent dog. Since then I have seen with my own eyes and smelt with my nose smallpox growing up in first specimens, either in close rooms or in overcrowded wards, where it could not by any possibility have been “caught,” but must have begun. Nay, more, I have seen diseases begin, grow up and pass into one another. Now dogs do not pass into cats. I have seen, for instance, with a little overcrowding, continued fever grow up, and with a little more, typhoid fever, and with a little more, typhus, and all in the same ward or hut. For diseases, as all experience shows, are adjectives, not noun substantives….There are no specific diseases: there are specific conditions.”
In 1910, at the Mayo Biological Laboratories, Dr. Rosenow began a series of experiments in which he took bacterial strains from many different disease sources, such as puerperal sepsis, arthritis, and tonsillitis and put them into one culture of uniform media. After a while, there was no difference between the germs; they became all one class. The results of his studies were published in 1914 in the Journal of Infectious Diseases 14: 1-32. Rosenow demonstrated:
“that simple bacterial forms like streptococci (pus germs) could be made to assume all of the characteristics of pneumococci (pneumonia germs) simply by feeding them on pneumonia virus and making other minor modifications in their environment. And when Rosenow reversed the procedure and fed pneumonia germs on pus, they quickly changed into streptococci. Many other experiments were carried on, and, in every instance, the germs, regardless of type, changed into other types when their food and environment were altered.”
Dr. Rosenow wrote in his 1914 article, “It would seem, therefore that focal infections are no longer to be looked upon merely as a place of entrance of bacteria but as a place where conditions are favorable for them to acquire the properties which give them a wide range of affinities for various structures.”
“In reality, it is not the bacteria themselves that produce the disease, but we believe it is the chemical constituents of these micro-organisms enacting upon the unbalanced cell metabolism of the human body that in actuality produce the disease. We also believe if the metabolism of the human body is perfectly balanced or poised, it is susceptible to no disease.”
“We have in many instances produced all the symptoms of a disease chemically in experimental animals without the inoculation of any virus or bacteria into their tissues.” Dr. Rife
Béchamp and Estor observed that cell granules (microzymas) associate and develop into threadlike forms. They were no doubt observing different stages of mitosis or cell division and the development of chromatin threads. Béchamp earlier had observed these rodlike groupings of microzymas, which now go by the name of chromosomes, and in his book Blood and Its Elements, he noted that the coming together of microzymas forms a figure eight (double-helix formation).
What about viruses? We now know that a virus consists of simply a core of genetic material–either a DNA or RNA molecule–and a protective envelope made of proteins. Unlike all life forms as we know them, the virus lacks a cell structure. It does not need and cannot metabolize nutrients, does not grow, and cannot replicate without the help of its host. In other words, a virus is completely dependent on its host (organismic environment), which gives it its character–harmful or harmless–and its ability to reproduce.
If we think of microzymas, bacteria (single-cell microorganisms), and viruses as carriers of genetic material–DNA and RNA–it becomes apparent that they can have important metabolic functions in the body. DNA, for instance, not only makes the enzymes that build the structures of the body and regulate cell metabolism, but it regenerates the body. RNA not only carries genetic instructions and helps assemble proteins for the vital processes of life, but it also “serves as an enzyme, or biological catalyst, that governs some of the chemical reactions necessary for those life processes. In fact, RNA acts as a class of enzymes, those “substances that regulate the chemical activities of every living cell.”
“The most serious, even fatal, disorders may be provoked by the injection of living organisms into the blood; organisms which, existing in the organs proper to them, fulfill necessary and beneficial functions–chemical and physiological–but injected into the blood, into a medium not intended for them, provoke redoubtable manifestations of the gravest morbid phenomena…. Microzymas, morphologically identical, may differ functionally, and those proper to one species or to one centre of activity cannot be introduced into an animal of another species, nor even into another centre of activity in the same animal, without serious danger. – Béchamp”
I am sorry that this is a rather long article. It is a very detailed topic which deserves much more understanding. I am doing my best to summarize it to some extent for you all. The following is from a very good article with lots more information that is posted on Squidoo. I have pulled out some of my favorite passages, but I recommend you follow this link and find out more information directly from the source as well. The following will give you more information about Antoine Béchamp and other honest and determined scientists who discovered these precursors of life on their own.
Professor Antoine Béchamp (1816-1908)
On April 15, 1908, Antoine Béchamp, one of the greatest scientists who ever lived died, aged 91. Antoine Béchamp was the foremost pioneer of science, medicine, nutrition and genetics of his generation, and his discoveries could have saved humanity immense misery and suffering.
He was one of France’s most prominent and active researchers and biologists; he had degrees in biology, chemistry, physics, pharmacy, and medicine, and practised, researched and taught in all those fields. He first worked in Strasbourg as a Professor of Physics and Toxicology at the Higher School of Pharmacy, later as Professor of Medical Chemistry at the University of Montpellier and, later still, as Professor of Biochemistry and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Lille, all in France.
“Nothing is lost, nothing is created … all is transformed. Nothing is the prey of death. All is the prey of life.”– Antoine Béchamp
Béchamp’s Science and the Microzymas:
While working on fermentation (the breakdown of complex molecules into organic compounds via a “ferment”) Béchamp observed through his microscope a host of tiny bodies in his fermenting solutions. Béchamp, able to ascribe strong enzymatic reactions to them, coined a new word to describe them: microzymas, or “tiny ferments”.
Béchamp went on to study microzymas found in the bodies of animals, and came to the startling conclusion that the tiny forms were more basic to life than cells, which had long been considered to be the building blocks of all living matter. Béchamp proposed that the microzymas were fundamental elements, responsible for the activity of cells, tissues, organs–indeed every aspect of all living organisms.
Most incredible to Béchamp was his discovery that when there occurred an event serious enough to affect the whole of an organism, disturbing the natural balance, the microzymas within the organism would begin working to disintegrate the organism, totally converting themselves to bacteria and other microbes, in an attempt to ensure their survival. These basic, and virtually indestructable, elements of which we and all our animal relatives are composed survive the death of the cells in our bodies. So seemingly indestructible were the microzymas that Béchamp could even find them in limestone dating back 60 million years. According to Béchamp, microzymas are the seeds of life.
He demonstrated in his laboratory that by using different solutions as the environment he would grow totally different sets of “germs” in spite of the fact that all solutions had been kept in the same sterile conditions. The germs, he was convinced, could not have come from an outside source but had to be originating from within each solution itself. The microzymas, which are the same basic structures for all living material, transformed themselves according to the stimulation of the various environments in which they lived, into different life forms (in these experiments, germs) corresponding to the content of the solution itself. This changing of form — pleomorphism — is our next topic.
The concept of pleomorphism is at the heart of Béchamp’s theories. He observed that one sort of bacteria could develop spontaneously into another type, given a change in the environmental conditions (or shape see biotensegrity above).
According to Béchamp the microzyma, which was critical in supporting the life of cells, could be triggered into pathogenic states, depending on specific changes in the state of the internal (particularly the blood) environment. Therefore, the bacteria and other micro-organisms, such as viruses and fungi, that were being blamed as the cause of disease, were viewed by Béchamp as being part of nature’s ‘clean-up crew’, breaking down sick tissue and ultimately decomposing a no-longer-occupied body. Béchamp also viewed these micro-organisms as ‘changing forms’ (pleomorphic) — from seed to bacterial, viral and fungal states, rather than being seen as discrete species unto themselves.
Once these bugs have done the job, they revert to the ‘seed’ stage once again, ready to support new life. The very ground we stand on is teeming with these fundamental biological units.
Béchamp and Pasteur:
Béchamp and Pasteur were both members of the French Academy of Sciences, and the papers they submitted, and their correspondence, both to each other and to other people, were all recorded. Even their verbal exchanges survive in the minutes of the meetings. Seldom has a lifetime of scientific and professional antagonism been so well and publicly documented.
Béchamp said that microzymas arose from within the body’s cells because of changes occurring with the cell itself. The presence and state of the microzymas — in other words their observed evolution to the state of being a virus or bacteria — is therefore a symptom of disease, not the cause of it.
Pasteur, on the other hand, and as the world knows, argued that germs from the external world enter the body and cause the disease.
Instead of incorporating Béchamp’s discoveries to bring about a health revolution and save countless lives, greedy and power-hungry industrialists decided to ostracize his work and put their dollars behind Louis Pasteur’s ‘germ theory’. This became a way for them to build a colossal and profitable pharmaceutical/medical empire. (See Robert Koch the tuberculin vaccine and the exclusive agreement the Prussian government made with him)
The difference between Béchamp and Pasteur is clearly seen through examining the reports they submitted to the French Academy of Science. This leads to three indisputable and striking conclusions:
- Pasteur’s reports on experiments and consequent deductions are all preceded by Béchamp’s, in some cases by several years. When Pasteur proclaimed to have found the answer to a pressing question it turns out that Béchamp had already clearly answered that question.
- The quality control on Pasteur’s experiments was poor and allows for unaccounted interference. In contrast, Béchamp had a rigid and structured approach to his experiments, which allowed him to answer his contemporaries more clearly and directly.
- The deductions Pasteur made from his experiments were often far beyond the scope of the actual experiment and often turned out to be more speculation than science. As a consequence, Pasteur was caught out on several occasions changing his interpretation and statements to suit his case. Béchamp, on the other hand, never made a claim that he had not substantiated with sound scientific proof.
The reason why Béchamp was mainly ignored and Pasteur elevated to hero status is to be found in the different personalities and the lure of commercial success. Bechamp was a dedicated scientist and researcher, but he had no skills at politics and ass-kissing. Pasteur, on the other hand, was an expert at both. He ingratiated himself with the rich and powerful, and even became a favorite of French royalty.
Pasteur himself recanted it in his private journal, writing the famous words which were revealed many decades after his death: “It is not the germ that causes disease but the terrain in which the germ is found.”
this section is still taken from the squidoo lense on Béchamp. The following are some of the many researchers who have followed in Béchamp’s footsteps, consciously or not.
“Do not automatically believe in anything , especially what you are told. Convince yourself of something by observing it with your own eyes. And, after having perceived a new fact, do not lose site of it again until it is fully explained.” — Wilhelm Reich
After first making his mark in psychoanalysis as Freud’s protégé and leading collaborator, Wilhelm Reich broke with the International Psychoanalytic Movement to take up an independent career. He began working with an unusual microscope equipped with special lenses that could magnify living organisms to 2 – 3000X their normal size, well over twice the magnification achievable with the ordinary microscopes of his day. Among his extraordinary discoveries were “vesicles” — minuscule fluid containing bladder-like sacs that appeared in infusions of hay and other substances such as animal tissue, earth and coal.
After much experimentation during which he noted a marked increase in the number of vesicles that could be cultured when the preparations containing them were boiled, he concluded that the strange forms he had discovered were ‘transitional’, lying midway between the realms of the animate and the inert. To these unrecognised elementary stages of life, he gave the name bions. He had, of course, rediscovered Béchamp’s microzymas.
When Reich poured some of his boiled preparations onto nutrient culture media, the cultures began to generate peculiar looking bacteria and amoebae. To be sure they were sterilized, Reich superheated his bion cultures, to find that the ostensibly sterile mixtures continued to give rise to the higher microbic forms. This led him to the further conclusion that bions, as preliminary stages of life, were embodiments of an indestructible life force that defied death. Reich christened this life force orgone.
His claims were already so heretical as to alarm orthodox science, but Reich wasn’t finished. He claimed that bion structures could also be detected in, and cultured from, human blood, which, then as now, was considered to be sterile. This next led him to examine blood samples taken from persons suffering from cancer in which he saw extremely tiny bacterial forms that he connected to that lethal disease process. He labelled them T-bacilli, the T standing for Tod which in Reich’s native German means “death.”
It seemed to Reich that there was something unaccountable going on in the bodies of the cancer-afflicted, a degeneration causing healthy life-promoting bions to develop into a death-dealing T-bacilli. Since he had also found these “death bacteria” in the excreta of healthy people, he assumed that these individuals were able to dispose of cancer causing particles, and that disposition to cancer was determined by a level of biological resistance.
A question naturally arises at this point: Could germs appearing in the body be the result, rather than the cause, of afflictions?
Reich’s life ended tragically. He was submitted to virulent attacks for questioning sacred dogmas of medical science in general, and the cancer industry in particular. The story of this controversial, often cantankerous, scientist ended when he was brought to trial and sentenced to a term in a U.S. prison where, in 1964, he died. The US government also ordered that all of Reich’s publications on which they could lay their hands — including a privately printed journal, Journal of Orgonomy — be incinerated. That order was carried out less than 20 years after the Nazi government in Germany had ordered all of Reich’s then existing publications burned
Working as a bacteriologist in a military hospital on the Baltic Sea, German zoologist Guenther Endedein, in 1917 finished a manuscript that opened a new door onto the world of microbes. It revealed many different pleomorphic developmental phases of bacteria, and showed that diseases and their healing processes are bound to precise cyclical and morphological laws. The manuscript was published as a book, Bakterien Cyclogenie, (The Life Cycle of Bacteria) in 1925, shortly after its author’s appointment as curator of the Zoological Museum in Berlin.
For inspiring his work, Enderlein gives great credit to Antoine Béchamp as well as several Germans who took up where Béchamp left off, including zoologist Robert Leuckart, founder of the science of parisitology, and Otto Schmidt, who first reported parasites in the blood of cancer patients as far back as 1901.
Using a darkfield microscope, Enderlein discovered that microorganisms go through a form-changing cycle that, in his view, could take on countless variations, leading him to label the phenomenon a “1000-headed monster.” He asserted that while different types of microorganisms normally live within the body in a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship, with severe deterioration of the body’s environment they can develop into disease-producing forms, to create what he called dysbiosis, or “a fault in the life process.” Their action, according to Enderlein, was not due to any perverse intent on the microbes part to harm the host, but to their urge to survive at its expense. In their early developmental phases, they lived in the blood to perform functions beneficial to health, while in the later phases, they abandoned that role to assure their preservation.’
Dr. Royal Rife was arguably one of the greatest scientific minds of the twentieth century. His instrument, which he designed and manufactured himself, was able to view living matter at unheard of magnifications of up to 60,000X, also at excellent resolution. With this extraordinary device, Rife identified microbes in the blood of sick people which seemingly miraculously transformed, under various conditions, one into the other, in classic pleomorphist fashion. He saw sixteen stages in all — the same number in Gaston Naessens’ somatid cycle.
Rife was able to observe and prove the reality of pleomorphism. He was able to do this partly because of his advancements with optics, but also because he used light frequencies to highlight his samples, rather than chemical dyes. Using dyes kills the specimen, so tissues cannot be viewed in the natural living state. Studying dead samples to understand living processes is as useless as studying cadavers.
Rife was also able to isolate the particular viral form involved in all forms of cancer, and — most astonishing of all — he discovered a particular frequency that would neutralize it.
Maurice Fishbein, representing the AMA at the time, wanted to ‘buy into’ Rife’s discovery for personal gain. When Rife rejected Fishbein’s offer, the once-supportive AMA establishment proceeded to vilify him in print, and his discoveries were driven underground. Government goon squads attempted to physically destroy all the evidence of Rife’s work.
As a result of his discoveries, Rife came to the independent conclusion — to which others had come independently both before and after him — that, depending on its inner state, germs arose within the body itself, and these germs were not the cause, but the result of disease states. This single conclusion completely overturns everything that modern mainstream medical theory is based on.
Using a microscope that he designed himself, Canadian Gaston Naessens discovered ultramicroscopic, subcellular, living and reproducing microscopic forms which he called a somatid. This particle could be cultured outside the bodies of the host. Naessens also observed that the particle had a pleomorphic sixteen-stage life cycle.
According to Naessens, only the first three stages of the somatid life cycle are normal. He maintains that when the immune system is weakened or disrupted, the somatids evolve through the other thirteen stages. The weakening of the immune system could be caused by such things as chemical pollution, ionising radiation, electric fields, diet, accidents, shock, depression, and other factors.
Naessens’ research has resulted in the association of degenerative diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, cancer and AIDS) with the development of forms in the sixteen-stage pathological cycle. The ability to associate the disease with specific stages has enabled Naessens to ‘prediagnose’ conditions in advance of when they clinically appear.
His work is repeatable. The ability to culture somatids is a call to the rewriting of microbiology. Naessens has stated: “I’ve been able to establish a life cycle of forms in the blood that add up to no less than a brand new understanding of the basis of life. What we’re talking about is an entirely new biology, one out of which has fortunately sprung practical applications of benefit to sick people, even before all of its many theoretical aspects have been sorted out.”
We fast-forward now to modern times. In 1996, a geologist studying sandstone core examples from an oil exploration project off the West Australian coast made a dramatic discovery — one that seems to fit hand-in-glove with the work of Béchamp, Enderlein, Reich, Naessens, and Rife.
Philippa Uwins called the entities she observed nanobes. She wasn’t looking for the smallest bacteria known to science when she aimed her electron microscope at a chunk of rock extracted from thousands of metres below the Australian seabed, but she found something very interesting; tiny filaments that looked suspiciously like bacterial or fungal colonies, growing on the Triassic and Jurassic sandstone.
Even so, Uwins, then a geologist from the University of Queensland, didn’t jump to any conclusions. It’s not unheard of for bacteria to live far below the Earth’s surface, but Uwins’s nanobes seemed to adapt surprisingly easily to the totally different conditions of an above-ground lab. Most importantly, the organisms were incredibly small — some no more than 20 nanometres (20 billionths of a metre) in diameter. That was a problem, because creatures that small aren’t meant to exist, according to conventional microbiology. Viruses can be that tiny because they rely on host cells to reproduce, but any free-living organism needs to have a diameter of at least 100 to 250 nanometres (depending on whose calculations you read), just to cram in the machinery necessary for life.
This initial discovery was curious enough, but when the team found that containers and equipment in their laboratory were being ‘colonised’ by these structures, they realised that whatever they had found was growing. Samples were collected from petri dishes and examined in a powerful SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope).
Uwins became convinced that her team had found an organism that breaks all the rules. Over the course of two years, she grew numerous nanobe colonies in her lab. And, with her University of Queensland colleagues, microbiologists Anthony Taylor and Richard Webb, Uwins says she has used three different stains for detecting DNA, with positive results, and made ultrathin sections of the organisms to reveal what appear to be cell walls — findings that are consistent with these being living creatures, not an inorganic process masquerading as bacterial colonies.
One of Uwin’s leading advocates is Dr Robert Folk of the University of Texas, whose work involved studying mineral deposits near volcanoes. He has claimed to have identified bacteria very much smaller than any previously discovered. He believes such bacteria form the bulk of living things on Earth and may be responsible for the rusting of metal and the “greening” of copper but the tiny organisms have eluded conventional tools and avenues of research.
Olavi Kajander and Neva Ciftcioglu:
Olavi Kajander and Neva Ciftcioglu, while working at the University of Kuopio in Finland, also found ‘mini-bacteria’, alive and kicking in kidney stones. Kajander was searching with an electron microscope for a contaminant that was stopping laboratory cell cultures growing well when he found what appeared to be a white film of tiny bacteria. Culturing the strange micro-organisms was difficult, because they had a remarkably slow metabolism — about 10,000 times slower than normal. And although most of the spherical bacteria ranged in diameter from between 200 and 500 nanometres, “huge numbers” of them were between a mere 50 to 80 nanometres.
That slow metabolism helps to explain how the bacteria can get by with so little space inside for the bare necessities of life, says Kajander. But he also suggests a far more radical explanation for their minuscule size. Each of the smaller forms could be a single piece of a whole nanobacterium — a part of its genome would be stored in one “cell”, and a ribosome or two in another. These fragments could then link up, using molecules on their surfaces to create a complete organism that would be seen under the microscope as one of the larger cells in the population.
One form they described is 20-100 nanometers in size with a unique cell membrane structure. This form secretes a calcific biofilm “gooey slime” around itself that provides protection as well as allowing for multiple nanobacteria to connect, collaborate and somehow function together as a unit or colony. This calcific biofilm allows the nanobacteria to act like “slime molds” that can expand, contract and move.
This biofilm-phase of nanobacterial life appears to be present when the nanobacteria are chemically attacked, physiologically stressed, environmentally attacked, and when they are working together or reproducing. The calcific biofilm that is secreted by the nanobacteria is a potent endotoxin and mediator (cause) of inflammation and swelling. In other words, our bodies react aggressively in response to the presence of this nanobacteria-secreted biofilm with swelling and irritation, the release of cytokines, interleukins, leukocytes, mast cells, collagenase, matrix metalloproteinases, etc. Our bodies react by trying to wall off the area of nanobacterial infection. When nanobacteria are in an enclosed area, they cause chronic inflammation and swelling. Most of the commonly known medical “markers of inflammation” (C Reactive Protein, MMP’s, MPO, Interleukins, etc.) are found to be elevated in response to the endotoxin in the nanobacterial biofilm.
A note on kidney stones. Much revolves around the nanobacteria’s ability to build protective “castles” around themselves, apparently by precipitating carbonate apatite, the same substance that makes up most kidney stones. These ‘castles’, according to Kajander, could act in the kidneys like grains of sand in a pearl-producing oyster, triggering the growth of stones. Using electron microscopy, Kajander and Ciftcioglu identified nanobacteria in kidney stones from 72 patients. Antibody staining confirmed that result, but the pièce de résistance was when they cultured living nanobacteria from the stones. And when they injected nanobacteria into the blood of rabbits, they later appeared in the kidneys and damaged the part of the organ where stones typically form. To kidney specialists, the idea that a bacterium can cause kidney stones doesn’t seem so bizarre. Although the cause of most kidney stones has been a mystery, bacterial infections are known to cause a rarer kind of stone, the bacterium in question making urine more acidic, encouraging mineral precipitation.
On December 3, 1890 William Russell, a pathologist in the School of Medicine at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, gave an address to the Pathological Society of London in which he outlined his histopathologic findings of “a characteristic organism of cancer” that he observed microscopically in fuchsine-stained tissue sections from all forms of cancer that he examined, as well as in certain cases of tuberculosis, syphilis and skin infection.