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abalawadhi t1_j310b80 wrote

Can't the Bacteria evolve to prevent this?


Ausoge t1_j312jgd wrote

Honestly, I don't know - evolution is capable of producing some pretty incredible results - but I doubt it. It would require cells to either use something other than lipids to form their outer membrane, or to reinforce the layer to the point that the attractive molecular forces cannot break it. Such an adaptation would so fundamentally change the way cells currently operate, that any drift in that direction would probably be incompatible with life.

A suitable analogy might be to ask if vertebrates could evolve to be totally immune to fire. Like yeah, maybe, but the required physiological changes would be totally incompatible with life as we know it.


alvysinger0412 t1_j31ppqm wrote

Its hard to imagine in between steps of evolution towards "detergent resistance/immunity" that would be selectively advantageous. Is that kinda what you're getting at?


mad_method_man t1_j32feis wrote

there may not even be too much of an in-between step to begin with. whether it is baby steps or a leap, it is both difficult to imagine


SoftBaconWarmBacon t1_j32th5o wrote

The habitat that requires this kind of resistance is the sewage system, I wonder how many generations of human are required to contribute to their evolution


nayhem_jr t1_j31apjk wrote

Even if they don’t rupture, they’re getting washed away by magnitudes more water than they can deal with. (In a similar vein, I find general spray cleaners just as effective on unwanted insects as insecticides, but with no awful odors/volatiles, and ready to wipe clean.)

Bacteria can produce biofilms in an attempt to hold position, hence the need for scrubbing to break up their defenses.

Some soaps used to have antibacterials, but that just resulted in resistant bacteria wherever they ended up.


FogeltheVogel t1_j31j52t wrote

Not easily like with Antibiotics. Antibiotics are like scalpels, they target 1 very specific part of the bacteria and disrupt that part. By changing that part slightly, the antibiotic stops having an effect (or alternatively, they set up systems to pump the molecules of antibiotics out of the bacteria before they can do harm).

Meanwhile, soap is almost like a fire. It simply rips the entire membrane apart. In order to prevent this, they'd need to fundamentally change how the membrane is constructed. Fundamental changes like that are, while not impossible, basically unheard off in evolution.