Sympathetic and Pathogenic

You might think that all bacteria are "bad" and can make you sick, but that's not the case. There are millions of bacteria that live inside you, and they do their part to help keep you healthy. These helpful bacteria are called your microbiome, and they live in symbiosis with you. That means that they take what they need to survive from you, but in return they protect you from the "bad" or pathogenic bacteria. There are lots of ways they do this, but the simplest is just by being more numerous than any of the bad bacteria. Because there are so many good bacteria, they out compete the pathogens for resources like food and space, and don't give the others time to make you sick. Sometimes they also produce chemicals that kill off the bad bacteria, defending their share of your resources. Your microbiome can also play a more subtle roll in keeping you healthy. It has been shown that your gut bacteria increase your ability to absorb water and soluble nutrients, and also stimulates the growth of cells in your gut that make it more difficult for pathogens to take hold. They also help by metabolizing substances in your food that are not very good for you.

In this game, you can control the number of good bacteria (blue) and pathogenic bacteria (green). Press the green flag and some bacteria will be created. Then, just as before, click on the white part of the simulation to create food. One set might grow much faster than another. Can you change that? What would it take to let the green bacteria grow faster than the blue? How many starting blue bacteria (symbiotes) can you get away with? Try changing the number here: