Necrotising fasciitis is a life-threatening condition in which bacteria eat away at human flesh. These pieces of artificial skin were grown in a lab then infected with bacteria from four different patients. Just two days later they are overgrown with biofilms – slimy organic mixtures that are hard to tackle with medicine. These biofilms combine necrotising fasciitis-causing bacteria (highlighted in white) with a sludge of fats, DNA and even natural polymers (red, blue and green, respectively). Investigating how these elements come together could be vital to tackling necrotising fasciitis before biofilms have a chance to form. Although the disease is rare, it can develop quickly through soft tissues and usually affects young, otherwise healthy people.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.