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How deadly bacteria use a common sugar to spread through the bodySickly sweet, sugars and bacterial diseasePotential research impactsThe risk in failing to find new treatments

How deadly bacteria use a common sugar to spread through the bodySickly sweet, sugars and bacterial diseasePotential research impactsThe risk in failing to find new treatments
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Vikrant Minhas, University of Adelaide

Although bacteria are single-celled and microscopically small, they still need energy to survive, just like us. One of the most efficient ways of acquiring energy for bacteria is through sweet, soluble carbohydrates: sugars.

In fact, the keen ability of the deadly bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae to use the plant-derived sugar raffinose may explain how it spreads through the human body.

S. pneumoniae is a bacteria that can quickly develop antibiotic resistance. Each year it causes millions of infections and about one million deaths . Its "ecological niche", which refers to the natural position of a species within an ecosystem, is our noses and throats, where it doesn't cause disease.

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