Now in our 13th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Search the archive of over 4000 images

Potential Pathogen

Oral probiotics control chronic staph aureus infections - bacteria previously thought to mainly colonise nose and skin

03 February 2023

Potential Pathogen

These yellow spheres are Staphylococcus aureus bacteria on the surface of a human immune cell (blue). They are found in, and on, about a third of the human population and are generally harmless except, that is, for when they’re not. S. aureus can cause severe and potentially fatal infections of the skin, soft tissues, bone and blood, and especially dangerous are the drug-resistant strains – so called, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The bacteria were thought to mainly inhabit the skin and nose, but recent research shows they are most abundant in the gut. This discovery led researchers to test whether probiotics – oral doses of friendly bacteria – could suppress S. aureus colonisation. And they could – by around ninety-five percent. Probiotics work more slowly than traditional antibiotics for tackling infections, but they can be taken for much longer without harm, and will likely be able to tackle MRSA strains when regular drugs cannot.

Written by Ruth Williams

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

Follow on Tumblr

Follow on Instagram

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.