Home > Diet and nutrition > News 28 March 2013 The first caffeine-'addicted' bacteria Some people may joke about living on caffeine, but scientists now have genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to do that — literally. 0 iStock Related Tea, coffee, or cocaine? Are you high on caffeine? Possible link between coffee and death Vit & Min doses per day » Count calories in food » Is my vegetarian diet balanced? » Ask The Dietitians » 10 foods to boost your immune system Your quick guide to Banting Their report in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology describes bacteria being "addicted" to caffeine in a way that promises practical uses ranging from decontamination of waste water to bio-production of medications for asthma.Jeffrey E. Barrick and colleagues note that caffeine and related chemical compounds have become important water pollutants due to widespread use in coffee, soda pop, tea, energy drinks, chocolate and certain medications. These include prescription drugs for asthma and other lung diseases. The scientists knew that a natural soil bacterium, Pseudomonas putida CBB5, can actually live solely on caffeine and could be used to clean up such environmental contamination. So they set out to transfer genetic gear for metabolizing, or breaking down, caffeine from P. putida into that old workhorse of biotechnology, E. coli, which is easy to handle and grow.The study reports their success in doing so, as well as use of the E. coli for decaffeination and measuring the caffeine content of beverages. It describes development of a synthetic packet of genes for breaking down caffeine and related compounds that can be moved easily to other microbes. When engineered into certain E. coli, the result was bacteria literally addicted to caffeine.The genetic packet could have applications beyond environmental remediation, the scientists say, citing potential use as a sensor to measure caffeine levels in beverages, in recovery of nutrient-rich byproducts of coffee processing and for the cost-effective bioproduction of medicines. EurekAlert NEXT ON HEALTH24X What do your toilet cleaner and potato chips have in common? 2018-03-27 13:10 More: Diet and nutritionNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Lifestyle This is how Viagra can help you live longer Lifestyle Why women are opting to get their virginity restored through hymenoplasty Parenting Does mom's dagga end up in breast milk? News SEE: This surprising group is at risk of getting Listeriosis Medical A quick guide to sinus-related congestion Fitness The genius ab exercise that all gymnasts use, but everyone else ignores From our sponsors WIN a R2 000 beauty voucher! Understanding diabetes self-management Fed up with the Phlemings? Let’s chat diabetes and erectile dysfunction Live healthier FYI » When the flu turns deadly Why the flu makes you feel so miserable Could a deadly flu strain hit SA this winter? Following an intense flu season in the US and UK, should we be worried about our own upcoming flu season? Alcohol and acne » Dagga vs alcohol: Which is worse? SEE: Why you are drinking more alcohol than you realise Does alcohol cause acne? Some foods can be a trigger for acne, but what about alcohol? Dermatologist Dr Nerissa Moodley weighs in.