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 Hydration: how much is too much? 2018-08-30 11:00 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 Smoking e-cigarettes could significantly slow healing of wounds Lifestyle This is exactly how to escape a botched bench press Lifestyle 6 legit health benefits of quinoa News Shocking prevalence of pregnancies, HIV infections in 9-19 year olds in Limpopo village Lifestyle Is it safe to sleep with your contact lenses in? We found out Lifestyle How does circumcision really affect your sex life? Here are the facts From our sponsors Dementia and Incontinence: what you need to know Tell-tale signs you need a mattress upgrade Keen to win a R2 000 voucher? Good health begins in your gastrointestinal tract Live healthier Gut health » Can't lose weight? Blame it on your gut Our nutrition experts weigh in on why gut health is such an important factor in weight loss, on World Obesity Day. Sleep better » Yes, there is such a thing as too much sleep A new study confirms that too little sleep can impair your brain, but interestingly, too much sleep is also a problem.