Lesson Learned 1: Let it Rain, Let it Pour

11 07 2010


To keep things interesting, I am starting a new post called Lesson Learned. Each week I will post up a new interesting thing I’ve learned hopefully connecting the rest of the world to pharmacy, but probably not most of the time.

This week, why does it smell so ridiculously awesome after it rains?


According to the people over at How Stuff Works, there are a lot of reasons why it smells the way it does after it rains. Chemicals from our atmosphere, acidic rain that reacts with organic matter, and volatile oils released by plants all contribute. However, the one smell that we most distinctly associate with the post-rain aroma is Actinomycetes, a bacteria.

Who remembers micro lab and having to work with Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PSA)? That stuff smelled awful.

When the weather dry out, the bacteria release their spores into the soil and wait for it to rain. Once it does rain, the moist air and force of the rain throws the spores up in the air for our olfactory pleasures.

Mycobacterium, AKA Tuberculosis and Leprosy are in the class Actinobacteria

So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, let me start off by saying Jamie Lee Curtis. No, I am not talking about “Halloween” or” “Freaky Friday,” I am referring to her best role yet. Any guesses? I, of course, am talking about her role with Activia, the

pooping yogurt. You know that stuff with the strangely fake sounding scientific name Bifidus Regularis. Well its real name is Bifidobacterium animalis and it too is an Actinobacteria.

But the coolest thing about the Actinobacteria is the family is the Streptomyces. What’s the big deal about these guys? Well, let me just say if they didn’t exist our Pharmacology class with Dr. Voigt would have been a lot easier. Erythromycin, Tetracycline, Vancomycin, Clavulanic Acid, Rifamycin, Chloramphenicol, and Streptomycin are just a few of the many antibiotics that have been derived from these bacteria.

So what have we learned today? The smell after rain, yeah it made our life hell for a few tests.



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