The Bacteria That Live on Caffeine

If you can't live without a cup of coffee, you have something in common with the bacterium Pseudomonas putida CBB5. The bug was discovered to live on caffeine - literally!

The caffeine-munching bacterium was found in a flower bed on the University of Iowa campus.

Ryan Summers, a doctoral student there, identified four digestive proteins that it uses to break down caffeine, which allows it to live and grow, he explains in a summary of his research presented at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans.

"This work, for the first time, demonstrates the enzymes and genes utilized by bacteria to live on caffeine," he writes.

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