white becoming white

Candida albicans, member of the Saccharomycetaceae (yeast) family as well as the human microbial community, I especially enjoy painting you fungus. I wasn’t planning on it, but maybe I’ll draw another member of your fungi kingdom.

The word Candida comes from the Latin candidus, meaning white. Albicans derives from the Latin word albicō, meaning becoming white. White becoming white.

Man, are we loaded with bugs! I never gave this stuff a thought…by stuff I mean the variety of microorganisms, including candida, holding microscopic space in the human body.

This fungus is most commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract and mouth (in at least 80% of the worldwide population). In some circles Candida aids in food digestion and absorption, while in other circles (the out of control circles?) it’s known as an opportunistic pathogen.

Candida albicans under the microscope.

The fungus (yeast) is naturally  found in the human body, primarily in the intestine, colon and mouth. Out of control, it can attack skin and mucous membranes. It can also travel through  the blood stream and affect kidneys, heart, lungs, throat and heart-valves. (Is this what it means to be metabolically flexible?)

cellular structure.

C. albicans is an eukaryotic organism. It’s structure includes a cell wall (which seems an important aspect to this microorganism), nucleus, ribosomes and mitochondria. I don’t know what it means when I read hyphae sense reproductive units from a distance and grow towards them but it makes me think of an electric pull.

I appreciate the lace-like quality of the organic form. The long branches, called hyphae (web) with their circular budded tip, appeal to me. This subject-matter is visually elegant and playful. Candida itself, complicated.

Here is what I wonder:
Candida albicans are commensal. We eat at the same table? I take this to mean they consume what the human host consumes. Yes? Or do they eat what the host discards?  Mutually beneficial?
Is C. albicans overgrowth always seen as an attack on the body? Can the out of control set up be a warning sign of another imbalance (other microbes) in the human body? 

#Microbiota #NewToMe #LoveDrawingMicroorganisms

2 thoughts on “white becoming white

  1. Love reading your posts and seeing your art explorations!

    In a recent Plant Bio and Desert Ecology class I took, we looked at 4 kinds of symbiotic relationships – commensalism, mutualism, predation, and competition.

    Commensalism – where one species benefits, but the relationship is neutral for the other.
    Mutualism – relationship that is mutually beneficial between the two species.
    Predation – relationship that is good for the predator and bad for the prey. There are three categories of predation: carnivory, herbivory, and parasitism.
    Competition – when different species compete for the same resources, such as water, food, space, and shelter, when those resources are limited.

    If Candida albicans are helping with us food digestion it seems like we would have a mutualistic relationship with them. I wonder if the description of them as commensally relating is referring to their relationship with us or to relationships with other types of bacteria.


  2. Thanks for listing the variety of relationships. I’m still trying to get this straight.

    In the case of Candida – Maybe it’s more complicated? If there is overgrowth…competition? predation?
    Or might it be a signal that something else is out of order (a virus, an invader)…commensal?

    I don’t know that I see everything as separate…All the microorganisms work together and thrive or they don’t …
    The community works together or it doesn’t thrive?
    Organic and changing…maybe I simplify.

    Thanks Wright. Your class sounds cool!


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