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The Bacteria Flagellum

Some bacteria use a whip-like organ called a “flagellum” to move about in a liquid environment. This organ is embedded in to the cell membrane and enables the bacterium to move at will in a chosen direction at a particular speed.

Sperm cells, too, use a flagellum in order to move about.

Scientists have known about the flagellum for some time. However, its structural details, which have only emerged over the last decade or so, have come as a great surprise to them. It has been discovered that the flagellum moves by means of a very complicated “organic motor” and not by a simple vibratory mechanism as was earlier believed.

The propeller-like engine is constructed on the same mechanical principles as an electric motor. There are two main parts to it: a moving part ("the rotor") and a stationary one ("the stator").

The bacterial flagellum is different from all other organic systems that produce mechanical motion. The cell does not utilise available energy stored as ATP molecules. Instead, it has a special energy source: bacteria use energy from the flow of ions across their outer cell membranes. The inner structure of the motor is extremely complex. Approximately 240 distinct proteins go into constructing the flagellum. Each one of these is carefully positioned. Scientists have determined that these proteins carry the signals turning the motor on or off, form joints to facilitate movements at the atomic scale, and activate other proteins that connect the flagellum to the cell membrane. The models constructed to summarise the working of the system are enough to depict the complicated nature of the system. (1)

The complicated structure of the bacterial flagellum is sufficient all by itself to demolish the theory of evolution, since the flagellum has an irreducibly complex structure. Even if one single molecule in this fabulously complex structure were to disappear, or become defective, the flagellum would neither work nor be of any use to the bacterium. The flagellum must have been working perfectly from the first moment of its existence. This fact again reveals the nonsense in the theory of evolution's assertion of “step by step development”. 

There are amazing designs even in the creatures that evolutionists regard as “simple”. The bacterial flagellum is one of countless examples. Bacteria travel in water by moving this organ on their membrane. When the inner details of this well-known organ were revealed, the scientific world was extremely surprised to find that bacteria had an extraordinarily complicated electric motor. The electric motor, which is comprised of about fifty different molecular parts, is a wonder of design as shown above.

The bacterial flagellum is clear evidence that even in supposedly "primitive" creatures, there is an extraordinary design. As humanity becomes more deeply immersed in details, it becomes increasingly obvious that the organisms scientists of the 19th century, including Darwin , considered to be the simplest, are in fact just as complex as any others. In other words, as the perfection of the creation becomes clearer, the senselessness of the struggle to find alternative explanations for the creation is much more obvious.

Bacteria swim in viscous liquid environments by rotating helical propellers called flagella .

The bacterial flagellum is a nanomachine made of about 25 different proteins, each of them in multiple copies ranging from a few to tens of thousands. It is constructed by self-assembly of these large numbers of proteins, each into a different part that exerts a different function, such as a rotary motor, bushing, drive shaft, rotation-switch regulator, universal joint, helical propeller, and rotary promoter for self-assembly.

Flagellar proteins are synthesized within the cell body and transported through a long, narrow central channel in the flagellum to its distal (outer) end, where they self-assemble to construct complex nano scale structures efficiently, with the help of the flagellar cap as the assembly promoter. The rotary motor, with a diameter of only 30 to 40 nm, drives the rotation of the flagellum at around 300 Hz, at a power level of 10 -16 W with energy conversion efficiency close to 100 %.

The structural designs and functional mechanisms to be revealed in the complex machinery of the bacterial flagellum could provide many novel technologies that would become a basis for future nanotechnology, from which we should be able to find many useful applications.(2)