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Bacteria ‘factories’ churn out valuable chemicals

A team of researchers led by Harvard geneticist George Church at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and Harvard Medical School (HMS) has made big strides toward a future in which the predominant chemical factories of the world are colonies of genetically engineered bacteria... Read More

Molecule hijacks enzyme to boost alcohol metabolism

An experimental compound empowers an enzyme to help process acetaldehyde, a toxic metabolite of alcohol, according to new research supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The findings, now online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), ... Read More

The deadly, new "Bourbon virus" was just discovered in the US

A mysterious illness that seems to have killed a farmer in Kansas has led to the discovery of a new virus last week: the Bourbon virus.

The farmer had been working on his field last spring when he got several tick bites, including one that appeared to be attached to his shoulder. A few days l... Read More

Ebola in DRC: a new strain of the virus

While an Ebola epidemic has been raging in West Africa since March 2014, an outbreak of this haemorrhagic fever occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in August, leaving fears over the virus' spread to Central Africa. A study by the IRD, the Institut Pasteur, the CNRS, the CIRMF... Read More

"Bioleaching" bugs present viable mining method

Salt and acid-tolerant bacteria with the potential to be used in mining processing have been uncovered in the Wheatbelt.

The bugs were found during a "bio-prospecting" survey near Merredin and are likely to become more important in WA in coming decades as high-grade ore runs out.
CSIRO envir... Read More

Infectious disease: Mobilizing Ebola survivors to curb the epidemic

Multiple governments and non-governmental organizations have called on health-care personnel the world over to help control West Africa's Ebola outbreak; these include Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations children's charity UNICEF. But the demand... Read More

Life on a Pig's Skin

How frequently do microbes exchange genes when living on a host? This question has been on my mind lately. Broadly speaking, the discovery of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) revolutionized the way we think about prokaryotic evolution. No more could we think only of inheritance via vertical descen... Read More

Life would go on if all bacteria disappeared

Microbes: They're everywhere, including inside our bodies. But are they really necessary? Not to life, scientists argue in a new paper — but certainly to life as we know it.

For starters, microbiologists Jack Gilbert and Josh Neufeld had to put aside the internal cell structures that were pro... Read More

Retracing the Roots of Fungal Symbioses

Mycorrhizal fungi live in the roots of host plants, where they exchange sugars that plants produce by photosynthesis for mineral nutrients that fungi absorb from the soil. They include some of the most conspicuous forest mushrooms, including the iconic, flaming red “fly agaric,” Amanita muscaria... Read More

Bacterial Motors Come in a Dizzying Array of Models

Bacteria that can swim propel themselves with corkscrew tails anchored in rotary motors. That may seem surprisingly mechanical for a microbe, but it is a system that has been wildly popular and conserved across billions of years of evolution.

To see what I mean, I encourage you to visit this ... Read More

Unidentified Microbes on SDA

Unidentified soil microbes on SDA plates; most colonies are producing compounds (droplets can be seen on top of the colonies; possibly antibiotic producers). This picture was taken by me, Kaitlynn Fenley. The plate is from the class that I am a teaching assistant for at Louisiana State Universit... Read More

An aggressive form of HIV uncovered in Cuba

Engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners increases the risk of contracting multiple strains of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Once inside a host, these strains can recombine into a new variant of the virus. One such recombinant variant observed in patients in Cuba appears to be much ... Read More

Trial confirms Ebola vaccine candidate safe, equally immunogenic in Africa

Two experimental DNA vaccines to prevent Ebola virus and the closely related Marburg virus are safe, and generated a similar immune response in healthy Ugandan adults as reported in healthy US adults earlier this year. The findings are from the first trial of filovirus vaccines in Africa. Read More

New study offers novel insights into pathogen behavior

A new study by a team of researchers that includes University of Notre Dame scientists Joshua Shrout and Mark Alber provides new insights into the behavior of an important bacterial pathogen.

Alber, Vincent J. Duncan Family Professor of Applied Mathematics, and Schrout, an associate professor... Read More

colonies picture of candida spp.

Colonies of candida species:

Media: HiCrome Candida Differential Agar
principle: Perry and Miller (1) reported that Candida albicans produces an enzyme b -N-acetyl- galactosaminidase and according to
Rousselle et al (2) incorporation of chromogenic or fluorogenic hexosaminidase substrates ... Read More

Michael Goldberg, Thirty Years The ASM's Executive Director

You must have heard it said that no one is indispensable to an institution. Maybe so, but such truths come in degrees. Every so often someone comes along who makes a genuine difference in how an organization functions. I turn here to Michael Goldberg, who thirty years ago began a most distinguis... Read More

Q&A: Seth Mnookin on vaccination and public health

Seth Mnookin, an assistant professor of science writing and associate director of MIT's Graduate Program in Science Writing, is the author of "The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy", an acclaimed book that examines how inaccurate scientific reports linking vaccine... Read More

A Pill That Mimics the Immune System

The human body doesn’t like outsiders. When a foreign pathogen or substance, say an unwanted virus, finds its way into our blood streams we produce antibodies that the neutralize the threat. These “Y”-shaped proteins are made by a class of white blood cells called plasma cells and bind to molecu... Read More

Should An HIV-Positive Body Be Considered a Deadly Weapon?

When Terrance Williams was 21, he met a man in Syracuse, and the two became friends. Some weeks later, they became sexually involved. Williams and this partner—who, in court papers, is referred to only as “the victim”—used protection in their relationship, at first. But one night, Williams’s par... Read More

TWiP 74 letters

 voxsciurorum writes:


Dear water-based life forms:


It is 24 degrees in Overland Park, Kansas and I am looking at a slide labeled "Giardia lamblia", part of a museum exhibit on water and human (over) use of water.


I see a greenish lump. I don't kno... Read More

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