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Eternal Yogurt: The Starter That Lives Forever

If you make your own yogurt, there's a chance your yogurt could outlive you.
That's because some bacteria that grow and feed on the sugar in milk – the process that ferments milk into yogurt — can procreate indefinitely in new generations of yogurt.

But not all yogurts have these immortal po... Read More

TWiV 177 Letters

John writes:


Dear TWIVvers,


In TWIV 173, you talked about a study on antibody levels to bird flu (H5N1) in various populations, and related this to infections that don't cause serious enough illness to send someone to the hospital, or perhaps to get them teste... Read More

Policy On High-Risk Biological Research Tightened

The Obama administration has announced a new policy to handle the risks posed by legitimate biological research that could, in the wrong hands, threaten the public.

The move comes in response to a huge debate over recent experiments on bird flu virus that got funding from the National Institu... Read More

Knight Science Journalism Tracker review of TWiM Episode 32 with Rosie Redfield

"Take a listen to four very savvy and plain-talking biologists chatting on their business at an inside-the-academy site called This Week in Microbiology, and more specifically at episode TWiM 32. There host and Columbia U. faculty member Vincent Racaniello and two colleagues talk of arsenic and ... Read More

Washington Post Kids: Ever wondered if there’s good bacteria?

As a pediatrician, I spend a lot of time looking for bacteria that might be making my patients sick. Some well-known illnesses that are caused by bacteria include strep throat, ear infections, Lyme disease and conjunctivitis (pinkeye). Bacteria are also responsible for acne, cavities and body od... Read More

Serratia marcescens on a DNA plate

Serratia marcescens streaked on a DNA plate and incubated for 48 hours at room temperature. Read More

Air pollution and tuberculosis may be connected

In a new study, scientists have determined a possible link between exposure to a common component of urban air pollution and a change in the function of important immune cells that protect against the bacteria that cause tuberculosis.

In their finding, a team of researchers, led by Dr. Steph... Read More

Small Comfort: Nanomedicine Able to Penetrate Bodily Defenses

Researchers use stealthy nanoscale particles to infiltrate vaginal mucus and keep herpes at bay in mice.

Tears and a runny nose can be unpleasant on a windy day, but these mucosal secretions play a vital role in protecting the body from viruses and other malicious microbes. Unfortunately, muc... Read More

The Microbial Academy of Sciences: What Bacteria Can Discover That We Can’t

Other than basic stuff like the Earth rotating around the sun and E=MC2, how much do you know about the universe? Most people would say: not very much. But if you’re a theoretical physicist, you probably know quite a bit more--but still not that much; most of the mysteries of the universe still ... Read More

Ultra high-res images with no-lens microscope

A new electron microscope that works without a lens may create the highest resolution images ever seen.

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), which looks through an object to see atomic features within it, has been constrained for over 70 years by the relatively poor lenses that are used to... Read More

A mad cow in America

A dairy cow in California is the fourth known American case of mad cow disease, which is caused by prions, infectious agents composed only of protein (the story hit the press the day after my lecture on this type of illness). Unlike viruses, prions have no nucleic acid and no protective coat. Bu... Read More

Fermented Fashion via @wabibitotweets @phylogenomics

The Micro'be' project by contemporary textile artist and lecturer Donna Franklin, and scientist Gary Cass, explores fashion and technology's newest frontier: garments made from the bacterial fermentation of wine and beer.

The project's eureka moment came about through a vat of Australian red... Read More

Copy of the genetic makeup travels in a protein suitcase

Scientists from the Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Bonn have succeeded for the first time in the real time filming of the transport of an important information carrier in biological cells that is practically unmodified. This paper has now been published in ... Read More

Titan's tides reveal hidden ocean that could host life

Alien hunters take note: a global water ocean potentially bigger than all those on Earth combined, is sloshing beneath Titan's icy crust.

Combined with the cocktail of organic chemicals already known to exist on Titan, abundant water could make the moon prime real estate for life – though mor... Read More

Grow Your Own Computer?

There may be a new wave of computer technology on the way thanks to scientists at the University of Leeds and Japan’s University of Agriculture and Technology: Growing your own computer.

Magnet-making bacteria may be used to create the next generation of hard drives, making them much smaller ... Read More

Some Like It Very Hot

Russian scientists have now poured 60 tonnes of freon and kerosene down the four-kilometre bore hole that plunges through the ice above Lake Vostok in Antarctica. This will stop the hole freezing up during the long Antarctic winter. When summer comes, the Russian team will return to drill the la... Read More

The Extra Pounds You Can't Afford to Lose: An Interview With Microbiologist Margaret McFall-Ngai

Recent revelations about our microscopic partners and tenants are numerically startling, if not downright existential. Try these for starters: Most of the cells within your body are not human cells, and you are literally teeming with pounds of busy microbes, working to earn their keep while you ... Read More

How medicine created a bacteria problem

On a warm afternoon in summer we were sitting in the lecture theatre, learning about germs. A microbiologist was showing us slides of enormously magnified bacteria (“God, this is like bug Imax!” said the girl behind me). The lecturer had a cold; he was coughing dramatically. After a prolonged bo... Read More

Aaron J. Shatkin, 77

Aaron J. Shatkin was well known for his work on reoviruses beginning in the 1960s in his laboratory at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in Nutley, NJ and then at Rutgers University. He was among the first to appreciate that virus particles contained many different enzymes, such as RNA po... Read More

Schmallenberg virus: What, where, how?

As Schmallenberg virus is confirmed on 74 farms in the UK, our environment correspondent Richard Black looks at what the virus is, what it does and how it can be tackled.

What is Schmallenberg virus?
Schmallenberg virus is a disease of farm animals that was first seen last year in northern E... Read More

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