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On Finding Jewels in the Junk

In prokaryotes, it only takes a small jazz band to get the music grooving: piano and a rhythm section suffice. The promoter region of a gene is a tiny stage on which RNA polymerase (p) and few transcription factors (dr, b) improvise on a tune, i.e. they initiate or skip transcription. By contras... Read More

Farmers Fight Poisonous Wheat Fungus with Cleaning and Waiting

Dave Wiechert of Nashville, Illinois, does good business most years cleaning seed for farmers in preparation for planting season. But this year, Wiechert is doing big business after harvest: cleaning fungus off wheat so farmers can sell it.

The "head scab" fungus can produce vomitoxin, a chem... Read More

A Symbiont Betrays Its Host

It came as a surprise to me recently to realize how much is known about the immune responses of plants and, moreover, how much there is to know. There is, I found, detailed molecular information about how our botanical cousins defend themselves against the onslaught of infectious agents. Perhaps... Read More

Artificial Cells and Salad Dressing

A University of California, Riverside assistant professor of engineering is among a group of researchers that have made important discoveries regarding the behavior of a synthetic molecular oscillator, which could serve as a timekeeping device to control artificial cells. Read More

The Min System: All the Places You’ll Go!

Most bacteria divide quite precisely and their daughter cells are often the same size. The reason for this accuracy is not really known, but it must be important because it is such a frequent phenomenon. This requires good measuring sticks, systems that calculate distance from the ends and restr... Read More

Ocean microbes display a hidden talent: releasing countless tiny lipid-filled sacs

In the search for a renewable energy source, systems using algae look like a good bet. Algae can grow quickly and in high concentrations in areas unsuitable for agriculture; and as they grow, they accumulate large quantities of lipids, carbon-containing molecules that can be extracted and conver... Read More

Pig-manure fertilizer linked to human MRSA infections

People living near pig farms or agricultural fields fertilized with pig manure are more likely to become infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, according to a paper published today in JAMA Internal Medicine1.

Previous research has found that livestock worke... Read More

Strict Diet Suspends Development, Doubles Lifespan of Worms

The centuries-long search for the fountain of youth has yielded only a few promising leads, one of which entails an extreme, emaciating diet. A new study of the tiny nematode worm C. elegans begins to explain this marvel of calorie restriction and hints at an easier way to achieve longevity.

... Read More

Fine Reading: Exploring the Microbial Dark Matter

We live in a world run by microbes, the vast majority of which we have yet to identify or name. We can only refer to them collectively as the microbial dark matter (MDM). However you define a prokaryotic species, and however you tally them once identified, there is a huge gap between the 12,000 ... Read More

ASM GM 2014 - The Potential Role of Gut Microbes in Autism

Most gut bacteria are beneficial, aiding food digestion, producing vitamins, and protecting against harmful bacteria. If left unchecked, however, harmful bacteria can excrete... Read More

Equine gut bacteria probed in pilot study

The gut bacteria in horses are being researched at the University of Pennsylvania, in a series of projects that scientists hope will ultimately benefit animal and human health.

Researchers at the university’s School of Veterinary Medicine are leading five pilot projects as part of the wider i... Read More

Bacteria Show Promise in Restoring Aquifers Used in Uranium Mining

Wyoming’s resurgent uranium industry could get a further boost from University of Wyoming scientists, whose research on post-mining environmental restoration is yielding extremely promising results.

Research in UW laboratories has shown that stimulating growth of native bacteria could be a mo... Read More

Salmonella Infections Fall, But Foodborne Illness Rates Unchanged

Infection from salmonella bacteria, the most common form of food poisoning in the U.S., declined last year but the overall rate of foodborne illness is holding stubbornly steady despite new measures intended to curb it, according to data released Thursday by the federal Centers for Disease Contr... Read More

Structural insights into inner workings of viral nanomachine

Researchers are using new nanoscale imaging approaches to shed light on the dynamic activities of rotaviruses, important pathogens that cause life-threatening diarrhea in young children. Once a rotavirus enters a host cell, it sheds its outermost protein layer, leaving behind a double-layered pa... Read More

Bacteria left a methane mess after spill

Study contradicts notion that microbes consumed most of the gas after 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.

When the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon oil well sent some 400,000 tonnes of methane into the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, many scientists and others feared it would linger. So researchers w... Read More

Ancient buried treasure found in daisy seeds

By tracing the evolutionary origin of a drug-like protein ring found in sunflowers, Australian and US scientists have discovered a diverse, 18-million-year-old group of buried proteins in daisy seeds.

Researchers at The University of Western Australia, working with academics from The Universi... Read More

TWiM 85 Letters

Tom writes:


Hi TWIM, TWIV and TWIP Argonauts,


Your three wonderful podcasts are the nutrient media for growing my scientific knowledge. I have been downloading them from ITunes for a couple of years, and although as a mere amateur I sometimes struggle to keep ... Read More

Malaria control: The great mosquito hunt

The armed guards at Mali's Bamako Senou International Airport had never seen a German shepherd before. The only dogs they were familiar with were the small, scrappy mixed breeds that are common in West Africa. So when Dana, a wolf-like purebred from California, stepped off a plane and into the a... Read More

2 health care workers exposed to MERS patient had flu-like symptoms

Two health care workers went to the emergency room with flu-like symptoms after coming into contact with a patient confirmed to have Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, officials said Tuesday.

The Florida patient represents the second confirmed case of MERS brought into the United Stat... Read More

Computing with Slime

A future computer might be a lot slimier than the solid silicon devices we have today. In a study published in the journal Materials Today, European researchers reveal details of logic units built using living slime molds, which might act as the building blocks for computing devices and sensors.... Read More

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