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Zombie bacteria are nothing to be afraid of

Recently identified cell-cycle controls are targets for new drugs that fight infections by shutting down division.

A cell is not a soap bubble that can simply pinch in two to reproduce. The ability to faithfully copy genetic material and distribute it equally to daughter cells is fundamental ... Read More

Scientists develop world’s first light-activated antimicrobial surface that also works in the dark

Researchers at UCL have developed a new antibacterial material which has potential for cutting hospital acquired infections. The combination of two simple dyes with nanoscopic particles of gold is deadly to bacteria when activated by light - even under modest indoor lighting. And in a first for ... Read More

TWiM 89 Letters

Peter writes:


Dear Michele,


Prof. Szybalski might have been referring to a truck with a wood gas generator


Apparently they are still in use north of the b... Read More

TB infection in lungs decreases diversity of gut bacteria

Johns Hopkins researchers have found evidence in mice that a tuberculosis (TB) infection in the lungs triggers immune system signaling to the gut that temporarily decreases the diversity of bacteria in that part of the digestive tract.

The Johns Hopkins researchers showed that this decrease i... Read More

Gut Bacteria in Preemies Altered by Hospital Stay, Study Finds

Gut bacteria in premature infants don't come from their mothers, but from microbes in the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU), a new study finds. Babies typically get their gut bacteria from their mothers during childbirth. Premature infants, however, receive antibiotics during their first week ... Read More

Endogenous RNA virus inhibits Borna disease virus replication

Animal genomes are known to contain captured retroviruses, typically referred to as endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). Many of these elements are still transcribed and are known to be involved in both beneficial functions in animal biology, such as placenta formation, and not-so beneficial functio... Read More

How Clean Should We Be?

There's a belief that says exposing people -- especially babies and young children -- to different kinds of germs early in life can keep them from developing illnesses like asthma, allergies, and other diseases that affect the immune system. The theory, called the “hygiene hypothesis,” is that o... Read More

Oman says first MERS-coronavirus sufferer dies in hospital

Oman's first MERS coronavirus patient died in hospital on Sunday from lung failure, state news agency ONA said.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, emerged in Saudi Arabia last year and has been reported in Qatar, France,... Read More

Gene sequencing refines threatening parasite list

Twenty-six species of Cryptosporidium have been recognised and 18 species declared non-valid in a recent shake-up of the parasite's taxonomy using DNA sequencing techniques.

Cryptosporidium is the second biggest cause of infant diarrhoea and death in developing countries, and is found across ... Read More

Compound stymies polyomaviruses in lab

There is no approved medicine to treat polyomaviruses, which afflict people with weakened immune systems, but scientists have found that a chemical compound called Retro-2 is able to reduce significantly the infectivity and spread of the viruses in lab cell cultures. Now they are working to impr... Read More

Fact or Fiction?: The Ebola Virus Will Go Airborne

Could Ebola go airborne? That’s the fear set off last week by a New York Times op-ed entitled “What We’re Afraid to Say about Ebola” from Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Although clinicians readily agree that th... Read More

HIV Can Cut and Paste in the Human Genome

Aarhus University has developed a technology that uses the HIV virus as a tool in the fight against hereditary diseases - and in the long term, against HIV infection as well. The technology repairs the genome in a new and safer manner.

For the first time researchers have succeeded in altering... Read More

Fluoribacter bozemanae expressing blue-white fluorescence under long-wave UV light.

Fluoribacter bozemanae expressing blue-white fluorescence under long-wave UV light. If you look carefully one of the steaks does not fluoresce on the right hand side of the plate. The dark colony is actually Legionella pneumophila. Read More

This Tiny Sensor Spots Salmonella In Minutes, Not Days

A new biosensor quickly detects salmonella in food and can be easily customized to detect other types of bacteria—or even different strains for the same bacterium.

The process appears to easily outperform tests that are now standard in the food industry, according to researchers at Rice Unive... Read More

Books for the Giving Season: Viral Readings

As the year closes out, we enter into the giving seasons of a variety of traditions. Lurking among the more pleasant types of giving is the 2013 – 2014 flu season, a viral gift that often keeps on giving. To combat this, reminders about the potential dangers of influenza and the importance of va... Read More

It’s Funnier When You’re Right

The mystery of alcoholic fermentations was uncovered in the first half of the 19th century by Cagniard-Latour (1837) in France, and Schwann (1837) and Kützing (1837) in Germany, based on microscopic studies but not without controversy. The great German organic chemist Justus Liebig did not like ... Read More

Bacterial Hopanoids – The Lipids That Last Forever

The world of lipids does not always gets its due. Their oleaginous charm is not always appreciated, as we said here before. For example, have you heard of hopanoids? They are made by some bacteria and are an unusual kind of polycyclic lipids that resemble steroids, but with an extra ring. Just l... Read More

Architecture May Influence Which Microbes Surround You

They have us surrounded. Even inside the spaces we build for ourselves — like homes and offices — we are a tiny minority. Invisible bacteria, fungi, and viruses outnumber us by orders of magnitude. We will always be outnumbered, but we may have a say in which microbes we’re surrounded by, accord... Read More

Divide and Conquer: novel trick helps rare pathogen infect healthy people

New research into a rare pathogen has shown how a unique evolutionary trait allows it to infect even the healthiest of hosts through a smart solution to the body’s immune response against it.

Scientists at the University of Birmingham have explained how a particular strain of a fungus, Crypto... Read More

Biotransformation of Enniatins from Fusarium Fungi in a Food Safety Perspective

Mould species of the genera Fusarium and Altenaria are considered the most important threats to Norwegian grain cereals because they produce toxins which can be a potential risk to food safety. F. avenaceum, the fungi most frequently isolated from Norwegian grain, produces enniatins which have b... Read More

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