This episode: Engineered bacteria can be made to produce many different useful kinds of biofilm!
(10.5 MB, 11.5 minutes)
Biofuels made from plant materials—also known as lignocellulosic biofuels—have promise as a source of sustainable alternative fuels thanks to soil bacterium known as Enterobacter lignolyticus SCF1. SCF1 degrades lignin and decomposes plant cell walls, allowing access to the cellulose sugars that... Read More
Scientists are revealing how microbes living on floating pieces of plastic marine debris affect the ocean ecosystem, and the potential harm they pose to invertebrates, humans and other animals. New research being presented here today delves deeper into the largely unexplored world of the “Plasti... Read More
Throughout the animal kingdom, mothers transfer microbes to their young while giving birth. Different species of tadpoles acquire specific skin bacteria from mother frogs even though they all live in the same pond with the same bacterial background. Emerging chicken eggs get inoculated with micr... Read More
George Washington had a collection of 476 kinds of pickles. To prevent scurvy, Christopher Columbus stocked pickles on the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Julius Caesar, believing pickles to be invigorating, added them to the Roman legions' diet. In 5000 BCE, the Babylonians were known for picklin... Read More
Imagine you were forced to live in perpetually subzero temperatures, with no oxygen, no light, and way more salt than your system could handle. How would you manage? One way might be to get extremely small. At least, that seems to be what’s happening in a frozen Antarctic lake that’s cut off fro... Read More
Scientists regularly tap into biological systems to find solutions for human problems. Although they work with plants and viruses in the lab, bacteria have many advantages as a starting point. When programmed in certain ways, bacteria can store data, clean dangerous waste, produce film-like imag... Read More
Over a number of years, epidemiological studies established several well-defined risk factors for cancer, including age, heredity, diet, tobacco use, chronic viral infections, and inflammation. Paradoxically, the success of these studies left little room for incorporation of any new factors or c... Read More
BERKELEY — People infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can stave off the symptoms of AIDS thanks to drug cocktails that mainly target three enzymes produced by the virus, but resistant strains pop up periodically that threaten to thwart these drug combos. Researchers at the Unive... Read More
It has been proposed that rotavirus infection promotes the progression of genetically-predisposed children to type 1 diabetes, a chronic autoimmune disease marked by infiltration of activated lymphocytes into pancreatic islets. Non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice provide a model for the human disease.... Read More
The sprawling citrus orchard that Victor Story toured recently sure looked like a steal at $11,000 an acre. The investors who owned it were going to lose money, and potential buyers such as Story might have stood to reap a handsome reward.
But as he bumped along the 40 acres of groves in a la... Read More
A boy with cystic fibrosis develops a chronic and potentially deadly Burkholderia dolosa infection in his lungs. Varieties of genetic mutations allow some strains of the bacteria to survive the dual assaults from his immune system and antibiotics, while others perish. Eventually, the strongest m... Read More
Cilia — short, hair-like fibers — are widely present in nature. Single-celled paramecia use one set of cilia for locomotion and another set to sweep nutrients into their oral grooves. Researchers at Brown have discovered that those two cilia sets operate at different speeds when the viscosity of... Read More
In its early days, ca. 1945-1965, molecular biology was a particularly collegial undertaking, characterized by free sharing of research data and a relative lack of egotistical behavior. The reason for this marvel may well have been that there was so much to discover—so many low hanging fruits—th... Read More
Otherwise innocuous bacteria can cause deadly infections when people have surgery or fall ill. To prevent trouble, patients sometimes have their bodies scrubbed clean of Staphylococcus aureus. But it doesn't always work.
That may because the germs thrive in upper recesses of the nose, far fro... Read More
Researchers have debated for more than two decades the likely impacts, if any, of global warming on the worldwide incidence of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that infects more than 300 million people each year. University of Michigan ecologists and their colleagues are reporting the first har... Read More
Ever since a highway construction crew in Chile uncovered a fossil graveyard of some 40 prehistoric whales in 2010, with skeletons dating back more than five million years, scientists have wondered why so many giant animals died in one place. This week, a team of them proposed an answer: The hug... Read More
Low birth weight infants are host to numerous microorganisms immediately after birth, and the microbiomes of their mouths and gut start out very similar but differentiate significantly by day 15 according to a study in mBio this week. Researchers from Stanford University and the University of Pi... Read More
Inspired by natural materials such as bone — a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells — MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots.
These “living materials” combin... Read More
Colorectal cancer develops in what is probably the most complex environment in the human body, a place where human cells cohabitate with a colony of approximately 10 trillion bacteria, most of which are unknown. At the 2014 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting in San Diego, re... Read More