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Nice Germs Finish Last: "Good Samaritan" Bacteria Provide New Clues in Antibiotic Resistance

The world is full of Good Samaritans; you’ll find many of them in your own body. James J. Collins, a biologist at Boston University, has found that small numbers of drug-resistant bacteria help their vulnerable counterparts survive antibiotic onslaughts, even at a cost to themselves.

Collins ... Read More

UV Light Nearly Doubles Vacuum's Effectiveness in Reducing Carpet Microbes

New research suggests that the addition of ultraviolet light to the brushing and suction of a vacuum cleaner can almost double the removal of potentially infectious microorganisms from a carpet's surface when compared to vacuuming alone.

Researchers say the findings suggest that incorporating... Read More

How the immune system destroys viruses in cells

Scientists at Cambridge University believe that the immune system's main assault on viruses takes place inside infected cells, not outside as previously thought.

Click source to view the video. Read More

Small Things Considered blog now on the Kindle

Small Things Considered, the microbe blog, is now available for subscription on Amazon's Kindle.

Small Things Considered is co-authored by Moselio Schaechter, an actively retired microbiologist, currently living in San Diego, California. Schaechter spent most of his research career working o... Read More

Global Advance of Shrimp Virus Follows Evolutionary Biology Predictions

White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) has a devastating impact on shrimp farming throughout the world. What makes the situation even more serious is that the virus seems to become more aggressive as the epidemic spreads, contrary to other viruses, such as flu virus, that gradually die out. Scientists... Read More

Cholera in Haiti Matches Strains Seen in South Asia, U.S. Says

A cholera outbreak that has killed more than 300 people in Haiti matches strains commonly found in South Asia, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.

Researchers identified the strain by analyzing DNA patterns that can be compared with those from other regi... Read More

Tales of Death

Merry Youle of Small Things Considered looks at several bacteria that have borrowed "tail-like particles" from phages and fashioned from it a targeted bacterial killer for their own use.


"These efficient killers are indeed related to phage. One gene cluster in the P. aeruginosa PA... Read More

Gut bacteria change the sexual preferences of fruit flies

Imagine taking a course of antibiotics and suddenly finding that your sexual preferences have changed. Individuals who you once found attractive no longer have that special allure. That may sound far-fetched, but some fruit flies at Tel Aviv University have just gone through that very experience... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 18 - Predators Provoke Prokaryote Prey

This episode: Bacteria smell predators and cluster together for protection!

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The greatest thing since sliced bread

Or maybe greater - though I'm sure the makers of the many, many OTC products aimed @ cold-sufferers might fight tooth & nail to keep this one under wraps.
Well, nuts to them - shout this one from the rooftops! Read More

Common Stomach Bacteria May Fight Off Inflammatory Bowel Disease Caused by Salmonella

Helicobacter pylori, a common stomach bacterium, reduced the severity of inflammation of the colon caused by Salmonella in mice, according to research from U-M Medical School scientists.

More than half the people in the world are infected with H. pylori, although it is very unusual to find it... Read More

Interview: Astonishing, multitalented little bacteria

S.E. Gould, 22, writes the blog Lab Rat ( labrat.fieldofscience.com) and tweets as @labratting. Questions and answers have been edited.

Q. Your blog is a tad cryptic about who and where you are. Are you a university student?

I'm a graduate student working as a research assistant in the pat... Read More

Can breast-feeding prevent whooping cough?

Question asked by Sara of Decatur, Georgia:

I am six months pregnant and have a couple of questions about babies who have recently died from whooping cough in California. How were they introduced to the bacteria? Can breast-feeding prevent this illness?

Expert answer:

Thanks for your qu... Read More

Antibiotics Have Long-Term Impacts on Gut Flora

Short courses of antibiotics can leave normal gut bacteria harbouring antibiotic resistance genes for up to two years after treatment, say scientists writing in the latest issue of Microbiology, published Nov. 3.

The researchers believe that this reservoir increases the chances of resistance ... Read More

Has the US government abandoned gene patents?

In an unexpected move certain to make queasy biotechnology executives reach for their Pepto Bismol, the United States government issued a brief last Friday that strongly argues against gene patents. The position was explained in an amicus brief filed in a high-profile lawsuit over the validity o... Read More

Open-access science publishing: reaching beyond academia?

Who benefits when scientists publish articles in open-access journals? I talked recently with someone who thinks a lot about open-access publishing, and he had some surprising things to say. Phil Davis, a postdoctoral associate at Cornell University, studies the use and dissemination of open-a... Read More

Vaccines recover from flu crisis

Last fall the nation seemed to be on the brink of a vaccine crisis. Production delays led to shortages of the new H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine. Surveys found that people were confused about who needed that vaccine and who needed the regular annual flu shot. The quick manufacturing process for the ne... Read More

Mozart is music to a microbe's ears

Classical music's ability to stir the soul and lift the spirit is undisputed. But its ability to break down sewage is only just coming to light.

A German company is trialling a sound system that replicates the vibrations and sounds of the concert hall which, when combined with oxygen, helps b... Read More

Human Immune System Assassin's Tricks Visualized for the First Time

Scientists from the UK and Australia have seen the human immune system's assassin -- a protein called perforin -- in action for the first time. The UK team is based at Birkbeck College where they used powerful electron microscopes to study the mechanism that perforin uses to punch holes in rogue... Read More

Europe’s Plagues Came From China, Study Finds

The great waves of plague that twice devastated Europe and changed the course of history had their origins in China, a team of medical geneticists reported Sunday, as did a third plague outbreak that struck less harmfully in the 19th century.

And in separate research, a team of biologists re... Read More
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