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Herbivore drool defeats fungal defence

A report in Biology Letters shows that the drool of herbivores might help defeat the toxic fungal defences of the plants they graze on.

Grazing or cutting some plants induces a noxious chemical to be produced which deters hungry plant-eaters from revisiting them. The chemicals, called alkaloi... Read More

Biomotor discovered in many bacteria and viruses

Nano-biotechnologists have reported the discovery of a new, third class of biomotor, unique in that it uses a "revolution without rotation" mechanism. These revolution biomotors are widespread among many bacteria and viruses.

Click "source" to read more. Read More

Beating bad bacteria

Wake Forest sophomore receives prestigious award to study dangerous bacteria.

The notion that trillions of bacteria are packed into the human body is enough to give anyone the heebie jeebies.

But not all bacteria are bad, said Hannah Martin, a rising sophomore. On the contrary, there are ... Read More

Harnessing the Power of Bacteria’s Sophisticated Immune System

Bacteria’s ability to destroy viruses has long puzzled scientists, but researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health say they now have a clear picture of the bacterial immune system and say its unique shape is likely why bacteria can so quickly recognize and destroy their as... Read More

The Ebola Outbreak: 'A Dress Rehearsal For The Next Big One'

Until this year, the world had recorded 1,640 deaths from Ebola since the virus was discovered in 1976.

Then Ebola appeared in West Africa.

So far this year, 887 people have died of Ebola in West Africa, the World Health Organization said Monday.

To put that into perspective, more than ... Read More

Bats in Geelong

After recording TWiV 296 with Linfa Wang, we drove to a nearby golf course. There we watched a colony of grey-headed flying foxes awaken and fly into the night.

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What’s wiping out the Caribbean corals?

Here’s what we know about white-​​band dis­ease: It has already killed up to 95 per­cent of the Caribbean’s reef-​​building elkhorn and staghorn corals, and it’s caused by an infec­tious bac­teria that seems to be trans­mitted through the water and by coral-​​eating snails.

Here’s what we don... Read More

Social networking is key to helping bugs spread, study shows

Bugs that can co-operate best with each other are most likely to be able to jump to new species, including humans, a new study shows.

Bacteria interact by releasing molecules to help them adapt to their environment – for example, when killing competing infections in their victim. They co-ord... Read More

Asian Tiger Mosquito Could Expand Painful Caribbean Virus into U.S.

Rapid expansion of this species, which is more aggressive than the species that is now spreading chikungunya into the Caribbean, is worrying scientists.

In the past few months, passengers at North American airports have been warned that travel to the Caribbean might result in an unwanted souv... Read More

BacterioFiles 179 - Functionless Phages Feel Fatiguing

 This episode: Defective phages in bacterial genomes can still have burdensome effects! Why do the bacteria keep them around?


(10.4 MB, 11.3 minutes)


Show notes: 
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Study examines therapeutic bacteria’s ability to prevent obesity

A probiotic that prevents obesity could be on the horizon.

Bacteria that produce a therapeutic compound in the gut inhibit weight gain, insulin resistance and other adverse effects of a high-fat diet in mice, Vanderbilt University investigators have discovered.

“Of course it’s hard to spec... Read More

U.S. biosafety experts watch every step in care of Ebola patients

A U.S. hospital caring for two Americans carrying the deadly Ebola virus has tapped biosafety experts to ensure doctors, nurses and other staff do everything needed to prevent the virus from escaping from an isolation ward in Atlanta.

The two patients, humanitarian aid workers who became infe... Read More

Mouth Bacteria Can Change Its Diet, Supercomputers Reveal

Bacteria inside your mouth drastically change how they act when you're diseased, according to research using supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC). Scientists say these surprising findings might lead to better ways to prevent or even reverse the gum disease periodontitis, ... Read More

Smart Bacteria Help Each Other Survive

The body’s assailants are cleverer than previously thought. New research from Lund University in Sweden shows for the first time how bacteria in the airways can help each other replenish vital iron. The bacteria thereby increase their chances of survival, which can happen at the expense of the p... Read More

Researchers uncover clues to flu’s mechanisms

A flu virus acts like a Trojan horse as it attacks and infects host cells. Scientists at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have acquired a clearer view of the well-hidden mechanism involved.

Their computer simulations may lead to new strategies to stop influenza, perhaps even a o... Read More

Scientists Choose Sides In Safety Debate Over Lab-Made Pathogens

A smoldering debate about whether or not researchers should ever deliberately create superflu strains and other risky germs in the interest of science has flared once again.

Proponents of the work say that in order to protect the public from the next naturally occurring pandemic, they have to... Read More

The viruses that spread antibiotic resistance

Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, and in the great war between humans and pathogenic bacteria they can act as allies for both sides. Phages that destroy their host bacteria can be used as antimicrobial therapy, complementing or replacing antibiotics. On the other hand as phages ar... Read More

How U.S. Hospitals Keep Deadly Germs Like Ebola Virus Contained

On Friday afternoon, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted a guide explaining how hospitals should manage Ebola patients. Hospital workers entering a patient's room should wear:

- Gloves
- Gown (fluid resistant or impermeable)
- Eye protection (goggles or face shield... Read More

Drug Combo Can Sure Hepatitis C in Patients With HIV

A new combination drug therapy cures chronic hepatitis C in most patients also infected with HIV—and without the side effects of current treatments.

The advance is important, researchers say, because about a third of HIV patients in the United States also have hepatitis C. There are an estima... Read More

Scientists hope bacterial blueprints will soon give doctors and nurses fewer sleepless nights

One of the most common types of bacterial infection might soon give doctors and nurses fewer sleepless nights, thanks to a discovery made by scientists at Trinity College Dublin. The scientists used X-ray crystallography techniques to provide a blueprint of the cellular machinery used by Pseudom... Read More
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