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What’s eating you? The first food web inside humans suggests potential new treatments for infection

Imagine going to the doctor with an infection and being sent home with a course of drugs. Unknown to your doctor you actually have two infections. If you take the drugs will the other infection go away by itself? What if you take the drugs and the other infection gets worse? This quandary faces ... Read More

1 in 25 patients gets infection in hospital

When antibiotics first started being used in the 1940's they were considered a "miracle drug". It seemed that bacterial infections would no longer be a problem for the world. However, recently, one gene is making it seem as though the end of antibiotics is at hand. This gene is New Delhi metallo... Read More

Healthy Lung Microbes Keep Mice Breathing Easy

Like humans, mice start life with sterile lungs that soon get colonized by microbes, which appear to protect the lung tissue from an asthma-like reaction in the presence of dust mites.

Human cells are outnumbered ten-to-one by the microbes that thrive in and on us. Now a study finds that the ... Read More

Two new weapons in the battle against bacteria

Proteases are vital proteins that serve for order within cells. They break apart other proteins, ensuring that these are properly synthesized and decomposed. Proteases are also responsible for the pathogenic effects of many kinds of bacteria. Now chemists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen ... Read More

Poison-breathing bacteria

Buried deep in the mud along the banks of a remote salt lake near Yosemite National Park are colonies of bacteria with an unusual property: they breathe a toxic metal to survive. Researchers from the University of Georgia discovered the bacteria on a recent field expedition to Mono Lake in Calif... Read More

TWiM 83 Letters

Matt writes:


Hello TWiM team,

It was great seeing some of you at ASM last week in Boston either in passing between sessions or at the live TWiV episode. I have a few questions about the ASM meeting:
What was something that you all took away from ASM th... Read More

Swirling and whirling: the movement of spherical bacteria

Research on bacterial movement tends to focus on the rod-shaped bacteria. With the aid of small waving flagella, each bacterial cell can push itself in the direction it wishes to go. They can also move in groups, forming large swarms that ripple and slide their way across Petri dishes. Spherical... Read More

Lab-on-a-Chip Tracks Down 'Most Wanted' Microbe

A diagnostic tool that’s about the size of a credit card has identified a highly prized gut microbe.

The microbe contains interesting genetic sequences, but it has proven challenging to culture in the lab.

Researchers used the device, called SlipChip, to isolate microbes from a patient’s g... Read More

Fla. dolphins harbor potentially deadly bacteria

One in every three bottlenose dolphin tested in the Indian River Lagoon on Florida's Atlantic coast has antibodies to a bacteria that can make them more vulnerable to other deadly infections, according to a new study.

The finding comes as researchers struggle to figure out what has caused a r... Read More

Soil microbiomes can set plant flowering time

Scientists grew Boechera stricta plants in soil inoculated with microbes from natural B. stricta habitats to study the flowering time phenotype.

The technique researchers employed to isolate soil microbes to study their effect on a single plant phenotype can potentially be applied to other st... Read More

Breakthrough antibacterial approach could resolve serious skin infections

Like a protective tent over a colony of harmful bacteria, biofilms make the treatment of skin infections especially difficult. Microorganisms protected in a biofilm pose a significant health risk due to their antibiotic resistance and recalcitrance to treatment, and biofilm-protected bacteria ac... Read More

Rising star uses paper to tackle food-borne diseases

A University of Alberta researcher’s star is rising thanks to her idea to detect deadly pathogens such as E. coli using a paper device only slightly larger than a postage stamp.

Frédérique Deiss, a post-doctoral fellow in the Faculty of Science, is working on ways to help detect food- and wat... Read More

TWiM 74 Letters

Katja writes:


Thank you for the great podcast! You've explained our story very well and it was funny to listen to it. I didn't know that "Speak friend and enter" is from lord of the rings! I just wanted to explain the name CYCLOPS because this was a question mark in t... Read More

Mannitol Salt Agar (MSA)

Mannitol Salt Agar (MSA)
•Important Ingredients: Phenol red, mannitol (sugar), 7.5% NaCl
•Differential: between pathogenic S. aureus and S. epidermidis
•Selective: NaCl inhibits non-halophilic organisms. Organism that can grow are halophilic.
•Mannitol Fermentors: fermentation of acid cau... Read More

The truth behind the '5-Second Rule': When in doubt, throw it out

The burger patty that slides off the plate, the ice cream treat that plops on the picnic table, the hot dog that rolls off the grill – conventional wisdom has it that you have five seconds to pick it up before it is contaminated.

Fact or folklore?

“A dropped item is immediately contaminate... Read More

Human Sweat's Filthy Attributes Stop Bacteria-Fighting Brass

Human sweat is actually much dirtier and bacteria-filled than we initially thought. Scientists have found that sweaty hands can reduce the effect that brass objects have of fighting bacteria. Brass objects can be found in hospitals and schools and sweat can fight off its abilities just an hour a... Read More

Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis hovers threateningly at Australia’s door

Hello dear TWIM'ers!

Firstly I would like to apologize in advance for my poor English skills since my native language is Portuguese. This past few years much has been the attention towards drug resistant bacteria. I am aware that a couple of your podcast touched this subject, but a few weeks ... Read More

Researchers map gene differences in yellow fever, malaria mosquitoes, to help prevent disease

Virginia Tech entomologists have developed a chromosome map for about half of the genome of the mosquito Aedes agypti, the major carrier of dengue fever and yellow fever.

With the map, researchers can compare the chromosome organization and evolution between this mosquito and the major carri... Read More

New chip lets scientists listen in on bacteria

Researchers at Columbia University are turning that optics-based imaging approach on its head, instead developing a chip based on integrated circuit technology that lets them not only electrochemically image bacteria, but listen in on them as well.

Click on 'source' to read more. Read More

Diet Affects Men’s and Women’s Gut Microbes Differently

The microbes living in the guts of males and females react differently to diet, even when the diets are identical, according to a study by scientists from The University of Texas at Austin and six other institutions published this week in the journal Nature Communications. These results suggest ... Read More

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