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Pig-manure fertilizer linked to human MRSA infections

People living near pig farms or agricultural fields fertilized with pig manure are more likely to become infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, according to a paper published today in JAMA Internal Medicine1.

Previous research has found that livestock worke... Read More

‘Tis the Season to be Sweating

This is the time of the year of increased physical activity when we pay special attention to certain parts of the body, including the armpit. As is usually the case, our microbiota is involved because the odor associated with sweating is produced by microbial activity. The main culprits are skin... Read More

Structural insights into inner workings of viral nanomachine

Researchers are using new nanoscale imaging approaches to shed light on the dynamic activities of rotaviruses, important pathogens that cause life-threatening diarrhea in young children. Once a rotavirus enters a host cell, it sheds its outermost protein layer, leaving behind a double-layered pa... Read More

Will Wolbachia help defeat dengue?

One of the Wellcome Trust’s areas of focus for research funding is combatting infectious disease. We have recently agreed a strategic award of over £7.5 million to continue development of an effective and sustainable approach to reducing the transmission of dengue fever. The research is an inte... Read More

Lyme bacteria show that evolvability is evolvable

Natural selection favours those with a greater capacity to generate genetic variation.

Some gamblers succeed by spiriting cards up their sleeves, giving them a wider range of hands to play. So do some bacteria, whose great capacity for genetic variability helps them evolve and adapt to rapidl... Read More

Randomized Treatments May Be More Effective at Stopping Disease Outbreaks

Mathematicians have found that by varying the timing of treatments, doctors may be able to increase the odds that a disease outbreak will die off suddenly.

Herding cats is a cakewalk compared with getting people to take flu vaccine shots in the last weeks of summer—work, school, limited pharm... Read More

Strict Diet Suspends Development, Doubles Lifespan of Worms

The centuries-long search for the fountain of youth has yielded only a few promising leads, one of which entails an extreme, emaciating diet. A new study of the tiny nematode worm C. elegans begins to explain this marvel of calorie restriction and hints at an easier way to achieve longevity.

... Read More

A Whiff of Taxonomy – Archaeoglobus fulgidus

Pick an archaeon, any archaeon, and you will find it has a story to tell. Not all archaea are exotic but plenty of them are. These stalwarts live in environments we humans call extreme, where they carry out what to us seem extreme types of metabolic conversions. Most have come rather late into o... Read More

ASM GM 2014 - Fossilized Feces Help Anthropologists Understand Pre-Columbian Cultures

By evaluating the bacteria and fungi found in fossilized feces, microbiologists are providing evidence to help support archeologists' hypotheses regarding cultures living in the Caribbean over 1,500 years ago. Researchers discuss how the analysis of 1,500-year-old coprolites from archeologica... Read More

World Polio Day

As a virologist who has worked on poliovirus since 1979, I would be remiss if I did not note that today, 24 October, is World Polio Day. World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine a... Read More

Innovative vaccine in trial for advanced ovarian cancer

A clinical trial of an innovative vaccine is occurring. The vaccine could offer hope to patients with advanced ovarian cancer. The vaccine, which is derived from the patient's tumor cells, is designed to jumpstart the patient's immune system to attack and kill cancer cells.

Ovarian cancer is ... Read More

Pictures Considered #10. The Origin of Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis

In May 1984, readers of an article by Schwartz and Cantor in the prestigious journal Cell were to stumble upon pictures of DNA agarose gels that were among the lousiest of such ever published after the method was introduced in the early 70s. Why did the editors of Cell risk their reputation? Or ... Read More

Bacteria evade detection net

Slothful response from regulators and manufacturers means antibiotic resistance is missed. Bacteria that are resistant to almost all antibiotics are dreaded by physicians and patients alike. Finding such microbes in a hospital is bad enough, but failing to detect them can lead to something much ... Read More

Harvard scientists control cells following transplantation, from the inside out

Harvard stem cells scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MIT can now engineer cells that are more easily controlled following transplantation, potentially making cell therapies, hundreds of which are currently in clinical trials across the United States, more functional and efficient.
... Read More

Termite digestive-tract microorganisms: A resource to fuel the future

With increasing attention toward generating cost-effective biochemical conversion methods for producing biofuels, it helps to follow the leaders who have perfected the process. The mere Reticulitermes flavipes, or eastern subterranean termite, a famous feaster of lignocellulosic plant materials ... Read More

Bacteria May Allow Animals to Send Quick Voluminous Messages

Twitter clips human thoughts to a mere 140 characters. Animals’ scent posts may be equally as short, relatively speaking, yet they convey an encyclopedia of information about the animals that left them.

In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Michigan St... Read More

Can a DNA Test for HPV Replace the Pap Smear?

A new test for HPV has been cleared as way to screen for cervical cancer, but doctors are concerned that it doesn't do enough to protect younger women.

By its name alone, the Pap smear sounds like an uncomfortable procedure. Say it aloud: Pap smear. And it’s not too pretty to experience eithe... Read More

ICAAC 2013 - This Week in Microbiology with Vincent Racaniello


Hosts:  Read More

Oddly Microbial: Giant Viruses

Viruses are supposed to be small and simple—not even alive, just mobile genetic material after all. So what do we make of giant double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses, one of which—the newly discovered Pandoravirus salinus—has an even larger genome than a hunky parasitic eukaryote called Encephalit... 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

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