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Ancient whodunit may be solved: The microbes did it!

Methane-producing microbes may be responsible for the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history.

Evidence left at the crime scene is abundant and global: Fossil remains show that sometime around 252 million years ago, about 90 percent of all species on Earth were suddenly wiped out — by far ... Read More

Reports hit Agriculture Dept. for ‘serious weaknesses’ in food inspection measures

Recent salmonella outbreaks that sickened at least 523 people and sent dozens to the hospital underscore “serious weaknesses” in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s oversight of poultry plants, according to a study released Thursday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which also criticized the govern... Read More

Vinegar kills tuberculosis and other mycobacteria (press release)

The active ingredient in vinegar, acetic acid, can effectively kill mycobacteria, even highly drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis, an international team of researchers from Venezuela, France, and the US reports in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiolo... Read More

Cationic small molecules hold great potential for preventing and treating fungal infections

Pathogenic fungi like Candida albicans can cause oral, skin, nail and genital infections. While exposure to pathogenic fungi is generally not life-threatening, it can be deadly to immunocompromised patients with AIDS or cancer. A variety of antifungal medications, such as triazoles and polyenes,... Read More

Parallel ERV-mediated evolution of blue egg color in chickens

The delightful word 'oocyan' refers to the trait of blue-green eggshell color that occurs in native chickens of Chile (Mapuche fowl) and some of their descendants in North America and Europe, as well as certain Asian chicken breeds (e.g. Dongxiang, Lushi).

Oocyan is an autosomal dominant trai... Read More

New research reveals how bacteria construct tiny flagella ‘nanomachines’ outside the cell

Cambridge scientists have uncovered the mechanism by which bacteria build their surface propellers (flagella) – the long extensions that allow them to swim towards food and away from danger. The results, published this week in the journal Nature, demonstrate how the mechanism is powered by the s... Read More

Airborne Environmental Isolate #2

An unknown airborne environmental isolate on Mueller-Hinton agar exhibiting a single circular colony. White hyphal growth on the outer edges of the mold colony, where spores have not yet developed, surrounding the green and yellow grainy spore formation in the center of the colony with exudate ... Read More

ICAAC 2013 - The Role of the Microbiome in Infection Control


The disruption of the human microbiome through use of antimicrobials is a topic of growing interest among healthcare epidemiologist... Read More

Pictures Considered #18. Pictures of Shigella by Shiga

The journal Zentralblatt für Bakteriologie, Parasitenkunde u. Infektionskrankheiten was one of the leading publication in the early days of Microbiology. Many of the great discoveries of microbial pathogens were published therein. An example is the 1898 Japanese microbiologist Kiyoshi Shiga acco... Read More

Plant biodiversity under threat from general viruses

Introduced generalist plant viruses from other hosts that encounter native plant species for the first time pose a greater threat to plant biodiversity in south-west Australia than introduced specialist viruses, a recent study found.

The researchers compared impacts of six introduced generali... Read More

Scientists develop world’s first light-activated antimicrobial surface that also works in the dark

Researchers at UCL have developed a new antibacterial material which has potential for cutting hospital acquired infections. The combination of two simple dyes with nanoscopic particles of gold is deadly to bacteria when activated by light - even under modest indoor lighting. And in a first for ... Read More

Airborne Environmental Isolate #3

An unknown airborne environmental isolate on Mueller-Hinton agar exhibiting a single circular colony. White hyphal growth on the outer edges of the mold colony, where spores have not yet developed, surrounding the red/pink grainy spore formation in the center of the colony. This sample grew at ... Read More

Blu-ray player detects microorganisms and toxins on discs

In addition to storing films, optical discs can be used to detect microorganisms, toxins, allergens and tumoral biomarkers. Blu-ray technology has allowed researchers to develop a way to find out if a sample contains Salmonella or toxic substances. This simple and cheap analytical system may be ... Read More

Pictures Considered #11. Invisible Portraits: A Microbial Art Exhibit

Getting the message out to the public that the microbial world is about much more than just diseases is a challenging topic, but one we should keep trying to improve on. There are many ways to do this, but as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, and most people don’t want to rea... Read More

Scientists: Mosquito Virus Spreads to Americas

A nasty virus first detected in Africa that is spread to people by the bite of infected mosquitoes is being locally transmitted in the Americas for the first time on the tiny French Caribbean dependency of St. Martin, health officials said Tuesday.

Epidemiologists have so far confirmed about ... Read More

New 'gut bacteria' clinical study could help reduce side-effects of radiotherapy

Researchers will examine the role of gut bacteria in influencing the side-effects patients experience after radiotherapy, in the first clinical study of its type.

The study will be carried out by researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Tru... Read More

E. coli Keeps Its Powder Dry

Whether inhabiting soil, fresh water, or marine ecosystems, bacteria are constantly facing the threat of numerous and effective predators such as protists, nematodes, or phages. To defend against such predation, bacteria have evolved a number of strategies, including getting larger in size, movi... Read More

Neanderthal Me

From the discovery of the first Neanderthal skull in a Belgian cave in 1826, a bone of contention among Homo sapiens has been the extent of our relationship to Homo neanderthalis, who disappeared from the fossil record ~30,000 years ago. Like scrappy cousins we'd rather not claim, we've attempte... Read More

Calcium makes for an environmentally friendly pickle

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

'Transformer' protein provides new insights into Ebola virus disease

A new study reveals that a protein of the Ebola virus can transform into three distinct shapes, each with a separate function that is critical to the virus's survival. Each shape offers a potential target for developing drugs against Ebola virus disease, a hemorrhagic fever that kills up to 9 ou... Read More

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