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TWiM 31 Letters

Peter writes:

Dear TWiM Team


A fascinating article from New Scientist this week.


Standard medical teaching is that the foetus is sterile and that the microbiome only begins to develop post natal.


New research from Spain indicates that the microbiome s... Read More

The microbiologist: Tweaking genes to help corals survive climate change

Kim Ritchie fell into coral research as an undergraduate, got a Ph.D. in genetics and was doing post-doctoral research in Panama when she lost her funding. With the ideal training for biotech, however, she slipped right into a startup. But when the company went bankrupt, she jumped back into res... Read More

Do Gut Microbes Travel From Person to Person?

It’s an exciting time for ecologists who study microbes. DNA sequencing has grown so cheap and fast that they can run around identifying bacteria living just about anywhere they can reach with a cotton swab. Turns out, bacteria are everywhere, even in the cleanest houses, and scientists are star... Read More

Dip Chip biosensor uses microbes to instantly detect almost any toxic substance

Once upon a time, tasters were employed by the well-to-do, in order to check that their food or drink wasn't poisonous. Today, there are electronic biosensors that can do more or less the same thing. Unfortunately, as was no doubt sometimes the case with the tasters, the biosensors can’t always ... Read More

Can life evolve from a different chemical code?

All life on Earth relies on a standard set of 20 molecules called amino acids to build the proteins that carry out life's essential actions. But did it have to be this way?

All living creatures on this planet use the same 20 amino acids, even though there are hundreds available in nature. Sci... Read More

Food Microbiology: An Overlooked Frontier | Lecture (2011)

Speaker: David Chang (momofuku)

November 14, 2011 Read More

A call to arms...Preserving the Body's Flora...

This recent interview of Martin Blaser by the Scientist is a great primer and will serve as good introduction/ update on the importance of protecting our friendly flora and the impact that the increased use of antibiotics may be having on our health and the well being of our microbiome. This in... Read More

Soil bacterium helps kill cancers

A bacterium found in soil is a showing promise as a way of delivering cancer drugs into tumours.

Spores of the Clostridium sporogenes bacterium can grow within tumours because there is no oxygen.

UK and Dutch scientists have been able to genetically engineer an enzyme into the bacteria to ... Read More

MRSA Staph Strain Developed Drug Resistance in Your Burger: Research demonstrates the need to use antibiotics sparingly in food production, researchers say

A bacteria strain that causes a hard-to-treat staph infection probably developed its antibiotic resistance in food animals, a team of scientists announced Tuesday.

The strain of staph, known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA CC398, most often infects farm workers who com... Read More

Flesh Eating Bacteria Makes Super Molecular Glue

The same bacteria that eats flesh can make a super glue used to bind molecules.

Dr. Mark Howarth, with his graduate student Bijan Zakeri in Oxford University's department of biochemistry, developed an adhesive that sticks molecules together, nearly inseparably.

They used the bacteria Strep... Read More

H5N1 Bird Flu Pandemic Potential Revealed

Two papers published this week, and one last month, reveal the pandemic potential of H5N1 "bird flu". One identifies four, another identifies five, genetic changes the virus would have to undergo before it could spread easily in humans, and the third paper suggests some of these changes are alre... Read More

The Super-Resistant Bacteria That Has India 'Hell Scared'

Over 50 percent of bacterial infections in Indian hospitals are resistant to commonly used antibiotics, and surveys show that many widespread bacterial pathogens in India are also resistant to powerful, broad-spectrum antibiotics.

In 2010, a team of South Asian and British scientists analyzed... Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 60 - Making Mysterious Microbial Missives

This episode: Sending secret messages with glowing bacteria!




Downloa... Read More

TWiV 183 Letters

Joe writes:


How cool is that to be listening to you all reading my emails with Peter Sandman while I am stuck in traffic.


I loved the discussion and want to send a big thank you to Michael for joining in and giving us the missing perspective of what the NSABB ... Read More

TWiV 188: Haggis, single malt, and viruses



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Mass... Read More

New Infant Formula Ingredients Boost Babies' Immunity by Feeding Their Gut Bacteria

Adding prebiotic ingredients to infant formula helps colonize the newborn's gut with a stable population of beneficial bacteria, and probiotics enhance immunity in formula-fed infants, two University of Illinois studies report.

"The beneficial bacteria that live in a baby's intestine are all-... Read More

Explore the Human Microbiome [Interactive]

Learn about the bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms that maintain human health.

The body contains 10 times more bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms than human cells. Most of these species are harmless—although they can still cause illness if they wind up in the wrong place. In add... Read More

1 in 6 cancers worldwide caused by infections that can be prevented or treated

One in every six cancers worldwide is caused by an infection that is preventable or treatable, according to new estimates published in the journal Lancet Oncology. The research indicates infections are attributable for approximately 2 million new cancer cases every year.

"Infections with cert... Read More

TWiV 146: Draco's potion



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello Read More

Zombie Bacteria - Lag Phase In Salmonella

Bacteria can multiply rapidly, potentially doubling every 20 minutes in ideal conditions but this exponential growth phase is preceded by a period known as lag phase, where no increase in cell number is seen. Lag phase was first described in the 19th Century, and was assumed to be needed by bact... Read More

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