Science and news cycles sometimes converge in unhandy ways. That was the case on on January 1, when word came out of Shenzen, a Chinese city bordering Hong Kong, that a 39-year-old bus driver, surnamed Chen, had died of the H5N1 (or bird flu) virus. The deeply personal tragedy for Chen and his f... Read More
Using an experimental technique new to the dengue field, the labs of Ralph Baric, PhD, and Aravinda de Silva, PhD, showed that a molecular hinge where two regions of a protein connect is where natural human antibodies attach to dengue 3 to disable it. The finding, published in the Proceedings of... Read More
Converting plant biomass into useful products and biofuels inevitably runs up against a big problem: degrading cellulose and other cell wall polymers, which are, by design, tough nuts to crack. Plants need tough cell walls in order to stand tall and compete for sunlight, but the recalcitrance of... Read More
Yeast aren’t the only microbes that help turn boring grapes into the delicious, seductive, complex, confusing, subtle, and totally splendiferous tonic known as wine. In addition to those well-known fermenters, a type of bacteria called Oenococcus oeni (for reasons that will be obvious to oenophi... Read More
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
We continue our semi-annual ritual and post this quick tour of our featured blog posts published since June 2013.
Microbial ‘Starstuff’. Associate blogger Gemma Reguera tells us how the remnants of a dying star become transmuted into microbial stuff, including cellular structures... Read More
This article discusses the famous pump handle that John Snow may or may not have had removed ... read the article to get the true story. From medical historian Peter Vinten-Johansen. Read More
In a surprising new finding, researchers have discovered that bacterial movement is impeded in flowing water, enhancing the likelihood that the microbes will attach to surfaces. The new work could have implications for the study of marine ecosystems, and for our understanding of how infections t... Read More
US doctors are warning of an emerging polio-like disease in California where up to 20 people have been infected.
A meeting of the American Academy of Neurology heard that some patients had developed paralysis in all four limbs, which had not improved with treatment.
The US is polio-free, b... Read More
Clostridium difficile infection is an important cause of intestinal disease, primarily affecting hospitalized patients exposed to antibiotics. Infection has been associated with prolo... Read More
Prokaryotes are by far the most successful superkingdom in terms of both biochemical diversity and the variety of environments conquered. Bacteria can be found living in all kinds of adverse conditions; from high alkaline lakes, to below freezing temperature, to hot volcanic vents which in some ... Read More
Microbiologists have known for some time that different diets produce different gut flora, but new research indicates that the changes take hold with startling quickness. Bacterial populations shift measurably in the first few days following a big shift in what we eat, according to a recent stud... Read More
An FDA advisory committee has voted 14-1 in favor of expanding the indication for the pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine (Prevnar 13) to include use in adults 50 and older.
Currently the Pfizer vaccine is approved only for use in children.
The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biologics Adv... Read More
Russian engineers are scrambling to save the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft amid ever-bleaker signs the mission may be lost. The probe was launched uneventfully Nov. 8, but soon afterward its thruster failed to fire to send it on a course toward Mars, leaving the spacecraft stranded in Earth orbit.
... Read More
Europe set out plans to boost research into the neglected area of antibiotics on Thursday by promising to accelerate approval of new drugs, while ensuring adequate prices for their makers and promoting industry-wide R&D.
Multi-drug resistant bacteria, or so-called superbugs, are a growing thr... Read More
Scientists are revealing how microbes living on floating pieces of plastic marine debris affect the ocean ecosystem, and the potential harm they pose to invertebrates, humans and other animals. New research being presented here today delves deeper into the largely unexplored world of the “Plasti... Read More
Viruses are not usually regarded as living cells. A virus 'particle' requires a living host cell in order to reproduce. Although we usually think of viruses as causing diseases, they also are an integral part of natural ecosystems controlling the size of bacterial populations by preying on them.... Read More
The bacteria Enterococcus can cause infections that typically target the digestive tract or bowel; if the bacteria spread, an abdominal abscess or urinary infection could result. Enterococcus also can invade the bloodstream, leading to meningitis, pneumonia or endocarditis — an infection of the ... Read More