Ever since a highway construction crew in Chile uncovered a fossil graveyard of some 40 prehistoric whales in 2010, with skeletons dating back more than five million years, scientists have wondered why so many giant animals died in one place. This week, a team of them proposed an answer: The hug... 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
They have us surrounded. Even inside the spaces we build for ourselves — like homes and offices — we are a tiny minority. Invisible bacteria, fungi, and viruses outnumber us by orders of magnitude. We will always be outnumbered, but we may have a say in which microbes we’re surrounded by, accord... Read More
There's a belief that says exposing people -- especially babies and young children -- to different kinds of germs early in life can keep them from developing illnesses like asthma, allergies, and other diseases that affect the immune system. The theory, called the “hygiene hypothesis,” is that o... 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
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
Recently a number of children in California have developed a poliomyelitis-like paralysis. The cause of this paralysis is not yet known, and information about the outbreak is scarce. However, acute-flaccid paralysis is not uncommon (California would be expected to report about 75 cases a year, b... Read More
One of the world's oldest known disinfectants – and favorite salad dressings – may prove even stronger than previously thought.
An international research team has found that vinegar – or, more specifically, the active ingredient in vinegar – can kill mycobacteria, including a highly drug-resi... Read More
The coronavirus responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is prevalent in camels throughout Saudi Arabia and has been around for at least 20 years, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
“Our study ... Read More
In this post from my microbiology/education blog, I discuss a post on Boing Boing recently that used a video I had made of ice nucleation bacteria. Ice nucleation bacteria are very interesting of course, and I link to the Boing Boing post. In addition, I provide an additional video of students... Read More
An international team of researchers including scientists from the University of York have discovered a ‘microbial Pompeii’ preserved on the teeth of skeletons around 1,000 years old.
The key to the discovery is the dental calculus (plaque) which preserves bacteria and microscopic particles o... Read More
Evolution is one of those enigmatic subjects we simply do not understand fully. We know it is a biological change at the genetic level that changes the overall nature of an organism. We're also sure that it requires a significant number of generations. Unfortunately, that means it is difficult t... Read More
Tiny and swift, viruses are hard to capture on video. Now researchers at Princeton University have achieved an unprecedented look at a virus-like particle as it tries to break into and infect a cell. The technique they developed could help scientists learn more about how to deliver drugs via nan... Read More
Scientists have gotten close to pinning down the origin of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, a dangerous respiratory disease that emerged in Saudi Arabia 17 months ago.
It turns out the MERS virus has been circulating in Arabian camels for more than two decades, scientists report in a study p... 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
This episode: Gut bacteria seem to be important for different kinds of anti-cancer chemotherapy treatments!
(9.4 MB, 10.25 minutes)
In prokaryotes, it only takes a small jazz band to get the music grooving: piano and a rhythm section suffice. The promoter region of a gene is a tiny stage on which RNA polymerase (p) and few transcription factors (dr, b) improvise on a tune, i.e. they initiate or skip transcription. By contras... Read More
Using animals to test drugs destined for humans is controversial, with critics arguing there are other ways to ensure new medicines are safe and effective. But the scientists who carry out the research say animal studies remain necessary.
It is estimated that in the UK around three million mi... Read More
Frog-killing fungi, the methods bacteria use to evade antibiotics, and the hidden microbes deep inside an Antarctic lake: These are just a few of the topics covered in “Small Things Considered,” a microbiology blog run by Moselio Schaechter. Schaechter is former president of the American Society... Read More