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Exploring The Invisible Universe That Lives On Us — And In Us (cool NPR animated video)

The next time you look in a mirror, think about this: In many ways you're more microbe than human. There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells.

Scientists increasingly think that these microorganisms have a huge inf... Read More

The neuraminidase of influenza virus

The influenza virus particle is made up of the viral RNA genome wrapped in a lipid membrane (illustrated). The membrane, or envelope, contains three different kinds of viral proteins. The hemagglutinin molecule (HA, blue) attaches to cell receptors and initiates the process of virus entry into c... Read More

Gut microbiome helps determine risk of tumors

The gut microbiome plays a role in a number of phenomena, including immunity, metabolism, and disease, but it might also play a role in tumorigenesis. According to the results of a study in mBio this week, transferring the gut microbes from a mouse with colon tumors to germ-free mice makes those... Read More

Colon Cancer’s Newest Culprit: Gut Bacteria

Add one more to the list of tumor-causing bad guys in the colon.


In some ways, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the teeming population of bacteria living in the intestinal tract have something to do with colon cancer. After all, there are trillions of them making their home all along th... Read More

Dengue-blocking mosquito released in Vietnam; bacteria could be key to fighting disease

Nguyen Thi Yen rolls up the sleeves of her white lab coat and delicately slips her arms into a box covered by a sheath of mesh netting. Immediately, the feeding frenzy begins.

Hundreds of mosquitoes light on her thin forearms and swarm her manicured fingers. They spit, bite and suck until bec... Read More

A Microbial Hallowe'en---2013!

Here is some Hallowe'en themed fun involving microbiology and this October holiday. There are images of bioluminescence, and a microbially themed student costume party. I find that giving students a chance to be creative pays off in many pedagogical ways. Read More

BacterioFiles Micro Edition 142 - Diversity Determines Dimensions

 This episode: Higher gut bacterial diversity is correlated with lower obesity and related problems!


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To combat the overuse of antibacterials, stop using the absolutely terrible word, "antibiotic"

There are many reasons why bacteria evolve resistance to antibacterials, but one of the preventable reasons is the over-prescription of antibacterials to patients who don't have bacterial infections. But how to get people to stop asking for antibacterials? My suggestion is to stop using the wor... Read More

The Walking Dead offers teachable moment about antivirals vs antibacterials

If you teach students about viruses and bacteria, recent episodes of The Walking Dead have been using the term "antibiotic" to stand for antivirals. Since students are probably watching the show, it might be a good time to highlight the mistake. I summarized the issues at the associated URL (ht... Read More

Molecular Link Between Gut Microbes, Intestinal Health

It's well established that humans maintain a symbiotic relationship with the trillions of beneficial microbes that colonize their bodies. These organisms, collectively called the microbiota, help digest food, maintain the immune system, fend off pathogens, and more. There exists a long and growi... Read More

Researchers explore natural solution to rid household plumbing of dangerous pathogens

Microbes are everywhere – thousands of species are in your mouth, and thousands are in a glass of tap water. The ones in your mouth are mostly harmless – as long as you brush and floss so they don't form a biofilm that allows gum disease a path into the blood stream.

Microbes in the tap water... Read More

Radiation Ahead? Eat a Black Mushroom!

Suppose that one day you have the misfortune to receive a strong dose of radiation in preparation for a medical procedure, say a bone marrow transplant. To your surprise, the physician prescribes that you eat a hefty serving of dark-colored mushrooms about an hour beforehand. Lest you think this... Read More

How societal, economic factors play into rise of drug-resistant bacteria (PBS NewsHour video)

Has the age of antibiotics come to an end? New strains of bacteria are on the rise, landing normally healthy people in the hospital with life-threatening, drug-resistant infections. Ray Suarez talks to David Hoffman, the journalist who led the investigation for Frontline's "Hunting the Nightmare... Read More

Biochemists find incomplete protein digestion is a useful thing for some bacteria

Usually indigestion is a bad thing, but experiments by researcher Peter Chien and graduate student Robert Vass at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently showed that for the bacteria Caulobacter crescentus, partial degradation of a DNA replication protein is required to keep it alive.
... Read More

Bacteria 'eat rare earths'

AS tensions escalate over a global shortage of rare earths, scientists have found new competitors for the precious minerals - bacteria.

German biologists have found that bacteria in a volcanic Italian “mudpot” use rare earths to produce energy, and could not survive without them.

It is tho... Read More

Smells Like … An Armpit Infection?

One man's irrepressible body odor was the result of a bacterial infection of his armpit hair, according to a new report of the case.

The 40-year-old man told his doctors he'd had armpit odor and "dirty" armpit hair for the last four years.

There was a "creamy yellow" substance on the man's... Read More

HIV vaccine clue found in structure of key infection protein

Two new studies reveal how US scientists managed to uncover the detailed structure of a protein that plays a key role in HIV infection. The findings offer the kind of in-depth understanding that has been missing in the development of successful vaccines against the AIDS virus.

Using protein e... Read More

TWiV 257: Caveat mTOR

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Hosts: Vincent RacanielloDickson Despommier Read More

Missing Nitrogen May Be Vanishing in the Tubes of Giant Bacteria

Off the coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula lies a dark, still, deep place. It is called the Soledad Basin, and in it lies a garden of bacteria so large you can see them with your own eyes.

A 250-m high ridge on the edge of the Soledad basin traps water inside. No strong currents disturb its dep... Read More

Human decomposition: study maps internal bacteria

We may not be so different from zombies when we die, after all. A new study analyzing bacterial communities involved in the decomposition of corpses illustrates how a cadaver becomes a living, thriving ecosystem for microorganisms.

The study, published recently in PLOS ONE, reveals that the t... Read More

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