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Using microscopic bugs to save the bees

For decades, honeybees have been battling a deadly disease that kills off their babies (larvae) and leads to hive collapse. It’s called American Foulbrood and its effects are so devastating and infectious, it often requires infected hives to be burned to the ground.

Treating Foulbrood is comp... Read More

Fecal Transplanters Fish Out Key Ingredient

These days, antibiotics are no silver bullet. In fact, if you get them in the hospital, you may end up with an additional infection. Like the bug Clostridium difficile, or C. diff — which infects more than 300,000 Americans a year and kills some 14,000. C. diff flourishes in the post-antibiotic,... Read More

Airborne Environmental Isolate/Fungal view 1

An unknown airborne environmental isolate on Bile Esculin Agar (BEA) exhibiting a single circular colony. White hyphal growth with no spore formation. Clear to brownish exudate can be seen throughout the colony. This sample grew at refrigerated temperatures for several months. The agar surroun... Read More

Ebola Gorilla Vaccine Could Prevent Human Outbreaks

Humans are not the only primates ravaged by the deadly Ebola virus. Chimps and gorillas are also susceptible to the disease. The current Ebola epidemic, the biggest in human history, may have started with the butchering of an infected fruit bat. But it just as easily could have come from a chimp... Read More

BacterioFiles 188 - Rat Residents Relieve Resin Roughness

This episode: Gut bacteria in Mojave desert woodrats help them detoxify and eat toxic creosote bushes!


(10 MB, 10.8 minutes)


Show notes: 
News item/ Read More

Bacteria Allow Woodrats to Eat Poison

This article was first published in 2013 on the website for the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Many plants do not want to be eaten. They avoid this fate by producing deadly toxins and carcinogenic poisons, such as those associated with the aptly named poison ivy, poison sumac... Read More

Crowdsourcing To Solve Microbe Mysteries

Scientists hope to unlock the secrets of millions of marine microbes from waters as far apart as Sydney’s Botany Bay and the Amazon River in Brazil, with the help of an international team of volunteers sharing their spare computer capacity to create a research “supercomputer”.

The project, co... Read More

Ancient Viruses Lurk In Frozen Caribou Poo

A careful examination of frozen caribou poop has turned up two never-before-seen viruses.

The viruses are hundreds of years old: One of them probably infected plants the caribous ate. The other may have infected insects that buzzed around the animals.

The findings prove viruses can survive... Read More

More scary than Halloween: this month in germophobia microbophobia

From microBEnet, by Jonathan Eisen

It seems that any time a holiday comes around in the US, the press starts to ramp up the writing of stories about evil microbes that are lurking all around us. And Halloween appears to be no exception. I am now planning on referring to this attitude as “micr... Read More

Rotavirus-Infected Cell

Rotavirus-infected cell revealing numerous viral factories in the cytoplasm.

Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Click "source" to view image. Read More

How Did Nigeria Quash Its Ebola Outbreak So Quickly?

On July 20 a man who was ill flew on commercial planes from the heart of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. That man became Nigeria's first Ebola case—the index patient. In a matter of weeks some 19 people across two states were diagnosed with the disease (with one a... Read More

Could copper prevent spread of Ebola?

Research from the University of Southampton has indicated that copper could help to prevent the spread of Ebola.

Hand washing, disinfectants and quarantine procedures alone have been found to be insufficient to contain the spread of the virus. Research by Professor Bill Keevil at the Universi... Read More

Microbial ‘Vaccine’ Helps Keep Mosquitoes Disease-Free

Mosquitoes that harbor a soil microbe called Chromobacterium Csp_P have a harder time catching dengue virus and the malarial parasite. Christopher Intagliata reports.

The human microbiome is the community of tiny organisms that live on us and inside us. These critters play vital roles in our ... Read More

Ebola and the Vast Viral Universe

Behind the hellish Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa lies an agent that fittingly embodies the mad contradictions of a nightmare. It is alive yet dead, simple yet complex, mindless yet prophetic, seemingly able to anticipate our every move.

For scientists who study the evolution and behavio... Read More

Viral Switches Share a Shape

A hinge in the RNA genome of the virus that causes hepatitis C works like a switch that can be flipped to prevent it from replicating in infected cells. Scientists have discovered that this shape is shared by several other viruses—among them one that kills cancer cells.

That’s Seneca Valley v... Read More

More attention to measles, vaccine experts urge

Doctors and public health authorities need to renew their attention to measles, researchers from Emory Vaccine Center urge in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Because of its high level of contagiousness, measles is the indicator disease for weaknesses of an immunization p... Read More

Ebola Exacerbates West Africa’s Poverty Crisis

The virus spreading in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has led to food shortages and neglect of other devastating tropical illnesses.

When Ebola came to Dorcas's home on the outskirts of Freetown in Sierra Leone, the virus spared no one. Her mother brought it home from the clinic where she w... Read More

Two More Questions about CRISPRs

Over the past eight years, step-by-step, researchers have established a basic understanding of the CRISPR defenses against foreign DNA so widely used by both bacteria and archaea. We related the early story on STC in 2008 and commented on six additional questions in 2011. Still, questions remain... Read More

Koala chlamydia vaccine trial raises hope

Australian scientists say they have successfully tested a vaccine aimed at protecting wild koalas from chlamydia.

The disease has ravaged the native marsupial, which is under increasing threat.

Microbiologists in Queensland now hope to protect some of the remaining population after success... Read More

Hygienic Laboratory in the Marine Hospital, Staten Island, New York

In 1887, Dr. Joseph Kinyoun set up his one-room Hygienic Laboratory in the Marine Hospital on Staten Island in New York to research cholera and other infectious diseases such as diphtheria, typhoid, smallpox, typhus, plague and tuberculosis. This was the beginning of the National Institutes of H... Read More
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