This episode: Scientists engineered E. coli to seek and destroy pathogens!
(10 MB, 11 minutes)
A bacterium can sense pathogens in the body, swim toward them, and release a deadly biofilm-busting payload. This process is called pseudotaxis, and could be modified for many... Read More
Some time ago, we asked this Talmudic Question: Can you think of a place on Earth where there is free water but no microbes? (A sterile flask of nutrient broth in a lab, the insides of the body, or an IV bag in a hospital don't count.) Someone answered that perhaps deep in Antarctica there would... Read More
Tiny electrical wires protrude from some bacteria and contribute to rock and dirt formation. Researchers studying the protein that makes up one such wire have determined the protein's structure. The finding is important to such diverse fields as producing energy, recycling Earth's carbon and min... Read More
Researchers in Umeå and Uppsala have found that residues of the influenza drug Tamiflu in our environment can make the influenza virus in birds resistant. This can have serious consequences in the event of an influenza pandemic. With more than 14 million SEK from the Swedish Research Councils Fo... Read More
A strain of bacteria that causes skin and soft tissue infections in humans originally came from cattle, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The researchers who conducted the genetic analysis of strains of Staphyl... Read More
A major new technology has been developed by The University of Nottingham, which enables all of the world’s crops to take nitrogen from the air rather than expensive and environmentally damaging fertilisers.
Nitrogen fixation, the process by which nitrogen is converted to ammonia, is vital fo... Read More
Transplanting fecal matter has been one of the best remedies at treating a tough bacterial infection known as Clostridium difficile (C. diff). Scientists are now saying they can give all the benefits of poop in a tiny pill.
This new pill method is a less yucky way to do "fecal transplants." A... Read More
Not all viruses are bad for us. Some of them might even help up us fight off bacterial infections someday.
Naturally occurring viruses called bacteriophages attack specific types of bacteria. So researchers at the University of Leicester decided to try and take advantage of phages' bacteria-d... Read More
Darwin and the 20th century pioneers of biology would have been astonished to see the countless roles that microbes play in shaping eukaryotic life. From the origins of eukaryotic cells to pharmaceutical products, Life as we know it would be unrecognizable without microbes. Integrating microbes ... Read More
Some strains of the avian H7N9 influenza that emerged in China this year have developed resistance to the only antiviral drugs available to treat the infection, but testing for antiviral resistance can give misleading results, helping hasten the spread of resistant strains. The authors of a stud... Read More
Australian researchers have found that zinc can 'starve' one of the world's most deadly bacteria by preventing its uptake of an essential metal.
The finding, by infectious disease researchers at the University of Adelaide and The University of Queensland, opens the way for further work to des... Read More
“Implementation of infant rotavirus vaccination in 2006 has substantially reduced the burden of severe gastroenteritis among U.S. children younger than 5 years,” write Paul A. Gastanaduy, M.D., M.P.H., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and colleagues. “Whether indirect ... Read More
Bacterial proteins could alter precipitation patterns and climate-change models.
Proteins can help grow teeth and bones in the body, crops in the ground, and even ice in the atmosphere. Some proteins have an uncanny knack for kick starting ice formation at unusual temperatures, and they have ... Read More
From a bacteria’s perspective the environment is one big DNA waste yard. Researchers have now shown that bacteria can take up small as well as large pieces of old DNA from this scrapheap and include it in their own genome. This discovery may have major consequences – both in connection with resi... Read More
The bacteria in the human mouth – particularly those nestled under the gums – are as powerful as a fingerprint at identifying a person’s ethnicity, new research shows.
Scientists identified a total of almost 400 different species of microbes in the mouths of 100 study participants belonging t... Read More
Fernan Federici’s microscopic images of plants, bacteria, and crystals are a classic example of finding art in unexpected places.
A couple years ago, Federici was working on his Ph.D. in biological sciences at Cambridge University studying self-organization, the process by which things organi... Read More
Transmission electron micrograph of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Credit: National Institutes of Health/Department of Health and Human Services (NIAID).
From the CDC:
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Ara... Read More
Genomic analysis of transplant patients finds an opportunistic microorganism whose elevated presence could be used an indicator in treatment.
More than 260,000 Americans are alive today thanks to transplant operations that have replaced their failing kidneys, hearts, lungs or livers with hea... Read More
Triclosan – a synthetic antibacterial widely used in personal care products – is fueling the development of resistant bacteria in streams and rivers. So reports a new paper in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, which is the first to document triclosan resistance in a natural envir... Read More
We're used to relying on antibiotics to cure bacterial infections. But there are now strains of bacteria that are resistant to even the strongest antibiotics, and are causing deadly infections. According to the CDC, "more than 2 million people in the United States every year get infected with a ... Read More