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A Snippet: Thioploca

The seafloor off the coast of Chile is carpeted with bacterial mats of gigantic proportions. They cover an area as large as that of the state of Alabama. Their total weight is of the order of 100 million tons, which probably makes this the largest single species microbiome on Earth. The mats con... Read More

The Ancient Art Of Cheese-Making Attracts Scientific Gawkers

From Swiss to cheddar, cheeses depend on the action of microbes for their flavor and aroma. But it's far from clear how these teams of microbes work together to ripen cheese.

To a cheese-maker, that's just the beauty of the art. To a scientist, it sounds like an experiment waiting to happen.
... Read More

Emerging Disease Could Wipe Out American, European Salamanders

A deadly disease that is wiping out salamanders in parts of Europe will inevitably reach the U.S. through the international wildlife trade unless steps are taken to halt its spread, says University of Maryland amphibian expert Karen Lips.

The recently described fungus, Batrachochytrium salama... Read More

7 Amazing Scientists and 1 Music Video Raise Hope for Ebola Researchers

A music video making the rounds on YouTube entitled “One Truth,” is dedicated to all of the brave researchers, healthcare workers, and others who have put their lives on the line to save people during the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease. Pardis Sabeti, MD, DPhil, an NIH-funded New Innovat... Read More

Would You Lick an E.Coli-Shaped Popsicle?

Designer Wei Lei poses a challenging, and fascinating question: Would you lick a delicious treat that resembles a prickly cactus or a deadly E. coli bacterium?

The Chinese designer’s collection of sweets, Dangerous Popsicles, transforms frozen sugar water into colorful spiny treats inspired b... Read More

Study Shows Bed Bugs Can Transmit Parasite that Causes Chagas Disease

The bed bug may be just as dangerous as its sinister cousin, the triatomine, or “kissing” bug. A new study from Penn Medicine researchers in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics demonstrated that bed bugs, like the triatomines, can transmit Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that ... Read More

Alternaria change DTM agar colour

Alternaria and other demaziacee normally not change the DTM agar plates colour. This Alternaria isolated into Mycology Laboratory in Policlinic "G. Martino" - University of Messina, change the color on DTM agar. Read More

Epidemiological Study by Penn Vet Professor Investigates Parasite-Schizophrenia Connection

Many factors, both genetic and environmental, have been blamed for increasing the risk of a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Some, such as a family history of schizophrenia, are widely accepted. Others, such as infection with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite transmitted by soil, undercooked meat and cat... Read More

TWiP 79 letters


Jesse writes:


Doctors TWiP,


I came across this paper and thought it sounded interesting for a discussion on TWiP:


Colonisation resistance in the sand fly gut: Leishmania protects Lutzomyia longipalpis from bacterial infection
Read More

Fine Reading: There Is No 'Healthy' Microbiome

This is our first ever recommendation of an article published outside the usual scientific venues, but after all the hype we have heard about the human microbiome we were delighted to finally read a balanced account of what the research tells us and what it does not tell us. Plus, this article w... Read More

Ebola virus: Genes 'play significant role in survival'

Genetic factors could play an important role in whether people survive the Ebola virus, say US scientists.

A study of mice infected with the virus found they showed a number of different symptoms, with 19% remaining unaffected by the disease.

This could explain why some people recover from... Read More

Scientists find superbug bacteria in World War I soldier who died of dysentery

Scientists who unlocked the genetic code of bacteria grown from a soldier who died of dysentery say it revealed a superbug that was resistant to antibiotics decades before those drugs were in common use.

The discovery sheds light on the history of antibiotic resistance, which has become a glo... Read More

Small Wonders: 20 Winning Images Depict Life under the Microscope

For the past four decades the Nikon Small World competition has placed photography under the microscope, with eye-catching results. This year’s 20 finalists, announced Thursday, are no exception, zooming in on microorganisms, minerals and even electronic circuitry to find beauty hidden from the ... Read More

Five Questions About the Foraminifera

The Foraminifera ("forams") are among the largest and most abundant of all unicellular organisms. They can reach 20 cm in length and 18 cm in width, and the shells surrounding them are even bigger, up to 30 cm in length. They have existed in prodigious numbers that the remnants of their shells h... Read More

New study reveals why some people may be immune to HIV-1

Natural genetic variation in a protective antiviral enzyme holds promise for new therapies.

Doctors have long been mystified as to why HIV-1 rapidly sickens some individuals, while in others the virus has difficulties gaining a foothold. Now, a study of genetic variation in HIV-1 and in the c... Read More

Pseudomonas aeruginosa with black extracellular pigment

Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from sputum into department of Microbiology - Riuniti Hospital Reggio Calabria .
This strain of Pseudomonas secretes brown/black extracellular pigment: pyomelanin.
Photo from D'Aleo Francesco archive. Read More

On The Definition of Prokaryotes

As will be argued below the present definition of a prokaryote is highly unsatisfactory. To give an example: a prokaryote is "a cell or organism lacking a nucleus and other membrane-enclose organelles, usually having its DNA in a single circular molecule" (Brock, Biology of Microorganisms, 10th ... Read More

A virus that melts sea stars

Sea stars are lovely marine invertebrates with a round central body connected to multiple radiating legs (photo credit). In the past year millions of sea stars in the west coast waters of North America have melted into piles of slime and ossicles. Sea star associated densovirus might be the caus... Read More

By introducing DNA from other organisms, scientists enhance production of compounds in fungus

The enzymes and compounds produced by fungi are of great interest to the pharmaceutical, textile, paper and food industries. These organisms are capable of secreting, their nutritional needs are low and have high growth rate. A group of researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexi... Read More

Pictures Considered #21. Southern Blot

"... These results, gained with a novel method for blotting (E. M. Southern, manuscript in preparation), have also led to the identification of the Bam Hl recognition sequence". It is rather unusual to find unpublished work referred to in the abstract of a paper, to put it mildly. But this was e... Read More

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