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Microbe, Enzyme or Mineral? A Riddle in the Soil

When most people look at soil, they just see dirt. When I look at soil, I see billions of microorganisms crawling atop one another, consuming the dead in a feasting frenzy that stops for nothing save a deep freeze. I see microbes and their enzymes, the digestive juices that break down, transform... Read More

Five intriguing facts about viruses that cause measles, Ebola and other scourges

Viruses are incredibly simple, arguably the most simple living organisms on the planet. They have no brains, no metabolism, and they can’t reproduce on their own. Yet they are able to wreak incredible havoc on our bodies and to outwit the scientifically advanced weapons that humans have invente... Read More

Events In Your Past Determine Which Microbes Live On You

A scientist with a swab and a microscope could tell what school you went to. Trillions of microbes live in and on our body. We don’t yet fully understand how these microbial ecosystems develop or the full extent to which they influence our health. Some provide essential nutrients, while others c... Read More

‘Wormy’ Pills Might Fend Off Autoimmune Diseases

Scientists have identified peptides from parasitic hookworms that can calm the body’s immune response and perhaps pave the way to treat autoimmune diseases.

Experts believe the peptide molecules could help explain why worm infections can effectively treat diseases such as multiple sclerosis, ... Read More

Plants prepackage beneficial microbes in their seeds

Plants have a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria. These 'commensal' bacteria help the plants extract nutrients and defend against invaders -- an important step in preventing pathogens from contaminating fruits and vegetables. Now, scientists have discovered that plants may package thei... Read More

Three Irish Teens Win Google Science Fair Using Bacteria to Grow Food

A trio of Irish high-schoolers nabbed the top prize in this year's Google Science Fair with a project that speeds up crop growth by tapping into the naturally cozy relationship between soil microbes and plants.

After 11 months of experiments, the three 16-year-olds—Ciara Judge, Émer Hickey, a... Read More

Study suggests virus impacts caterpillar's phototactic response causing them to climb

A small team of researchers with Wageningen University in The Netherlands has found evidence that suggests that a type of virus that causes a species of caterpillar to climb higher up a plant, does so by causing a change to the victim's phototactic response. In their paper published in the journ... Read More

Virus kills triple negative breast cancer cells, tumor cells in mice

A virus not known to cause disease kills triple-negative breast cancer cells and killed tumors grown from these cells in mice, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. Understanding how the virus kills cancer may lead to new treatments for breast cancer.

Adeno-associated virus... Read More

Rare byproduct of marine bacteria kills cancer cells by snipping their DNA

Yale University researchers have determined how a scarce molecule produced by marine bacteria can kill cancer cells, paving the way for the development of new, low-dose chemotherapies.

The molecule, lomaiviticin A, was previously shown to be lethal to cultured human cancer cells, but the mech... Read More

Pictures Considered #22. ¡Viva La Resolucion!

Why should we consider this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry, and why in our 'Pictures Considered' section in the first place? A hint comes from one of the many press releases: "... for improving the resolution of optical microscopes." Aha! Microscopes are at the heart of microbiology since Rober... Read More

Scientists discover how a killer fungus attacks HIV patients

Researchers have discovered that a type of white blood cell carries a deadly fungus into the brains of HIV positive patients, causing meningitis which kills more than 600,000 people a year. The discovery could lead to more effective ways of tackling the deadly fungus as it infects the human body... Read More

Think We're Rid of Measles? Think Again

Over the last few weeks, the numerous outbreaks of measles in Canada have led many public health officials and microbiologists to shake their collective heads. The reason is simple: this should not be happening. Of all the pathogenic viruses, this one has been on our radar for nearly 200 years a... Read More

Researchers find chemicals that treat citrus greening in the lab

A University of Florida research team is cautiously optimistic after finding a possible treatment in the lab for citrus greening, a disease devastating Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry. It is the first step in a years-long process to bring a treatment to market.

Claudio Gonzalez and Graci... Read More

State's Flu Shot Rule for Preschoolers Helped

A Connecticut law requiring flu shots for children entering preschool or daycare has reduced flu-related hospitalizations of young children by 12 percent, according to a new study. The jump in flu vaccinations of young children -- to 84 percent in 2012-2013 from about 68 percent in 2009-2010 -- ... Read More

Running an Ebola Clinic in Sierra Leone Is All About Containment—And Chlorine

Treating patients with the deadly Ebola virus takes doctors, drugs, and a whole lot of chlorine.

The Ebola treatment units being deployed across Sierra Leone are built by teams of logisticians—“logs” in disaster aid parlance—who can drop into a bare field and construct a mini city in a matter... Read More

Ultra-violet Light Works as Screening Tool for Bats with White-nose Syndrome

Scientists working to understand the devastating bat disease known as white-nose syndrome (WNS) now have a new, non-lethal tool to identify bats with WNS lesions —ultraviolet, or UV, light.

If long-wave UV light is directed at the wings of bats with white-nose syndrome, it produces a distinct... Read More

Deadly bacteria on medical scopes trigger infections

The deadly pattern of illnesses began to emerge in 2012 at hospitals in Seattle, Pittsburgh, Chicago. In each case, the culprit was a bacteria known as CRE, perhaps the most feared of superbugs, because it resists even "last defense" antibiotics — and kills up to 40% of the people it infects.

... Read More

Terminal Proteins: Crossing the Border

A variety of Bacteria, Archaea, and mobile genetic elements replicate their DNA as a linear chromosome using terminal proteins (TPs) to prime DNA synthesis, thus solving their end replication problem. As described in an earlier post, phage φ29 uses its TPs to also organize the sites of DNA repli... Read More

Brewing yeasts reveal secrets of chromosomal warfare and dysfunction

Using two yeasts that have been used to brew tea and beer for centuries, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have revealed how reproductive barriers might rapidly arise to create species boundaries. Schizosaccharomyces pombe has been used to brew beer in Africa, whereas its clo... 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
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