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Smallpox Virus Found In Unsecured NIH Lab

Scientists cleaning out an old laboratory on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., last week came across a startling discovery: vials labeled "variola" — in other words, smallpox.

Under international convention, there are supposed to be only two stashes of this deadly vir... Read More

Microvores: A Game of Parasites

A Board Game with a Microbial Theme. Educational and Fun. Read More

Worries About Unusual Botulinum Toxin Prove Unfounded

Remember that worrisome new form of botulinum toxin we told you about in late 2013, the one that supposedly had to be kept secret out of fear it could be used as a bioweapon that would evade all of our medical defenses?

Well, as it turns out, it's not that scary after all. The antitoxin store... Read More

Bacteria may have ability to reduce impact of diazepam on UK river environments

The natural photo degradation of diazepam (valium) and similar medicines – followed by bacterial breakdown – may reduce their potentially harmful impact on the UK’s freshwater environment, a team of researchers has said.

Diazepam – used to treat anxiety and other similar conditions – has been... Read More

A new way to diagnose malaria

Using magnetic fields, technique can detect parasite’s waste products in infected blood cells.

Over the past several decades, malaria diagnosis has changed very little. After taking a blood sample from a patient, a technician smears the blood across a glass slide, stains it with a special dye... 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

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

Plant Pathogen Silences Host’s Immune Genes

As more and more information becomes available, one marvels (and also frets) at the sophisticated strategies that pathogens have evolved in order to evade their hosts’ defense mechanisms. Many pathogens of plants and animals deliver effectors into their hosts in order to suppress immune response... Read More

Drug-Resistant Bacteria Hang Out in Hog Workers

Careful what you sniff. Especially if you work at an industrial hog farm. Because a small study finds that drug-resistant bacteria may hang out in the noses of some workers even after four days away from work following exposure. Almost half of the tested workers continued to harbor drug-resistan... Read More

New Type of More Problematic Mosquito-Borne Illness Detected in Brazil

A second form of the painful chikungunya virus has appeared in Brazil—one that could more easily spread, including to the U.S.

When a mosquito-borne disease first arrived in the Western Hemisphere last year, humans were relatively lucky. The disease, which causes crippling joint pain persis... Read More

Small Things Considered Retrospective, December 2014

As is our custom at this time of year, we go over the material that has appeared in this blog over the last six months. Seems like a lot of stuff, but it’s the result of the work of quite a number of dedicated people, all of whom deserve our gratitude.

Structure and Function

Chromosome Org... Read More

Incidence of childhood tuberculosis could be 25 percent higher than previous estimates

New estimates indicate that over 650,000 children develop tuberculosis (TB) every year in the 22 countries with a high burden of the disease -- almost 25 percent higher than the total number of new cases worldwide estimated by WHO in 2012. The research also suggests that about 15 million childre... Read More

Airborne Environmental Isolate

Media is poured in bulk in our lab for classroom use. Although contamination is low we do see airborne contamination especially durning the rainy season. This is an unknown airborne environmental isolate on Mueller-Hinton agar exhibiting a single circular colony. White hyphal growth can be see... Read More

Biological Samples

ILSbio is the company of choice for research institutions, biotech organizations and pharma companies looking for high quality, documented biological samples to support their research. With a wide range of specimens types available including diseased tissue, FFPE, blood, and serum, collections c... 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

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

The Jelly Roll of Life

We know that life on earth is incredibly diverse. It can survive deep in the trenches of the ocean and in the frozen permafrost of the arctic. Surely we have much to learn from the study of life, but we also have much to learn about the virus. Even though they are not considered living things, t... Read More

Battling superbugs

Two new technologies could enable novel strategies for combating drug-resistant bacteria.

In recent years, new strains of bacteria have emerged that resist even the most powerful antibiotics. Each year, these superbugs, including drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis and staphylococcus, infect... Read More

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

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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