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A Simple Tree Branch Can Become a Backyard Water Filter

For people in too many developing countries, clean water is often a luxury. Chlorine treatments are too expensive for small villages, boiling requires a hefty investment in fuel, and UV radiation demands regular high-tech maintenance. But now, scientists say that a simple, inexpensive water filt... Read More

E-coli on TSI

E-coli on TSI Read More

TWiP 74 letters


voxsciurorum writes:


Dear water-based life forms:


It is 24 degrees in Overland Park, Kansas and I am looking at a slide labeled "Giardia lamblia", part of a museum exhibit on water and human (over) use of water.


I see a greenish lump. I don't know... Read More

New Pills Deliver Bacteria, Not Drugs to Cure us

It seems that nearly every day, scientists connect another medical condition to atypical gut bacteria populations. Researchers have claimed that gut bacteria play a role not just in digestive health but even in basic brain function and mental health. Certain bacteria are so clearly good for us t... Read More

TWiP 67 letters


CN writes:


Greetings Profs,


After having listened to your discussions on Plasmodium (TWiP 64), I explored papers on treatment options that are actually available. After having read some papers, I realized that one of the main roadblocks are the hypnozoite... Read More

Concrete-Dissolving Bacteria Are Destroying Our Nation's Sewers

Underground in places nobody likes to look, bacteria are doing terrible things to our sewage pipes. The concrete pipes that carry our waste are literally dissolving away, forcing engineers into a messy, expensive battle against tiny microbes.

"The veins of our cities are in serious trouble, a... Read More

Oral bacteria resulting from poor dental hygiene shows a potential association with Alzheimer’s disease

Researchers examined samples from the brains of patients with and without dementia and found lipopolysaccharide, a component of Porphyromonas gingivalis, an oral bacterium, in four out of 10 Alzheimer’s disease brain samples.

“This clearly shows that there is an association between oral bacte... Read More

TWiM 73 Letters

Mark writes:


Hello Team TWiM,


I’ve followed with interest your coverage of Michael’s research into use of copper to fight hospital infection. Of all the interesting papers covered in 2013, I think the one most actionable is episode 55, The Copper Room. His res... Read More

Media. Green and blue water colour and Serratia marcescens (red)

This is a joint project with water color artist Sarah Roberts to study the interaction of bacteria with traditional water colors. Many different types of bacteria have been assessed but only two so far, can be said to paint. When the white pigmented bacterium Proteus mirabilis, and the red Serra... Read More

UA Study on Flu Evolution May Change Textbooks, History Books

A new study published in the journal Nature provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of the evolutionary relationships of influenza virus across different host species over time. In addition to dissecting how the virus evolves at different rates in different host species, the study chall... Read More

TWiM 66 Letters

Neva writes:
You may have seen this. Thought you all might enjoy this header illustration from
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/artful-amoeba/2013/08/24/wonderful-things-the-hidden-beauty-of-the-horse-dung-fungus/


All your podcast are my favorites!


<... Read More

Secrets of the Giant, Ancient, Frozen, Killer Virus

It all started with a tiny chunk of dirt. The sample of 30,000-year-old permafrost, a frozen layer of soil from the Siberian tundra, weighed just a fraction of an ounce. But, as TIME reported on Tuesday, that scrap was carrying within it a surprise worthy of a pulp comic book: a gargantuan virus... Read More

Liquid soap in public toilets may be covering you in bacteria

Liquid hand soap in many public toilets is doing the opposite of improving hygiene, CCTV reports.

One sample was found to have 600 times more than the standard amount of bacteria, bringing it up to fast food ice levels of grossness. Experts warned that use of the soap could result in skin irr... Read More

Starch Agar

Starch agar contains high molecular weight starch molecules (soluable starch). When Iodine is added it reacts with starch to produces a dark brown/purple color. A zone of clearing forms around organisms that produce the exoenzyme amylase after addition of iodine. This plate was incubated for ... Read More

Rare bacteria outbreak in cancer clinic tied to lapse in infection control procedure

Improper handling of intravenous saline at a West Virginia outpatient oncology clinic was linked with the first reported outbreak of Tsukamurella spp., gram-positive bacteria that rarely cause disease in humans, in a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The repor... Read More

TWiV 267: Snow in the headlights



Hosts: Vincent Racaniello, Alan Dove, Read More

A retrovirus makes chicken eggshells blue

When you purchase chicken eggs at the market, they usually have white or brown shells. But some breeds of chicken produce blue or green eggs. The blue color is caused by insertion of a retrovirus into the chicken genome, which activates a gene involved in the production of blue eggs. Read More

How virus sleuths and public health officials track the cause of a mysterious illness

When a mysterious disease fells people — as happened in California recently, with as many as 20 children experiencing unexplained paralysis — teams of physicians and epidemiologists quickly mobilize. Perhaps you saw the movie “Contagion”? The idea is to find the culprit before it spreads but als... Read More

Bacterial food web may be key to cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis patients suffer from chronic bacterial infections and thick mucous in their lungs, due largely to a combination of microbial infections and resulting inflammation. A common pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can lay dormant in healthy individuals, becomes virulent in the lun... Read More

Novel Virus Discovered in Half the World's Population

SDSU virologists and biologists have identified a highly abundant, never-before-described virus that could play a major role in obesity, diabetes.

Odds are, there’s a virus living inside your gut that has gone undetected by scientists for decades. A new study led by researchers at San Diego S... Read More

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