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Microbial Identification and Tracking: the Next Generation

How do you identify an unknown microbe? If you’ve taken an introductory microbiology lab course in the past twenty years, chances are you were assigned an unknown bacterium that you had to identify through differential media and biochemical assays. Newer techniques like qPCR are being standardiz... Read More

A cultural revolution in the study of the gut microbiome

(BOSTON) - It's estimated that as many as 1,000,000 Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, which cause mild to severe symptoms that at best can be managed and at worst can lead to life-threatening complications. While abnormal imm... Read More

Ancient clay remedy proves its antibacterial powers in the lab

Near Kisameet Bay on the central coast of British Columbia sits a deposit of clay that covers 5 acres and spans a depth up to 42 feet in places. This vast smear formed 10,000 years ago as glacial melt filled a granite basin and fine minerals silted out.

The ancient clay likely holds secrets t... Read More

The classic and current studies of bacterial endospore morphology

Recently, one of the Journal of Bacteriology Classic Spotlight series highlighted the numerous studies on bacterial spores that have been published in the journal throughout the years. Bacterial endospores, the resilient and relatively quiescent bacterial structures first identified in the 1800s... Read More

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system

With over half the U.S. population infected, most people are familiar with the pesky cold sore outbreaks caused by the herpes virus. The virus outsmarts the immune system by interfering with the process that normally allows immune cells to recognize and destroy foreign invaders. How exactly the ... Read More

Immune system maintains a memory of past infections by priming genes for future encounters

Our ability to fight off recurrent infections, such as colds or flu, may lie in the 'immunological memory' found in a newly discovered class of gene regulatory elements, according to research from the University of Birmingham, supported by the BBSRC and Bloodwise. Read More

Microbiologist Christmas Wreath, Unknown Organisms seem on Washed Hand Print #2,

Unknown organism seem after washing hands on a hand print grown on TSA. Larger organism (possible Bacillus spp) is circular, edges not smooth, mucoid with rhizoid like growth towards the edges. Second smaller organism is yellow, mucoid, and has something erupting from the center. Read More

Serratia marcescens

The image of Red Lord Ganesha on this MacConkey agar plate is made of Serratia marcescens. It is just an expression that microorganisms are ubiquitous and miraculous in nature just as our gods.
Serratia marcescens produces a blood red pigment called prodigiosin (latin word prodigiosus meaning ... Read More

How Forest Loss Is Leading To a Rise in Human Disease

In Borneo, an island shared by Indonesia and Malaysia, some of the world’s oldest tropical forests are being cut down and replaced with oil palm plantations at a breakneck pace. Wiping forests high in biodiversity off the land for monoculture plantations causes numerous environmental problems, f... Read More

3-D protein map offers new malaria vaccine hope

A three-dimensional 'map' of a critical protein that malaria parasites use to invade human red blood cells could lead to a vaccine countering the most widespread species of the parasite. Read More

Targeting the gut microbiome to fight heart disease

Is the way to treat heart disease through a person's stomach? According to a new study, the answer is yes. Researchers have found that a compound found in red wine, resveratrol, reduces the risk of heart disease by changing the gut microbiome.

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause ... Read More

Using TALEs to turn off any gene in E. coli

UW-Madison researchers engineered TALEs to transcriptionally repress any gene in E. coli. The results, published in Nature Chemical Biology, offer a new way to fine-tune bacterial physiology. Although TALEs have long been used for gene editing or transcriptional activation, this is one of the fi... Read More

Enhanced virus transduction may lead to more effective gene therapy

A benefit of the voluminous wealth of research produced is that it allows us to stand on the shoulders of giants – we can take advantage of established facts, tools, and datasets. This may mean using a mutant library to find genes in your organism that are important for the process you study; ac... Read More

Motherboard: Your Showerhead Is Crammed Full of Bacteria That Scientists Want to Study

Scientists know very little about the kinds of bacteria that we interact with on a daily basis in our homes. Researchers from Colorado, and North Carolina are interested in what kinds of microbes are living in your shower head.

They are hoping to find out where Nontuberculous mycobacteria is... Read More

Under the weather? A blood test can tell if antibiotics are needed

DURHAM, N.C. -- Researchers at Duke Health are fine-tuning a test that can determine whether a respiratory illness is caused by infection from a virus or bacteria so that antibiotics can be more precisely prescribed. Read More

Tracking Bacterial Imbalance in the ICU

The human microbiome is the diverse population of microorganisms that live on and in the body. Many thrive on the skin and in the mouth, but the majority live in the intestines. Over the last decade or so, microbiologists have become increasingly aware of how a person's microbial mix likely play... Read More

UK will need to act faster when inevitable next Ebola emerges

Ad hoc, uncoordinated and late. That’s how the UK government’s response to West Africa’s Ebola outbreak has been described in a report published on Monday by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee.

The report calls for changes to enable the UK to identify threats earlier... Read More

Environmental disturbances decrease the variability of microbial populations

A central pursuit of microbial ecology is to accurately model changes in microbial community composition in response to environmental factors. This goal requires a thorough understanding of the drivers of variability in microbial populations. However, most microbial ecology studies focus on the ... Read More

TWiM 135 Letters

Reed writes:

Dear Vincent, Elio, Michael, and Michelle,

I've just recently finished TWiM number 133 and wanted to comment about the use of the term "secondary metabolite" throughout the episode and often in the primary literature. Michael pointed out that a se... Read More

Systems study of climate change effects, large and small

If there is a problem built for a systems-based research approach, climate change – with its complex carbon and nitrogen cycles, numerous species involvement, and interaction of geographical zones – would be an excellent candidate. Concurrent with the launch of the systems-based microbial resear... Read More
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