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Human Sweat's Filthy Attributes Stop Bacteria-Fighting Brass

06/23/2014
Human sweat is actually much dirtier and bacteria-filled than we initially thought. Scientists have found that sweaty hands can reduce the effect that brass objects have of fighting bacteria. Brass objects can be found in hospitals and schools and sweat can fight off its abilities just an hour after contact. Brass ...

Multiple protocol breaches behind anthrax exposure at U.S. federal labs

06/23/2014
The safety breach at a government lab that may have exposed 84 workers to live anthrax centered on a pivotal lapse in procedure: researchers working with the bacteria waited 24 hours to be sure they had killed the pathogens, half the time required by a new scientific protocol. The lab designed ...

Doctors Without Borders: Ebola outbreak 'out of control'

06/22/2014
The Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa is "totally out of control," according to a senior official for Doctors Without Borders, who says the medical group is stretched to the limit in responding. The outbreak has caused more deaths than any other of the disease, said another official with the medical charity. ...

Bacteria Proposed for Passaic River Superfund Site Cleanup

06/22/2014
A decades long fight over cleaning up one of the nation's most contaminated riverbeds has posed a difficult question: how to safely remove enough toxic material from New Jersey's Passaic River to fill two MetLife Stadiums. The federal government is moving forward with long-stalled efforts to rid the Passaic of cancer-causing ...

CDC Anthrax Blunder: Numbers Could Climb Higher

06/22/2014
More than 80 people may have been exposed to airborne anthrax bacteria in an embarrassing mishap at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and the numbers may go even higher, officials said Friday. “Right now we have an excess of 80 individuals,” CDC deputy director Dr. Ileana Arias ...

'Sterile' Urine May Be a Myth

06/15/2014
Many people have heard that human urine is devoid of germs, but a new study seems to question that idea. "Doctors have been trained to believe that urine is germ-free," Dr. Linda Brubaker, dean of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, said in a university news release. "These findings challenge ...

New life form discovered at MSU, named after Bully

06/15/2014
Some Mississippi State University students have discovered – and named – a new life form, a previously unknown organism discovered on campus in a mud puddle last September. The newly classified organism – Ptolemeba bulliensis, a unicellular microscopic protest – was scooped from a courtyard between Harned Hall and its adjoining ...

Malnutrition: Starving Children Lack Crucial Gut Bacteria

06/15/2014
When children are starving, the bacteria that live in their intestines may determine whether they can be saved, scientists working in Bangladesh are reporting. And they say it may become imperative to find a way to give children bacteria as well as food. The study, done by researchers from Washington University ...

Wood-aged cheese: How science slices the debate over bacteria

06/15/2014
So what's the big stink over wood-aged cheese anyway? Is it deadly or just delicious? Artisanal cheese-makers raised a fuss recently when an FDA official suggested that wooden cheese shelves posed a public health risk because they were not "adequately cleanable," and could therefore harbor dangerous bacteria. While the FDA now ...

Bacteria could restore uranium mining aquifers

06/14/2014
Wyoming’s resurgent uranium industry could get a further boost from University of Wyoming scientists, whose research on post-mining environmental restoration is yielding promising results. Research in UW laboratories has shown that stimulating growth of native bacteria could be a more effective way to remediate aquifers tapped by in-situ leach uranium mining, ...

How Probiotics Will Improve Your Skin

06/14/2014
The more time I spend in the beauty industry, the more I believe that clear, good skin is more of an art than a science. Sure, it's science-based, but there's an endless list of the things that are bad (sun, dairy, gluten, oils) and only a few things that are ...

Microbes May Drive Evolution of New Animal Species

06/09/2014
You could call it Seth Bordenstein’s “Frankenstein” moment. A little over a year ago, Bordenstein, a biologist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and his then-graduate student, Robert Brucker, mated two incompatible species of wasp in the lab, creating a hardy hybrid that lived when most others died. Normally, when members ...

Researchers Explore Pre-Pandemic Influenza Vaccination Cost-Effectiveness

06/09/2014
A vaccine matched to a newly emerged pandemic influenza virus would require a production time of at least 6 months with current proven techniques, and so could only be used reactively after the peak of the pandemic. A pre-pandemic vaccine, although probably having lower efficacy, could be produced and used ...

DNA Sequencing Diagnoses Boy's Mysterious Bacterial Disease

06/07/2014
For the first time, doctors have used DNA-sequencing technology to diagnose and treat a boy in an emergency. It's a big step for DNA sequencing—that the technology is able to work so quickly, and to help a patient directly. As useful as DNA sequencing is for research and genetic counseling, ...

Early Exposure To Bacteria Protects Children From Asthma And Allergies

06/07/2014
Babies who are exposed to both bacteria and allergens in the first year of life are less likely to develop asthma and allergies, a study finds. It's the latest wrinkle in the hygiene hypothesis — the notion that exposure to bacteria trains the infant immune system to attack bad bugs and ...

Parvo Trial Shows Promising Results In Effort To Combat Puppy Virus

06/02/2014
A North Dakota company that discovered an antibody technology while trying to cure flocks of dying geese is using its research for a more warm and fuzzy purpose: saving puppies. Early tests performed on about 50 puppies in seven U.S. states for Grand Forks-based Avianax have resulted in a 90 percent ...

Scientists find coronavirus inhibitor blocking MERS and SARS

06/02/2014
A team of European scientists say they have discovered a compound that can prevent the spreading of coronaviruses, responsible for the SARS and MERS outbreaks that have killed about 1,000 people worldwide. A team of scientists led by Edward Trybala from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and Volker Thiel from ...

Stanford University Bioengineer Creates Organic Microbe-Powered Video Games

06/02/2014
Bioengineer Ingmar Riedel-Kruse of Stanford University has created a series of games where players control organic microbes. The games, which you can see showcased in the video below, places a collection of single-celled protozoans called paramecia in a thumbnail-sized chamber with electrode-lined edges. The paramecia are attracted to the electrodes when ...

Would you live in a house made of sand and bacteria? It's a surprisingly good idea

05/27/2014
Peter Trimble found his formula through trial and error. A design student at the University of Edinburgh, he was aiming to produce an artistic exhibition for a module on sustainability, when he stumbled on "Dupe," a living alternative to concrete. A lab technician introduced Trimble to Sporosarcina pasteurii, a bacterium with ...

My No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment

05/27/2014
For most of my life, if I’ve thought at all about the bacteria living on my skin, it has been while trying to scrub them away. But recently I spent four weeks rubbing them in. I was Subject 26 in testing a living bacterial skin tonic, developed by AOBiome, a ...

Microbes and Cancer

05/20/2014
Until recently cancers were seen as lifestyle and genetic diseases, brought on by exposure to carcinogens or a mutated gene. Recent studies are linking microbes to many different kinds of cancers. Participant discusses not only how infection with specific pathogens causes cancers but also how disruptions in the human microbiome ...

Fossilized Feces Help Anthropologists Understand Pre-Columbian Cultures

05/20/2014
By evaluating the bacteria and fungi found in fossilized feces, microbiologists are providing evidence to help support archeologists' hypotheses regarding cultures living in the Caribbean over 1,500 years ago. Researchers discuss how the analysis of 1,500-year-old coprolites from archeological excavations in Vieques, Puerto Rico helped confirm that there were once ...

Where Pathogens Can Linger on Airplanes

05/20/2014
Many air travelers are concerned about the risks of catching a disease from other passengers given the long time spent in crowded air cabins. New research shows disease-causing bacteria can linger on surfaces commonly found in airplane cabins for days, even up to a week. Participants discuss these findings as ...

White House: CIA has ended use of vaccine programmes

05/20/2014
The CIA has ended the use of vaccine programmes in its spying operations amid concerns for the safety of health workers, the White House has said. In a letter to US public health schools, a White House aide said the CIA stopped such practices in August. The CIA reportedly used a fake ...

No, your urine is not sterile, new research finds

05/20/2014
Bear Grylls, that intrepid survival expert from "Man vs. Wild," might want to rethink his penchant for drinking his own urine. Contrary to popular belief, new research shows that urine from an otherwise healthy person may not be as germ-free as we were led to believe. “For years, actually forever, the ...

Urine Is Not So Sterile After All, Bacteria Found In Urine Of Women With Overactive Bladder

05/20/2014
Although urine has long-been thought to be sterile, a new study has found that not only can bacteria survive in urine – they are relatively prolific in women with overactive bladder (OAB). “Doctors have been trained to believe that urine is germ-free,” said Linda Brubaker, dean of Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch ...

Germs in the Gut May Affect Autism, Study Finds

05/20/2014
Bacteria living in the intestines and colon may affect symptoms of autism by breaking down important message-carrying chemicals, researchers reported Monday. They found that children with autism have a very different make-up when it comes to gut germs, compared to children without autism. More importantly, chemicals produced by these bacteria may ...

ASM ¡en vivo!

05/19/2014
ASM2014 tiene "sabor Latino". Por primera vez podrás participar de ASM ¡en vivo! Tendremos una sección solo en Español donde las anfitrionas, Greetchen y Catalina (Mundo de los Microbios) conversarán con sus invitados sobre la importancia de comunicar la ciencia, adaptaciones de los hongos a sus hospederos y hasta paleomicrobiología. Participants: Greetchen ...

Windshield Wiper Fluid: A Source of Legionnaires?

05/19/2014
A form of bacteria responsible for respiratory illness, including the deadly pneumonia known as Legionnaire's disease, may be able to grow in windshield washer fluid and was isolated from nearly 75% of school buses tested in one district in Arizona. The participant will discuss findings from a project initiated after ...

The Potential Role of Gut Microbes in Autism

05/19/2014
Most gut bacteria are beneficial, aiding food digestion, producing vitamins, and protecting against harmful bacteria. If left unchecked, however, harmful bacteria can excrete dangerous metabolites or disturb a balance in metabolites that can affect the gut and the rest of the body, including the brain. New research shows that children ...

The Next Emerging Threat

05/19/2014
Over the past few decades there appears to have been a never-ending stream of emerging diseases from AIDS to SARS and now MERS. Predictions are that global warming will bring an increased emergence of pathogens. Clinical labs, veterinary labs and public health labs are challenged to be prepared for the ...

The Effect of Pancreatic Cancer on the Oral Microbiome

05/18/2014
In the United States, approximately 40,000 people die every year due to pancreatic adenocarcinoma, making it the fourth leading cause of cancer related death. Patients diagnosed in the early stages of pancreatic cancer have a 5-year survival rate of 21.5%. Unfortunately symptoms do not appear until after the cancer has ...

Bacteria in Urine Could Cause Overactive Bladder

05/18/2014
Contrary to popular belief, urine is not sterile and the bacteria in it may be associated with overactive bladder (OAB) in some women. Presenters will discuss their research evaluating urine specimens of 90 women with and without OAB using a new technique, the discovery that women with OAB had distinctly ...

2 health care workers exposed to MERS patient had flu-like symptoms

05/14/2014
Two health care workers went to the emergency room with flu-like symptoms after coming into contact with a patient confirmed to have Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, officials said Tuesday. The Florida patient represents the second confirmed case of MERS brought into the United States, the Centers for Disease Control ...

Saharan dust may cause harmful bacteria in Gulf

05/14/2014
A population explosion of the flesh-eating bacteria, Vibrio, may just be one of the many realities the Gulf Coast will face in the future. Every summer big dust plumes leave the Saharan and Sahel deserts in Africa and travel across the Atlantic. The dust eventually gets deposited in the Atlantic, Caribbean ...

TB infection in lungs decreases diversity of gut bacteria

05/14/2014
Johns Hopkins researchers have found evidence in mice that a tuberculosis (TB) infection in the lungs triggers immune system signaling to the gut that temporarily decreases the diversity of bacteria in that part of the digestive tract. The Johns Hopkins researchers showed that this decrease in diversity of gut bacteria as ...

This “Drinkable Book” Filters Water for Four Years. Wait, What?

05/13/2014
If you think books are old tech, you may be dismissing them too soon. The latest application for the folio design is a collection of water filters that are long-lasting and also provide information about consuming unsafe water. The humanitarian group WaterisLife and the ad agency DDB have teamed up ...

Artificial magnetic bacteria 'turn' food into natural drugs

05/13/2014
Scientists from the University of Granada have successfully created magnetic bacteria that could be added to foodstuffs and could, after ingestion, help diagnose diseases of the digestive system like stomach cancer. These important findings constitute the first use of a food as a natural drug and aid in diagnosing an ...

New Springtime Flu Strain Going Around New York

05/11/2014
Thought you only had to deal with allergies these days? Well, maybe you've noticed some friends or work colleagues calling in sick lately—that may be because there's another flu strain making the rounds. According to the Centers for Disease Control, influenza B is accounting for 55% of all viruses nationally. And ...

Giant virus revived from deep freeze in Siberian tundra

05/11/2014
A 30,000-year-old giant virus has been revived from the frozen Siberian tundra, sparking concern that increased mining and oil drilling in rapidly warming northern latitudes could disturb dormant microbial life that could one day prove harmful to man. The latest find, described online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy ...

As MERS virus reaches U.S., public health system springs into action

05/11/2014
The man arrived at the hospital with a fever and a bad cough. Relatives accompanied him through the doors, beneath the red neon sign reading "Emergency." It looked like pneumonia, but when doctors at Community Hospital learned that the patient was a healthcare worker in Saudi Arabia, they began suspecting something ...

Small microbes almost killed all life on Earth, study suggests

05/10/2014
Tiny microbes on the bottom of the ocean floor may have been responsible for the largest extinction event our planet has ever seen, according to a new study. These microbes of death were so small, that 1 billion of them could fit in a thimble-full of ocean sediment, and yet, ...

Breastfeeding helps children grow friendly gut bacteria

05/10/2014
The presence of lactic acid bacteria in intestinal flora is important for the healthy development of the immune system in children's early years. Now, a Danish study that tracked over 300 children in their first 3 years of life, found that longer breastfeeding encouraged lactic acid bacteria to flourish in ...

Scientists Say Earth Bacteria Could Easily Colonize Mars

05/08/2014
Researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in California, say bacteria from Earth could easily accompany astronauts to Mars, and could quickly colonize the planet. Three different teams, researching how to sanitize the equipment going to other planets, discovered that some of the bacteria from Earth are resistant to all space hazards, ...

Scientists add new letters to bacteria's genetic 'alphabet'

05/07/2014
For possibly billions of years, the DNA blueprints for life on Earth have been written with just four genetic "letters" -- A, T, G and C. On Wednesday, scientists announced that that they added two more. In a paper published in the journal Nature, bio-engineers at Scripps Research Institute in La ...

Raw Oysters Spike U.S. Rise in Bacterial Infections

04/21/2014
Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain. Infections with vibrio, a saltwater-based bacteria that can pool in shellfish, jumped 75 percent last year from 2006-2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ...

2,300 tubes containing SARS virus samples missing in France

04/19/2014
A major French biomedical research body, the Pasteur Institute, have launched an investigation into the disappearance of some 2,300 test tubes containing samples of the SARS virus. The loss was discovered during an inventory. The Pasteur Institute filed a so-called 'complaint against X' on Monday over the lost SARS (severe acute ...

How A Person Can Recover From Ebola

04/19/2014
At least eight Ebola patients in Guinea have beaten the odds. They have recovered and been sent home. In past outbreaks, the death rate has been as high as 90 percent. In Guinea so far, about 60 percent of the 157 suspected cases have ended in death. The first seven to ...

Fighting bacteria with weapons from fungi

04/19/2014
In order to survive, organisms produce small molecules known as ‘primary metabolites’ which help it to grow, develop and reproduce. Examples include nucleic acid used to make DNA, amino acids to make proteins, and simple sugars. Once the organism is established it will often start to produce ‘secondary metabolites’. Secondary ...

Book Review: 'The Amoeba in the Room' by Nicholas P. Money & 'Missing Microbes' by Martin J. Blaser

04/19/2014
From the WSJ: In 2004, the rebel geneticist Craig Venter took a sailing trip to Bermuda and, unable to resist doing a little research on the side, hauled up 50 gallons of the Sargasso Sea and began trawling it for DNA. It looked for all the world like cold, sterile saltwater, ...

Ebola Virus: A Grim, African Reality

04/13/2014
There’s nothing like an outbreak of Ebola virus disease to bring a small, struggling African nation to international notice. One week we couldn’t place it on a map; the next week, after Ebola virus disease strikes, we know the body count and the name of the capital and whether its ...

Gut Reactions to Beneficial Bacteria

04/13/2014
Q. When you eat yogurt or take a probiotic supplement, why aren’t the probiotic bacteria killed by stomach acids? A. The point of consuming a probiotic supplement in a food like yogurt, a powder or a capsule is to introduce beneficial bacteria in the gut, said Dr. Christine Frissora, a gastroenterologist ...

NASA To Study If Space Travel Makes Twins Biologically Different

04/12/2014
The world’s only twin astronauts will take center stage in an upcoming NASA experiment that will analyze whether or not identical siblings remain the same biologically if one travels to outer space while the other remains on Earth. According to the US space agency, astronaut Scott Kelly will be participating in ...

The sorceress’s apprentice

04/12/2014
ANYONE who walks in the woods will be familiar with witches’ brooms (pictured). Many trees sport these bushy tumours, which have a variety of causes. An important one is a group of bacteria called phytoplasma that are, in turn, carried from plant to plant by sap-sucking insects such as leafhoppers. Phytoplasma ...

Soap Compound Could Make It Easier For Staph Bacteria To Colonize In Your Nose

04/11/2014
A common ingredient in antibacterial soap can be found in some people's noses, and the presence of this ingredient could be promoting the colonization of Staph bacteria, according to a small new study in the journal mBio. Researchers from the University of Michigan found triclosan in the nasal secretions of 41 ...

Guinea's first Ebola survivors return to family, stigma remains

04/10/2014
GUECKEDOU, Guinea, April 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - H iccups, say doctors in this remote corner of Guinea, are the final tell-tale sign of infection by the Ebola virus that has killed more than 100 people since an outbreak began this year. Then come profuse bleeding, circulatory shock and death. But for ...

Stockpiles of Roche Tamiflu drug are waste of money, review finds

04/10/2014
Researchers who have fought for years to get full data on Roche's flu medicine Tamiflu said on Thursday that governments who stockpile it are wasting billions of dollars on a drug whose effectiveness is in doubt. In a review of trial data on Tamiflu, and on GlaxoSmithKline's flu drug Relenza, scientists ...

Is Antibacterial Soap Increasing Your Chances Of A Nasal Infection?

04/08/2014
Previous research has shown that the overuse of antibiotics has a hand in promoting an antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria and now a new study published in the journal mBio has found that an antibiotic common to soaps and hand sanitizers actually promotes the growth of Staphylococcus aureus inside the human ...

World Cup may bring viral epidemic to Brazil

04/08/2014
The World Cup may bring a lot more than soccer to South America in June — a viral epidemic may be traveling with it. Research published ahead of print Monday in the Journal of Virology warns that FIFA’s 2014 World Cup — the international soccer tournament that draws both teams and ...

Ebola virus in Guinea ‘most aggressive, near totally fatal’

04/05/2014
Western Africa is bracing against an unprecedented outbreak of the deadly ebola virus. Guinea is the country affected the worst by the viral hemorrhagic fever. Since January, 86 people have died from it, out of 137 cases. Shutting down the body’s immune system, ebola is highly contagious, transmitted by contact with ...

Antibiotics In Manure Implicated In Human Pathogenic Bacteria In Soil

04/05/2014
Researchers have have found that the repeated application of manure contaminated with antibiotics changes the composition of bacteria in the soil. The focus of the investigation was on sulfadiazine (SDZ), a widely used antibiotic in animal husbandry which enters the soil via manure. The researchers report that repeated application of ...

Reprogrammed Bacteria Build Self-Healing ‘Living Materials’

03/31/2014
How handy would it be if, instead of taking your broken circuit board to the Genius Bar (again), you could just prompt it to heal itself? That’s the futuristic possibility researchers have recently inched ever so slightly toward, with the development of hybrid “living materials” made from bacterial cells and ...

Fighting Cholera With Mass Vaccination

03/30/2014
When studying bacteria it is quite easy to get fascinated with them as a laboratory specimen while forgetting the huge impact they can have in real life societies. I find the PLoS journal of Neglected Tropical diseases redresses that as it covers work with bacteria and parasites from the front ...

Concrete-Dissolving Bacteria Are Destroying Our Nation's Sewers

03/30/2014
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, and they're in serious trouble ...

Florida Bill Would Combat Superbug Threat

03/30/2014
A bill to track drug-resistant infections has been introduced in Florida, inspired in part by FRONTLINE’s Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Janet Adkins, a Republican, requires the state health department to maintain an online record of the type and location of any antibiotic-resistant bacteria outbreaks in Florida, ...

Pet cats infect two people with TB

03/28/2014
Two people in England have developed tuberculosis after contact with a domestic cat, Public Health England has announced. The two human cases are linked to nine cases of Mycobacterium bovis infection in cats in Berkshire and Hampshire last year. Both people were responding to treatment, PHE said. It said the risk of cat-to-human ...
03/27/2014
Every year, half of all Americans take some kind of pill as insurance against their diets. But recently, researchers have noticed a surprising trend: Use of some of the most popular supplements is waning, possibly because of recent reports questioning their benefits and raising awareness about risks. In a study by ...

Scientists build man-made 'living-materials' inside bacterial cells

03/27/2014
Our bones are remarkable feats of engineering; strong and yet light, shot through with holes and yet able to bear incredible loads. This super-strong natural material is built as cells incorporate hard minerals like calcium into living tissue. Now, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are borrowing this idea ...

Breastfeeding increases prevalence of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria in infants

03/25/2014
Breastfeeding until at least nine months of age increases prevalence in the gastrointestinal tract of Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, species which are known to contribute to development of a healthy immune system, according to a paper describing the establishment of the intestinal microbiota during the first three years of life. The ...
03/16/2014
Once again, you've dropped your snack. You bend down, snatch it up, and gently blow off any dust—and, you hope, deadly germs. You're about to put it in your mouth because, after all, you've got the "five-second rule" on your side: Food that's been dropped is safe to consume if ...

Spread of antibiotic resistance understood by unravelling bacterial secretion system

03/09/2014
The system that allows the sharing of genetic material between bacteria – and therefore the spread of antibiotic resistance – has been uncovered by a team of scientists at Birkbeck, University of London and UCL. The study, published today in Nature, reveals the mechanism of bacterial type IV secretion, which bacteria ...

This Bacteria Can Make People See

03/08/2014
Serratia marcescens is a bacteria that has earned a bad reputation for infecting people in hospitals. It may deserve an even worse reputation. It might have made people believe, for hundreds of years, that the blood of Christ was miraculously appearing in communion wafers. Serratia marcescens used to be the workhorse ...

UGA researchers uncover how bacteria helps create clouds

03/08/2014
When a clear sunny day turns into clouds, people used it to explain their grave mood without taking into consideration how clouds can affect global warming in the atmosphere. But University of Georgia marine researchers have discovered the process of an anti-greenhouse gas known as DMSP (dimethylsulfoniopropionate) that can be ...

Gonorrhea Infections Start From Exposure To Seminal Fluid

03/05/2014
Researchers have come a step closer to understanding how gonorrhea infections are transmitted. When Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacteria responsible for gonorrhea, are exposed to seminal plasma, the liquid part of semen containing secretions from the male genital tract, they can more easily move and start to colonize. The research, led ...

Thanks to Climate Change, West Nile Virus Could Be Your New Neighbor

03/02/2014
Invasive species aren’t just species—they can also be pathogens. Such is the case with the West Nile virus. A mosquito-borne virus identified in the West Nile subregion in Uganda in 1937—hence the name—West Nile wasn’t much of a concern to people elsewhere until it broke out of Africa in 1999. ...

A Newly Discovered Microbe Could Accelerate Global Warming

03/01/2014
Teaming beneath Sweden's thawing permafrost is a previously undiscovered microbe known as methanongen (Candidatus Methanoflorens Stordalenmirensis). As its name suggests, the microbe does one thing really well: release methane into the atmosphere, presenting a feedback loop of gas production that scientists believe will impact the future of global warming. After ...

Flu Killing More Young Adults This Year, CDC Says

03/01/2014
Influenza is killing more young and middle-aged adults this year than usual, in part because they’re less likely to be vaccinated, federal health officials said Thursday. More than 60 percent of those killed or put into the hospital by flu so far this season have been aged 18 to 64, the ...

Microbe ‘tomb’ on teeth reveals medieval microbiome

03/01/2014
Scientists have discovered a “microbial Pompeii” preserved on the teeth of skeletons around 1,000 years old. The key to the discovery is the dental calculus, or “plaque,” which preserves bacteria and microscopic particles of food on the surfaces of teeth, effectively creating a mineral tomb for microbiomes.

Rainwater harvesting tanks enable spread of dangerous pathogens, study shows

02/27/2014
Some 20 percent of of South Africans lack sustainable access to water. Many have to walk a third of a mile to get clean water from a standing pump, which is often shared with 100 or more other village residents. That's why the South African government has invested in installing more ...

Study: Salad Ingredient Kills Drug-Resistant TB

02/25/2014
One of the world's oldest known disinfectants – and favorite salad dressings – may prove even stronger than previously thought. An international research team has found that vinegar – or, more specifically, the active ingredient in vinegar – can kill mycobacteria, including a highly drug-resistant form of tuberculosis. Researchers recently stumbled upon ...

What’s Vibrio Fischeri? Why, Possibly the State Microbe!

02/23/2014
Hawaii Senate Bill 3124 would make Vibrio fischeri the official state microbe. Here’s why, according to the bill: Vibrio fischeri is deserving of being Hawaii’s official state microbe because of its broad reputation as among the best-studied beneficial microbes. These bacteria live in a symbiotic relationship with ...

How a Microbe Resists its Own Antibiotics

02/23/2014
In the mid-2000s, scientists identified two novel antimicrobial compounds in the bacterium Streptomyces platensis, each of which target a different enzyme involved in fatty acid synthesis in other microbes. Platensimycin and platencin are now being explored as a new class of antibiotics. Research published today (February 20) in Chemistry & ...
02/23/2014
It might sound strange to say that humans have forgotten what human-food is, but many scientists believe this is the case. For thousands of years, the environment in which humans lived evolved at a glacial pace—our nutrition and culture changed slowly, and our bodies adapted to it at a matching ...

Recruitment Launched for New Microscopic Museum Mobile Gaming Program at AMNH

02/18/2014
The American Museum of Natural History has began recruiting for this new, free, spring, after school program for high school students. Please help them out by sharing the word with interested teens: Did you know that the Twa, a group of people in the Congo, rarely get cavities or that Japanese ...

Pentagon agency tries to stop drug-resistant bacteria

02/16/2014
The rise of drug-resistant bacteria and other biological threats has pushed the Pentagon to seek help developing small molecules that can stop some of the world's most dangerous pathogens. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which seeks ways to stop or limit the effects of weapons of mass destruction such as biological ...

59,000 generations of bacteria, plus freezer, yield startling results

02/16/2014
After 26 years of workdays spent watching bacteria multiply, Richard Lenski has learned a thing or two. He's learned that naturalist Charles Darwin was wrong about some things. For one, evolution doesn't always occur in steps so slow and steady that changes can't be observed. Lenski also learned that a laboratory freezer ...

The Energizer Bacterium

02/10/2014
Many bacteria have a trick for surviving a water shortage: They dry up like raisins and turn into spores, protecting their essential genetic code. But moisten a spore and it swells right up again. Those capabilities give bacterial spores some interesting potential as an energy source, as scientists at Harvard, Columbia ...

Celebrity portraits grown out stars' own bacteria

02/10/2014
Well-known faces including Stephen Fry and Carol Vorderman are helping make art out of science by taking part in an experiment to grow portraits using their own bacteria. The celebrities teamed up with American microbiologist and photographer Zachary Copfer to make the images by contributing a swab covered in bacteria from ...

Fla. dolphins harbor potentially deadly bacteria

02/10/2014
One in every three bottlenose dolphin tested in the Indian River Lagoon on Florida's Atlantic coast has antibodies to a bacteria that can make them more vulnerable to other deadly infections, according to a new study. The finding comes as researchers struggle to figure out what has caused a rash of ...

CU-Boulder researchers sequence world’s first butterfly bacteria, find surprises

02/02/2014
For the first time ever, a team led by the University of Colorado Boulder has sequenced the internal bacterial makeup of the three major life stages of a butterfly species, a project that showed some surprising events occur during metamorphosis. The team, led by CU-Boulder doctoral student Tobin Hammer, used powerful ...

Bricks Grown From Bacteria

02/02/2014
A unique biotechnology start-up company have developed a method of growing bricks from nothing more than bacteria and naturally abundant materials. Having recently won first place in the Cradle to Cradle Product Innovation Challenge, bioMason has developed a method of growing materials by employing microorganisms. Arguing that the four traditional ...

Bacterial food web may be key to cystic fibrosis

01/11/2014
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 lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, and Cornell biological engineers ...

Bacteria Help Sea Blobs Morph Into Tubeworm Adults

01/11/2014
Marine tubeworms start their lives as floating blobs that drift through the ocean looking for a spot to take up residence as sedentary juveniles. Now, researchers have found the gelatinous larvae need a nudge from pointy bacterial structures to metamorphose. In recent years, scientists have found that many seafloor creatures — ...

Bacteria 'could be a cause of preterm births'

01/11/2014
New research from the US has found a link between preterm births where the water sac around the baby breaks prematurely, and bacteria near where the walls of the sac are thinner. The researchers, including Amy P. Murtha, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University School of Medicine, report ...

MAP OF THE DAY: States With 'Nightmare Bacteria' 2001 Vs. 2013

01/04/2014
Each year, 2 million people get an infection that is resistant to antibiotics, the CDC has reported. Twenty-three thousand of them die as a result of the infection, and many more die from related complications. Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are just one variety of antibiotic-resistant bacteria — MRSA is more common — ...

NASA To Test Microgravity’s Effect On Bacteria, Antibiotics

01/04/2014
NASA’s Antibiotic Effectiveness in Space (AES-1) investigation is launching in January and it will be offering scientists more insight into how bacteria behave in microgravity. Bacteria are considered the most successful life forms, and they are hard to run from, even in space. In a microgravity environment, studies have shown that ...

"Social" bacteria that work together to hunt for food and survive under harsh conditions (NSF Press Release)

12/22/2013
When considering the behavior of bacteria, the word "social" doesn't often come to mind. Yet some bacteria are quite social, chief among them Myxococcus xanthus, a soil-dwelling bacterium that organizes itself into multi-cellular, three-dimensional structures made up of thousands of cells that work together to hunt for food and survive under ...

Anglers face dangers from vibrio vulnificus bacterium and fish handler's disease

12/22/2013
When Charlie Schneider came back one day in June after being out fishing near his Tilghman Island home, he noticed he was getting chills. His left ankle itched and got worse and worse through the evening. It eventually started to throb a bit, and he couldn't sleep. At 2 a.m., ...

The SOS response: how bacteria deal with damaged DNA

12/22/2013
DNA is important stuff. It’s present in all living organisms on the planet (or ‘almost all’ if you wish to remain friends with virologists) and contains the information required to produce and organise the proteins within a cell. If the DNA is damaged, the cell will very quickly find itself ...

USDA Food Tip: Don’t Let Bacteria Crash Your Party

12/15/2013
People dressed for a holiday party don’t picture themselves sick in bed shortly after the festivities, but that’s what could happen if food on party buffets isn’t handled and served safely. Bacteria are party crashers, and the only housewarming gift they bring is foodborne illness. How do bacteria crash parties? They ...

Salmonella Jams Signals from Bacteria-Fighting Mast Cells

12/15/2013
A protein in Salmonella inactivates mast cells -- critical players in the body's fight against bacteria and other pathogens -- rendering them unable to protect against bacterial spread in the body, according to researchers at Duke Medicine and Duke-National University of Singapore (Duke-NUS). The study, conducted in mice, was published Dec. ...

Blood Clots Prevent Deadly Bacterial Toxin from Spreading in Body

12/15/2013
New research from the University of California, Davis suggests that blood clots may play an unexpected role in protecting the body from the effects of deadly bacteria. Bacterial toxins, such as lipopolysaccharide (also known as endotoxin), can cause a variety of negative health effects including septic shock, which can significantly damage ...

Harmless Gut Bacteria Turn Violent When Threatened

12/15/2013
E. coli is one of millions of bacterial species that live in our gut. From when we are infants, E. coli dwells peacefully in the lower intestine, maintaining a give-and-take relationship with our body – it helps the gut digest food, and gets energy to live and reproduce in return. However, ...

Shenzhen Finds H7N9 Flu Virus in Markets Near Hong Kong

12/15/2013
More people risk being sporadically infected with bird flu in China’s southern province of Guangdong, the Chinese government said after finding the virus in live poultry markets. The Guangdong province health authority examined 70 samples from 13 live poultry markets in Shenzhen city, it said in a statement yesterday. Three samples ...

WHO confirms H7N9 cases as labs track risks

12/15/2013
The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed four recent novel H7N9 avian flu cases, as scientists revealed their latest risk assessments based on genetic monitoring and lab tests. In a statement, the WHO said it has received reports of two infections from China's Zhejiang province, which include cases involving a 57-year-old ...

Gut Bacteria Lose Their Tails to Evade Antibodies

12/15/2013
New research reveals the complex dynamic between gut bacteria and the immune system that keeps proteins from flagellin—bacterial tails—under control. In healthy individuals, the only thing that separates the lining of the human gut from the some 100 trillion bacterial cells in the gastrointestinal tract is a layer of mucous. But when ...

Dangerous Bacteria Can Lurk Inside Nose: Study

12/15/2013
Potentially harmful staph bacteria can lurk deep inside the nose, a small new study finds. Researchers tested 12 healthy people and found that formerly overlooked sites deep within the nose may be reservoirs for Staphylococcus aureus, which is a major cause of disease. Nearly half of S. aureus strains are antibiotic-resistant. It's ...

IBM Research engineers a ninja polymer that kills deadly bacteria like MRSA

12/09/2013
As humanity continues to carpet bomb the microscopic world with antibiotics, the enemy is fighting back. Antibiotic resistance is on the rise, and that can mean painful or life-threatening infections for those unfortunate enough to come into contact with such organisms. One of the most common resistant bacteria is methicillin-resistant ...

Bacterium can reverse autism-like behaviour in mice

12/09/2013
Doses of a human gut microbe helped to reverse behavioural problems in mice with autism-like symptoms, researchers report today in Cell. The treatment also reduced gastrointestinal problems in the animals that were similar to those that often accompany autism in humans. The work builds on previous research by Paul Patterson, a ...

The bacteria in breast milk

12/08/2013
Bacteria are found in large numbers all over the human body where there is a channel to the outside world, for example in the gut, lungs, and surface of the skin. I’ve always thought that actually inside the human body was a bacteria-free environment unless an infection was raging so ...

Microbe steals neighbour's electricity to make methane

12/08/2013
From cow burps to tree hiccups and melting permafrost, the potent greenhouse gas methane is produced in myriad ways. Now we can add another one to the list: electricity-generating microbes. The finding could one day allow us to control the generation of methane. Methanosaeta microbes are one of the biggest natural ...
12/08/2013
Colorectal cancer patients have fewer beneficial gut bacteria and more harmful microbes than those without the disease, researchers from the New York University School of Medicine report in Friday’s edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. While previous research had suggested that gut microbiota played a role in colorectal ...

HIV virus returns after cure hope rose

12/07/2013
Boston researchers are reporting the return of the HIV virus in two patients who had become virus-free after undergoing bone marrow transplants, dashing hopes of a possible cure that had generated widespread excitement. The rebound of the virus shows its persistence, and that it can hide in places in the body ...

New candy eats 'bad' bacteria in the mouth, benefitting teeth

12/07/2013
Our mouths are a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria. When we clean our teeth, the aim is to knock out cavity-causing bacteria, while allowing beneficial oral bacteria to thrive. Now, researchers have developed a sugar-free candy, which contains dead bacteria that bind to bad bacteria, potentially reducing cavities. The ...

Early life built Earth's continents

12/02/2013
Rewind Earth's story 3 or 4 billion years, to when life was emerging. The surface of our planet was starting to cool but still piping hot – possibly about 200 °C. Early, unstable continents may have been forming. Now imagine life doesn't emerge, and press play. This is what a new ...

The Vaccination Effect: 100 Million Cases of Contagious Disease Prevented

12/02/2013
Vaccination programs for children have prevented more than 100 million cases of serious contagious disease in the United States since 1924, according to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The research, led by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh’s graduate school of public health, analyzed public ...

The Microbiome And The Future Of Artisanal Gastronomy

12/02/2013
Earlier this week, the media caught the stinky wind of a rather unique art exhibit at the Dublin Science Gallery. Called SELFMADE, the installation featured a number of cheeses made by a variety of different bacteria. While this may not seem all that strange, the fact that the ...

Virus killing bottlenose dolphins may be jumping species, report says

12/01/2013
The bottlenose dolphins are migrating south. So officials in New Jersey thought that they had seen the last of the strandings - animals washing onto beaches, dead or dying - in what has become the largest Atlantic Coast die-off of dolphins in memory. But on Monday, the body of another dolphin, ...

Bacteria Enhance Growth of Fruit Trees Up to 40 Percent

12/01/2013
Improvement in reforestation and agriculture is possible thanks to the work of scientists in the Center of Research and Advanced Studies (Cinvestav) who use different strains of fungi and bacteria to promote development and health in trees, which have enabled them to accelerate growth of different species up to 40 ...

The Microbes Living in Our Bodies Were Probably Once Evil Pathogens

11/30/2013
Like pretty much all multi-cellular organisms, humans enjoy the benefits of helpful bacteria. (As you may have heard, there are more bacteria in the human body than cells.) These mutualistic microbes live within the body of a larger organism, and, like any good long-term houseguest, help out their hosts, while ...

Black silicon slices and dices bacteria

11/30/2013
Originally discovered by accident in the 1980s, black silicon is silicon with a surface that has been modified to feature nanoscale spike structures which give the material very low reflectivity. Researchers have now found that these spikes can also destroy a wide range of bacteria, potentially paving the way for ...

HPV: Sex, cancer and a virus

11/24/2013
On a sunny day in 1998, Maura Gillison was walking across the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, thinking about a virus. The young oncologist bumped into the director of the university's cancer centre, who asked politely about her work. Gillison described her discovery of early evidence that ...

State Parks celebrates 10 years of Kartchner Caverns Big Room tours

11/24/2013
Deep inside the dark, damp caves of Kartchner Caverns State Park lies something that sounds more suited to a fairy tale than to a rock formation. The so-called Big Room holds the world’s largest formation of brushite moonmilk — sometimes called “elf’s milk” — a sparkling white, creamy-looking substance that occurs ...

Bio-artist colors textiles with deadly bacteria and antibiotics

11/24/2013
Would you cuddle up with a quilt stained with MRSA? Artist Anna Dumitriu challenges the relationship between humans and bacteria by staining textiles with superbugs. As part of her artist's residency on the UK Clinical Research Consortium Project “Modernising Medical Microbiology” at the University of Oxford, Dumitriu has been developing her ...

Bright future for Waikato microbiology graduate

11/24/2013
While studying for a PhD at the University of Waikato graduate Ron Xavier discovered a passion for communicating complex science to the public. Thanks to the collaborative work he completed during a University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship in microbiology, Ron is now employed by AgResearch in Palmerston North. His team is currently ...

FDA approves first adjuvanted vaccine for prevention of H5N1 avian influenza

11/24/2013
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the first adjuvanted vaccine for the prevention of H5N1 influenza, commonly known as avian or bird flu. The vaccine, Influenza A (H5N1) Virus Monovalent Vaccine, Adjuvanted, is for use in people 18 years of age and older who are at increased risk ...

Saudi Arabia reports 1 more death from new virus

11/24/2013
Saudi Arabia says one more person has died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing to 55 the number of deaths in the kingdom at the center of the outbreak. The Health Ministry said Sunday that the 37-year-old man died in Riyadh. He was among 130 people who have ...

Intestinal Bacteria Influence Food Transit Through the Gut

11/24/2013
Food transit through the small intestine affects the body's absorption of nutrients and, consequently, our health. The discovery that food transit time is regulated by a hormone indicates new ways to increase the intestinal absorption of nutrients, and thus potentially treat malnutrition. One of the tasks of the gut microbiota is ...

Saudi Arabia must be transparent to fight MERS virus (op/ed)

11/24/2013
Slowly over the past year, a novel respiratory virus has claimed victims in the Middle East, primarily in Saudi Arabia. It comes from a species known as coronavirus, which, through an electronic microscope, looks like a spiky blob. The virus has been named Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS. According ...

Getting Your Microbes Analyzed Raises Big Privacy Issues

11/24/2013
After spending months working on a series of stories about the trillions of friendly microbes that live in and on our bodies, I decided it might be interesting to explore my own microbiome. So I pulled out my credit card and paid the $99 needed to sign up for the American ...

Harsh Arizona Cave System Home To Hardy Communities Of Bacteria

11/24/2013
The Kartchner caverns in southeast Arizona are famous for their spectacular limestone rock formations, created by groundwater seeping and dissolving bedrock compounds over thousands of years. For all their beauty, the caverns are extremely harsh environments with no sunlight and precious little water and air, and have shown very few ...

Belly-button brie? Bacteria from human bodies create artsy cheese

11/23/2013
You'll need a strong stomach to walk into a new exhibit open at the Dublin Science Gallery: On display are cheeses cultured from the body bacteria of celebrities from the realms of science, food and art. Eleven "cheese portraits" include a farmhouse cheese, a washed rind, a natural rind, a ...

Barring the gates: How plants defend against invading bacteria

11/18/2013
Bacteria will exploit any opportunity to invade a new living space, in particular taking advantage of any easily-colonisable entrances into other living organisms. In plants one of these entrances is a doorway between the interior of the leaf and the outside air in order to exchange gases. Plants require carbon ...

The manipulative friend: bacterial hijacking of plant symbiosis signalling

11/18/2013
Members of the legume family of plants (e.g. peas, soybean) can form symbioses with nitrogen-fixing bacteria known as rhizobia. In return for receiving nitrogen-containing compounds (e.g. ammonia) from the rhizobia, the plant supplies the rhizobia with sugars and a home in special organs in the plant root called nodules. To ...

Drug clears up persistent bacteria by getting them to digest themselves

11/17/2013
Drug resistant bacteria are, justifiably, a serious cause for concern. Most of the attention has focused on mutations or genes that confer resistance to our current repertoire of antibiotics. But bacteria have a second way to avoid being offed by our drugs: a tiny fraction of many bacterial species will ...

First Case of New Bird Flu Identified in Human Patient

11/17/2013
The latest version is called H6N1, and represents the first time that this strain of bird flu has jumped from birds to people. Flu researchers are especially wary of birds, from wild avian species like migrating geese to run-of-the-mill chickens at local poultry markets. They harbor a series of influenza strains ...

Mutated Virus Helps Build a Better Battery

11/17/2013
By unleashing a genetically modified virus onto microscopic electrode wires, researchers from MIT have shown that the performance of lithium-air batteries can be significantly improved -- a remarkable breakthrough that could revolutionize the way our electric devices are powered. Indeed, lithium-air batteries have generated considerable buzz over the years because of ...

Is There Big Money Inside Your Gut?

11/17/2013
Corey Goodman sees financial opportunity in strange places, specifically the human bowel. In 2010 the former president of Pfizer’s innovation center founded Second Genome, a company dedicated to identifying the varieties of bacteria in stool samples and manipulating them to improve human health. Goodman’s start-up has raised millions of dollars ...

Caution to the Wind: Dirty Horns are the Clarion Call for Microbes

11/16/2013
The professional musician who follows her dream of performing on the stage is greeted by an array of unusual occupational hazards. These are not limited to those late night hours spent in bars exposed to cigarette smoke and aggressive groupies but the risks of carpal tunnel, hoarseness, hearing loss, and ...

Scientists find oldest life form ever discovered - bacteria that smell like rotten eggs

11/16/2013
Scientists have discovered what they believe to be the oldest complete example of life on earth - but the ancient creature would have smelled strongly of rotten eggs. The remains were discovered by American scientists from Old Dominion University, in a lump of Sandstone in Western Australia. The ancient microbes are thought ...

Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stops

11/16/2013
Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world. That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century. Evolution is so important for biology, medicine and a general understanding of our world that scientists ...

Grit Your Teeth: Toothbrush Holder Yields New, Drug-Resistant Germ (Op-Ed)

11/10/2013
Robert Donofrio is director of NSF International's Applied Research Center. He contributed this article to LiveScience's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Recently, my colleagues and I at NSF International's Applied Research Center (ARC) discovered a new bacterium, Klebsiella michiganensis, lurking on a toothbrush holder. This unique coliform bacterium is a member ...

Polio Threatens Europe as Virus Makes Comeback Amid Wars

11/09/2013
Polio, the crippling virus driven to the brink of extinction, may return to Europe as regional conflicts undermine a $10 billion eradication campaign. Polio’s re-appearance in Syria last month after a 14 year absence raises the risk that the virus will hitch a ride on unsuspecting refugees fleeing the country and ...

Spain Confirms First Case of Highly Dangerous MERS Virus

11/09/2013
The Spanish Health Ministry said Thursday it had discovered the country's first case of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus in a woman who arrived recently from Saudi Arabia, where the virus was first detected a year ago. A ministry spokeswoman said the infected woman, a Moroccan citizen who resides ...

Dolphin-killing virus reaches Florida, and is infecting whales, too

11/09/2013
The bottlenose dolphin die-off that began in July has been traveling steadily south with migrating Atlantic herds, and now diseased and dead dolphins are turning up in Florida. The culprit, a measles-like virus, has claimed 753 victims and counting, making this the worst outbreak ever recorded. Recently, the bug has ...

Babies' Weak Immune Systems Let In "Good" Bacteria

11/09/2013
As any new parent knows, infants are notoriously susceptible to bacterial infections. A study now suggests that the body engineers this vulnerability deliberately, allowing beneficial microbes to colonize the baby’s gut, skin, mouth and lungs. Learning to manipulate this system could lead to treatments for infections in newborns, and perhaps ...

Tracing Arthritis to Bugs in the Gut?

11/09/2013
The inflamed joints and systemic inflammation characteristic of early rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have been linked with an altered pattern of gut microbial colonization, suggesting a new explanation for autoimmunity and having potential implications for treatment, researchers reported. Using shotgun gene sequencing, a group of researchers led by Dan L. Littman, MD, ...

Exploring The Invisible Universe That Lives On Us — And In Us (cool NPR animated video)

11/06/2013
The next time you look in a mirror, think about this: In many ways you're more microbe than human. There are 10 times more cells from microorganisms like bacteria and fungi in and on our bodies than there are human cells. Scientists increasingly think that these microorganisms have a huge influence ...

Colon Cancer’s Newest Culprit: Gut Bacteria

11/05/2013
Add one more to the list of tumor-causing bad guys in the colon. In some ways, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the teeming population of bacteria living in the intestinal tract have something to do with colon cancer. After all, there are trillions of them making their home all ...

Dengue-blocking mosquito released in Vietnam; bacteria could be key to fighting disease

11/05/2013
Nguyen Thi Yen rolls up the sleeves of her white lab coat and delicately slips her arms into a box covered by a sheath of mesh netting. Immediately, the feeding frenzy begins. Hundreds of mosquitoes light on her thin forearms and swarm her manicured fingers. They spit, bite and suck until ...

How societal, economic factors play into rise of drug-resistant bacteria (PBS NewsHour video)

11/03/2013
Has the age of antibiotics come to an end? New strains of bacteria are on the rise, landing normally healthy people in the hospital with life-threatening, drug-resistant infections. Ray Suarez talks to David Hoffman, the journalist who led the investigation for Frontline's "Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria."

Biochemists find incomplete protein digestion is a useful thing for some bacteria

11/03/2013
Usually indigestion is a bad thing, but experiments by researcher Peter Chien and graduate student Robert Vass at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently showed that for the bacteria Caulobacter crescentus, partial degradation of a DNA replication protein is required to keep it alive. DNA replication is one of the most ...

Bacteria 'eat rare earths'

11/03/2013
AS tensions escalate over a global shortage of rare earths, scientists have found new competitors for the precious minerals - bacteria. German biologists have found that bacteria in a volcanic Italian “mudpot” use rare earths to produce energy, and could not survive without them. It is thought to be the first time ...

Smells Like … An Armpit Infection?

11/03/2013
One man's irrepressible body odor was the result of a bacterial infection of his armpit hair, according to a new report of the case. The 40-year-old man told his doctors he'd had armpit odor and "dirty" armpit hair for the last four years. There was a "creamy yellow" substance on the man's ...

HIV vaccine clue found in structure of key infection protein

11/03/2013
Two new studies reveal how US scientists managed to uncover the detailed structure of a protein that plays a key role in HIV infection. The findings offer the kind of in-depth understanding that has been missing in the development of successful vaccines against the AIDS virus. Using protein engineering and two ...

Missing Nitrogen May Be Vanishing in the Tubes of Giant Bacteria

11/03/2013
Off the coast of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula lies a dark, still, deep place. It is called the Soledad Basin, and in it lies a garden of bacteria so large you can see them with your own eyes. A 250-m high ridge on the edge of the Soledad basin traps water inside. ...

Human decomposition: study maps internal bacteria

11/03/2013
We may not be so different from zombies when we die, after all. A new study analyzing bacterial communities involved in the decomposition of corpses illustrates how a cadaver becomes a living, thriving ecosystem for microorganisms. The study, published recently in PLOS ONE, reveals that the type of bacteria embroiled in ...

New flu virus found in Peruvian bats

11/02/2013
A brand new flu virus has been found in Peruvian bats, according to a new study from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus, called A/bat/Peru/10, belongs to a family of flu virusesknown as influenza A, which mainly infect birds, but can also infect other animals, including ...

Scientists 3-D Print Tiny Cages That Imprison Bacteria

11/02/2013
Scientists at The University of Texas at Austin have figured out how to make structures – like houses or cages – that are small enough to corral bacterial cells. The enclosures can be built in any shape and are 3-D printed using a modified laser, the team reported Oct. 7 ...

Malaria cases in US at highest count since 1971; nearly all cases brought in by travelers

10/31/2013
U.S. malaria cases are at their highest level in four decades, mostly from Americans bringing home an unwelcome souvenir from their travels. Malaria is not a big problem in the U.S. — there were only 1,925 cases in 2011, including five deaths. But cases were up 14 percent from the previous ...

Curbing antibiotics on farms taking too long: Our view (USA Today Editorial)

10/28/2013
Want to ensure that miracle drugs can no longer perform miracles? Then do what some physicians and industrial livestock farmers have done for years: Overprescribe antibiotics to people, and use them cavalierly in farm animals to promote growth or prevent infections before they even occur. Routine use of antibiotics makes some bacteria ...

Flu vaccine cuts risk of heart attack for some patients

10/28/2013
Getting a flu shot cuts the risk of having a heart attack or stroke by more than 50% in people who have had a heart attack, a new study shows. "We may have identified that the flu vaccine may also be a vaccine against heart attacks," says lead author Jacob Udell, ...

U.S. flu activity low, but Los Angeles confirms a women died

10/28/2013
U.S. influenza activity remains low, but Los Angeles County confirmed its first death -- a woman with an underlying medical condition, an official says. Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, director of public health and health officer, says the woman resided in the San Fernando Valley and the particular strain of influenza was ...

Equine gut bacteria probed in pilot study

10/27/2013
The gut bacteria in horses are being researched at the University of Pennsylvania, in a series of projects that scientists hope will ultimately benefit animal and human health. Researchers at the university’s School of Veterinary Medicine are leading five pilot projects as part of the wider initiative. They expect to gain insight ...

Bacteria work together to create energy from sunlight

10/27/2013
Bacteria, with their ability to grow, develop and sustain themselves in a variety of conditions, could be the miniature powerhouses that could drive us to a clean energy future. Researchers at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute are studying certain bacteria’s ability to produce electricity by coordinating their metabolic activities. They studied the ...

Scientists Re-Code Genome of E. Coli Bacterium

10/27/2013
Scientists from Harvard and Yale came together to achieve what was once thought impossible: to fundamentally transform the identity and properties of an organism by re-coding its genome. According to the study published this month in the journal Science, the scientists successfully developed a new genome for E. coli bacterium. By ...

Study: Panda immune system more resilient than previously understood

10/27/2013
New research shows giant pandas have a stronger immune system than previously known, because the panda immune system develops different antigens depending on where it lives. This genetic diversity is a natural defense against extinction, because it means a single pathogen cannot wipe out the entire population. The study shows pandas ...

Flu virus wipes out first wave of immune response

10/27/2013
The immune system has the capacity to "remember" particular viruses and store those details in B memory cells that reside in the lungs to help ward off future infections. But a new study shows the flu virus takes advantage of this and uses the way the memory cells store its ...

It’s in the Genes

10/27/2013
Scouring the genomes and body-wide microbial communities of 93 people, researchers have discovered a link between the composition of the microbiome and genetic variation in innate immunity, phagocyte function, and other immune pathways. The research was presented by University of Minnesota population geneticist Ran Blekhman today (October 24) at the ...

Profile: Dr. Michael Noble: a microbiologist with a passion for patient safety in lab testing

10/26/2013
Forty million lab tests are done in B.C. annually. Each and every one is an opportunity for human error leading to patient harm. In a bid to avert errors in collection, handling and analysis, a small team at the University of B.C. manufactures simulated specimens to send to labs across Canada. ...

Making Hydrogen Cheaply by Imitating Bacteria? Unique Chemistry in Hydrogen Catalysts Revealed

10/26/2013
Making hydrogen easily and cheaply is a dream goal for clean, sustainable energy. Bacteria have been doing exactly that for billions of years, and now chemists at the University of California, Davis, and Stanford University are revealing how they do it, and perhaps opening ways to imitate them. A study published ...

How bacteria with a sweet tooth may keep us healthy

10/26/2013
Some gut bacterial strains are specifically adapted to use sugars in our gut lining to aid colonisation, potentially giving them a major influence over our gut health. We live in a symbiotic relationship with trillions of bacteria in our gut. They help us digest food, prime our immune system and keep ...

Malaria vaccines: The long war

10/14/2013
On October 8th researchers announced progress in developing a vaccine against malaria. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a British pharmaceutical firm, said it would seek regulatory approval next year for this vaccine, called RTS,S. GSK and its charitable partner, the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, also revealed new data showing the vaccine’s effect in ...

No Viral Cause for Breast Cancer and Brain Tumors

10/14/2013
A major study conducted at the Sahlgrenska Academy has now disproved theories of a viral cause for breast cancer and the brain tumour, glioblastoma. The study, which was based on over seven billion DNA sequences and which is published in Nature Communications, found no genetic traces of viruses in these ...

No cases of MERS virus among haj pilgrims so far: ministry

10/14/2013
Saudi Arabia has so far recorded no cases of the deadly MERS coronavirus among pilgrims in the holy city of Mecca for the annual haj season, the Ministry of Health said on Saturday. The death toll from the respiratory virus in the kingdom, where the strain emerged last year, has reached ...

Human Microbiome May Be Seeded Before Birth

10/14/2013
We are each home to about 100 trillion bacteria, which we carry with us from birth till death. But when Juliette C. Madan was trained as a neonatologist in the mid-2000s, her teachers told her in no uncertain terms that we only acquire those bacteria after we are born. “It ...

What Is Vibrio Vulnificus? Flesh-Eating Salt Water Bacteria Infects 31 In Florida

10/13/2013
Florida health officials are encouraging the state’s residents not to be alarmed following another death from the flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio vulnificus. The rare bacteria that thrives in saltwater has killed 10 people in Florida this year, while 31 people in all have been infected with the bacteria there. According to ...

Colder Than Ice: Researchers Discover How Microbes Survive in Subfreezing Conditions

10/12/2013
Most microbial researchers grow their microbes in petri-dishes to study how they grow and how they respond to damaging conditions. But researchers in Louisiana State University’s Department of Biological Sciences are doing something almost unheard of: studying microbes under freezing conditions to understand how organisms could survive for hundreds of ...

Third Tampa Bay Buccaneers Player Contracts MRSA

10/12/2013
A third player on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team has been diagnosed with an infection of the highly antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as MRSA, team officials said today. The third infected player was not identified, but two teammates, Carl Nicks and Lawrence Tynes, were diagnosed in August with infections of Methicillin-resistant ...

Creating a permanent bacteria barrier

10/12/2013
Any medical device implanted in the body attracts bacteria, proteins, and other microbes to its surface, causing infections and thrombosis (blood clotting) that lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths annually. Devices can be coated with antibiotics, blood thinners, and other agents — but these eventually dissolve, limiting their longevity ...

How bacteria in your gut affect your mental health

10/12/2013
Scientists searching for the underlying causes of mental illness have discovered a surprising contributor — it appears the bacteria that live in your gut may play a major role in your mental health and well-being. CBC Radio science columnist Torah Kachur spoke to researchers such as Karen Madsen at the University ...

Who's Afraid of Peer Review?

10/08/2013
On 4 July, good news arrived in the inbox of Ocorrafoo Cobange, a biologist at the Wassee Institute of Medicine in Asmara. It was the official letter of acceptance for a paper he had submitted 2 months earlier to the Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals, describing the anticancer properties of a ...

Scientists Are Pitting Bacteria Against Each Other in 3D-Printed Cages

10/08/2013
The most important zoos of the future might not house endangered lions or tigers. Instead, they could hold disease-causing bacteria. Scientists at the University of Texas have begun 3D printing microscopic habitats to study bacterial communities. They say the tiny "cages" are better at reproducing the microbial environments of the ...

Antarctica's extreme salt-loving microbes like to swap DNA

10/06/2013
Microbes living in Antarctica's saltiest lake swap huge chunks of genetic material as a means of surviving their harsh environment, a new study finds. The single-celled organisms, called haloarchaea for their salt-loving ways, are biologically distinct from bacteria, algae and other tiny creatures that can thrive in extreme settings. Their Antarctic home ...

Liquid soap in public toilets may be covering you in bacteria

10/06/2013
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 ...

AIDS virus in cats might help human vaccine effort

10/06/2013
Cats may hold a key to developing an HIV vaccine for people, a new study suggests. Researchers found that a protein from the virus that causes AIDS in cats triggered an immune response in blood from HIV-infected people. The virus that causes AIDS in people is called the human immunodeficiency virus ...

The Government Shuts Down And The Microbes Win

10/06/2013
The shutdown of the US government has many repercussions that are almost immeasurable and hit US citizens from every direction. But a quartet of them stands out for their potential to pose a threat to public health because they’ll allow microbes to gain footholds as our defenses against them falter. First, ...

Oral Bacteria Found in Alzheimer’s Tissue

10/05/2013
A particular type of oral bacteria has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study conducted by an international team of researchers. They believe that the bacterium found in the brain can trigger immune system responses and pathological changes, which could lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s. For the study, ...

Rare seawater 'flesh-eating' bacteria kills 35 a year

10/05/2013
The death last week of a Florida man from an uncommon flesh-eating bacterium was the state's ninth so far this year. The bacterium is in the same family as those that cause cholera. Henry Konietzky, 59, of Palm Coast, Fla., died Sept. 23 after setting crab traps two days earlier in the ...

'Facts' of C. Diff Transmission Challenged

09/30/2013
A sophisticated genetic analysis of Clostridium difficile cases is challenging the conventional wisdom that symptomatic patients are responsible for most transmission in hospitals. Whole-genome sequencing of C. difficile isolates from more than 1,200 patients found that only 35% were related to a previous case in a large, four-hospital study, according to ...

Government Shutdown Would Halt Seasonal Influenza Program

09/30/2013
If the government shuts down in the absence of a budget agreement, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be unable to support its seasonal influenza program that monitors the spread of flu, the Obama administration has announced. The program is part of a series of initiatives that the ...

Mystery Disease Killing Ohio Dogs

09/29/2013
Veterinarians, health officials and dog owners are alarmed by the mysterious recent deaths of four dogs in Ohio. Some experts suspect the dogs may have died a few days after exposure to a virus that's normally found in pigs. Three dogs in the Cincinnati area and a fourth dog near Akron ...

New Hepatitis Virus was False Alarm, Likely a Lab Contaminant

09/29/2013
The report by scientists of a new hepatitis virus earlier this year was a false alarm, according to UC San Francisco researchers who correctly identified the virus as a contaminant present in a type of glassware used in many research labs. Their finding, they said, highlights both the promise and peril ...

NIH Launches Microbiome Cloud Project

09/29/2013
The National Institutes of Health has launched the first phase of the Microbiome Cloud Project, or MCP, a collaborative project with Amazon Web Services that aims to improve access to and analysis of data from the Human Microbiome Project. In this phase, five terabytes of genetic information from human microbes have ...

A Virus on the Camera Roll

09/28/2013
Smartphone cameras are getting better and better. But how about one that can photograph a single virus? It won't come with the latest iPhones, but it does exist thanks to electrical engineer Aydogan Ozcan and his team at the University of California, Los Angeles. Using 3-D printing, they've created a portable ...

Model to Study Human Response to Bacteria That Cause Peptic Ulcers Developed

09/28/2013
Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech have developed a new large animal model to study how the immune system interacts with the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori, the leading cause of peptic ulcer disease. The discovery in the October edition of the journal Infection and Immunity may inform changes ...

In Life, Man Immune To HIV Helped Scientists Fight Virus

09/22/2013
Stephen Crohn, a man best known for staying alive during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, died Aug. 23 at age 66. Throughout his lifetime, the New York artist helped researchers uncover vital clues about HIV and how to stop it. Crohn's partner was one of the first people to ...

Antibiotics Driving Resistant Bacteria In Urban Sewers

09/22/2013
A new study from Chicago-based researchers has found that a confluence of sewage overflows and widespread antibiotic use is causing the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in waterways around the Windy City. Recently published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, the study looked at the antibiotic triclosan, which is in about ...

New Spray Ends Ride for Microbes

09/22/2013
When you peer through the smear on the screen of your smartphone, thousands of tiny microbes are staring back at you, waiting to hitch a ride on your fingertips. Harmful microbes lurk everywhere — doorknobs and faucets, locker rooms and hospitals. It's enough to make a germophobe afraid to touch anything. A ...

Life on Mars? Well, Maybe Not

09/22/2013
In findings that are as scientifically significant as they are crushing to the popular imagination, NASA reported Thursday that its Mars rover, Curiosity, has deflated hopes that life could be thriving on Mars today. The conclusion, published in the journal Science, comes from the fact that Curiosity has been looking for ...

Bring Back the Lyme Vaccine (op/ed)

09/21/2013
In August 2005 my son Alec, then 39 years old, collapsed into unconsciousness while walking his dog in the suburbs of Philadelphia. By the time he arrived at the hospital, his heart rate had slowed to 30 beats per minute. Fortunately, an experienced physician recognized that Alec was having a ...

Lanthanide munching bacteria found in volcanoes

09/21/2013
Scientists in the Netherlands have obtained the first evidence of a lifeform dependant on rare earth metals. The work may lead to the discovery of other previously unknown lifeforms and could advance rare earth bio-mining. We use lanthanides every day as the red colour in our televisions, to reduce emissions from ...

When bacteria fight back

09/21/2013
Q&A with Dr. David Hooper on the rising threat from drug-resistant microbes.

3 germs are urgent threats to USA's health, CDC says

09/16/2013
The overuse of antibiotics has caused three kinds of bacteria, including one that causes life-threatening diarrhea, one that causes bloodstream infections and one that transmits sexually, to become urgent threats to human health in the United States, federal health officials say in a landmark report out Monday. The report from the ...

Vaccine seems to clear AIDS-causing virus from monkeys, scientists say

09/16/2013
A promising HIV vaccine developed by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University eradicated the virus that causes AIDS in monkeys, and scientists hope something similar can soon be tested on humans. AIDS in non-human primates is caused by simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV, which is similar to HIV but up ...

Soil microbiology guides fertiliser use

09/16/2013
In an effort to help improve fertiliser application and timing in agricultural farming, researchers have set out to discover what environmental factors affect the microorganisms in soil and what influence these microorganisms have on nitrification rates. CSIRO’s Cathryn O’Sullivan says the research highlights soil factors for fertiliser timing so that farmers ...

Siemens recalls microbiology testing panels: FDA

09/16/2013
Germany's Siemens recalled 78,020 microbiology testing panels in the United States as they are reporting false results, U.S. health regulators said. The defect found in certain MicroScan panels may lead to treatment of patients with inappropriate antibiotics or to a delay in the therapy they need, the U.S. Food and Drug ...

Shingles Vaccine Coverage Remains Low

09/15/2013
Vaccination for shingles was around 16% in 2011 among those at the greatest risk for the disease, researchers reported here. Although rates of vaccination against the herpes zoster virus among patients 60 and older grew more than 2.5-fold from 2008 to 2011 (OR 2.62, 95% CI 2.25-3.04), the proportion of patients ...

Older Adults at Risk for Whooping Cough

09/15/2013
Whooping cough among adults 50 or older is much more common than generally thought, and the incidence appears to be rising, a researcher said here. A mathematical model based on medical practice and laboratory databases suggested that pertussis among adults ages 50 through 64 more than doubled over a 5-year period, ...

Some Uses of Bacteria

09/15/2013
Bacteria are very in these days—in probiotic drinks, in news articles, and in scientific research about the connections between healthy microbes and healthy bodies. A growing chorus of post-pasteurian voices are advocating for a new relationship with microbes, one where bacteria are respected and diverse ecosystems valued over sterile surfaces. In ...

Japan producing vaccine against H7N9 bird flu

09/03/2013
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare announced on Monday that it will pursue the production of vaccine against the H7N9 avian flu virus that is still spreading across China. The ministry aims to develop the vaccine as soon as possible before the virus mutates and imposes further risk to ...

Some flu vaccines promise a little more protection

09/03/2013
Flu vaccination is no longer merely a choice between a jab in the arm or a squirt in the nose. This fall, some brands promise a little extra protection. For the first time, certain vaccines will guard against four strains of flu rather than the usual three. Called quadrivalent vaccines, these ...

Cracking bacteria's secrets may lead to new treatments

09/02/2013
Scientists have found another chink in bacteria's armour, mapping for the first time the structure of a protein that plays an important role helping infection gain a foothold in the body. Published today in Nature a group of international scientists from Monash University, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Georgia ...

Bacteria Supplemented Their Diet to Clean Up After Deep Water Horizon Oil

09/01/2013
Bacteria living in the Gulf of Mexico beaches were able to 'eat up' the contamination from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill by supplementing their diet with nitrogen, delegates at the Goldschmidt conference will be told today, Friday 30th August. Professor Joel Kostka will tell geochemists gathered in Florence for the ...

Infrared light used to outwit sneaky, deadly bacteria

09/01/2013
Researchers have devised a way to turn the tables on a sneaky strain of bacteria that can cause life-threatening diseases, based on a technique using infrared light. Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna said the technique lets them differentiate strains that can cause chronic infections and those that ...

Dueling Infections: Parasitic Worms Limit the Effects of Giardia, and Vice Versa

09/01/2013
If the idea of hookworms makes you shudder, consider this: Those pesky intestinal parasites may actually help your body ward off other infections, and perhaps even prevent autoimmune and other diseases. Studying members of the Tsimane, an indigenous population in the lowlands of Central Bolivia, UC Santa Barbara anthropologists Aaron Blackwell ...

Oral Infections Causing More Hospitalizations

09/01/2013
Left untreated, a serious tooth abscess can eventually kill. In 2007, Deamonte Driver, a 12-year-old boy in Maryland, died after bacteria from an abscessed tooth spread to his brain. The case drew widespread media attention, and his is the cautionary tale cited whenever politicians and advocates discuss access to oral health ...

Gut bacteria 'too low' in quarter of population

08/31/2013
Scientists say that around a quarter of the population, particularly those who are obese, have 40% less intestinal bacteria than needed to maintain good health, according to a study published in the journal Nature. Researchers from Europe conducted a genetic analysis on human gut microbial composition on 292 people from Denmark. ...

Deep microbes live long and slow

08/31/2013
A diverse range of life forms exists deep below Earth's surface, scientists have concluded, but they survive at an incredibly slow pace. Long-lived bacteria, reproducing only once every 10,000 years, have been found in rocks 2.5km (1.5 miles) below the ocean floor that are as much as 100 million years old. Viruses ...

Staying Healthy Takes Guts Full of Microbes (podcast)

08/31/2013
Everywhere you go, the trillions of microbes in your gut go too. And that's a comforting thought. Because according to a new study, a more diverse population of intestinal bacteria is linked to better health. The work is in the journal Nature. [Emmanuelle Le Chatelier et al, Richness of human ...

Greater Array of Gut Bugs Points to Metabolic Health

08/30/2013
People who have less diversity in their intestinal microbiomes tend to be heavier and have more inflammation and metabolic dysfunction than those who have a more robust portfolio of gut bacteria, researchers found. In an analysis of data from the European consortium MetaHIT, about a quarter of Danish patients had little ...

Immune System, Skin Microbiome 'Complement' One Another

08/28/2013
Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania demonstrate for the first time that the immune system influences the skin microbiome. A new study found that the skin microbiome -- a collection of microorganisms inhabiting the human body -- is governed, at least in part, by ...

Why aren't there more cancer vaccines? (opinion)

08/27/2013
Six years from now, when my daughter turns 11, she will get a three-part human papillomavirus vaccine that will reduce her chances of getting cervical cancer by about 70 percent. Currently a little over half of American girls get the HPV vaccine, a public health intervention that will prevent tens ...

Innovative vaccine in trial for advanced ovarian cancer

08/26/2013
A clinical trial of an innovative vaccine is occurring. The vaccine could offer hope to patients with advanced ovarian cancer. The vaccine, which is derived from the patient's tumor cells, is designed to jumpstart the patient's immune system to attack and kill cancer cells. Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause ...

China bird flu analysis finds more virus threats lurking

08/25/2013
A deadly new bird flu virus in China evolved from migratory birds via waterfowl to poultry and into people, and there are other bird flu viruses circulating that could follow the same path, scientists have found. The study - an analysis of the evolutionary history of the H7N9 bird flu that ...

The Latest Clean Energy Cocktail: Bacteria And Fungus

08/25/2013
By throwing together a common fungus and a common bacteria, researchers are producing isobutanol — a biofuel that gallon-for-gallon delivers 82 percent of gasoline’s heat energy. The more common ethanol, by contrast, only gets 67 percent of gasoline’s energy, and does more damage to pipelines and engines. And the University ...

How Hormones and Microbes Drive the Gender Bias in Autoimmune Diseases

08/25/2013
Females can mount more powerful immune responses than males, but the flip side of this enhanced protection against infections is a greater risk for autoimmune disorders. Shedding light on the underlying causes of the gender bias in autoimmune diseases, a study published by Cell Press August 22nd in the journal ...

Study finds that microbes influence B-cell development in the gut

08/25/2013
Gut bacteria exert a dramatic, systemic effect on the development of the immune system's B-lymphocytes, according to a new mouse study by researchers at Boston Children's Hospital. While influences of gut bacteria on T-lymphocytes have been noted before, this is the first time that researchers have documented early B-cell development ...

New test system identifies 193 different yeasts and bacteria known to cause illness (FDA Press Release)

08/24/2013
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today allowed marketing in the U.S. of the first mass spectrometer system for automated identification of bacteria and yeasts that are known to cause serious illness in humans. The VITEK MS can identify 193 different microorganisms and can perform up to 192 different tests ...

Quest For The Missing Bacteria

08/24/2013
A Michigan State University scientist will use a $1.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (United Kingdom) to solve the mystery of the missing bacteria. The bacteria, discovered in a German charcoal pit in the 1990s, is a unique organism that could ...

Doctors Fined for Implanting Fecal Bacteria into Patients’ Brains

08/23/2013
A hospital was fined after a pair of neurosurgeons implanted fecal bacteria into the brains of patients during operations without proper authorization. A few things jump out at us here. 1) They did WHAT!?! 2) There’s proper authorization for putting poop in people’s brains!?! 3) Ewwwwwww. The doctors work at the ...

Can bacteria use pain to tamp down the immune system?

08/23/2013
Nothing gets our attention like pain. But pain is more than the body’s miniature cattle prod to get us to heed a wound, rest a swollen ankle, or stop eating chili peppers. Pain may be the language between animals and microbes. Far from being a product of an inflamed immune system, aggravated ...

Arab revolutions: Ignoring a potential catastrophe

08/23/2013
Recent conflicts in Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, and elsewhere in the Middle East may have sufficiently destabilised national and international public health control measures to a point where several tropical diseases have either emerged and are sickening large populations in the region. The most dramatic example is currently ...

A Salmonella Warning for Vegetarians

08/19/2013
Contaminated meat and poultry are the usual suspects in salmonella food poisoning, and increasingly the bacteria is cropping up in produce. Now scientists have traced a large outbreak of salmonella to an unusual source: tempeh, the popular meat substitute. The outbreak sickened nearly 100 people in five states last year, including ...

Marine nematodes have a microbiome too

08/19/2013
By now you’re probably aware that your entire skin surface (and every orafice) is swarming with millions of microbes. The human microbiome is pretty sexy science these days, but we’re not the only species that hosts our own customized microbial communities. A LOT of marine species have microbiomes too, and this ...

Sharks are overrated, lets talk about their microbiome (blog post)

08/19/2013
Yes, like humans (all other animals on Earth), sharks have a gut microbiome too. Everyone’s just been way too busy talking about all that Megalodon crap to think about this *real* and much cooler science. There is a diverse and abundant gut microbiome associated with finfish, sharks, and blue crabs. These ...

Real-Time Mass Spectrometry On Living Microbes

08/18/2013
Microbes are tiny synthetic masters, producing molecules that have led to many important drugs. Chemists want new ways to sift through the compounds produced by microbes to find the next big drug lead. Now, scientists report a mass spectrometry technique that allows them to monitor molecules produced by living microorganisms ...

Bollux Bacteria Biofilm Formation to Prevent Disease (podcast)

08/18/2013
In labs, bacteria may swim freely. But out in the world, including our bodies, bacteria often exist packed together in dense communities called biofilms. And these configurations can help them cause illness. Finding clues about how such bacteria group together could therefore lead to better therapies to prevent infections and ...

Antibiotic Use in Chickens: Responsible for Hundreds of Human Deaths?

08/17/2013
In the long back and forth between science and agriculture over the source of antibiotic resistance in humans — Due to antibiotic overuse on farms, or in human medicine? — one question has been stubbornly hard to answer. If antibiotic-resistant bacteria do arise on farms, do they leave the farm ...

How a virus spreads from animals to humans

08/17/2013
On June 24, 2012, a 60-year-old Saudi man died from severe pneumonia complicated by renal failure. He had arrived at a hospital in Jiddah 11 days earlier, and some of his symptoms were similar to those in severe cases of influenza or SARS, but this wasn't either of those diseases. This ...

Snakeheads in Potomac contract virus that threatens largemouth bass

08/17/2013
Northern snakeheads in the Potomac River have apparently contracted a virus that is known to cause massive kills among largemouth bass, the U.S. Geological Survey announced Tuesday. But that doesn’t mean the pathogen, known as largemouth bass virus, will negatively affect snakeheads, an invasive, predatory fish species from Asia. Snakeheads pulled ...

One Day We’ll Light Our Homes With Bacteria

08/17/2013
A team of undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin are attempting to shine light on the problem of electricity-gobbling bulbs by creating a light source that doesn’t require an electric input at all. Genetically engineered E. coli housed within a bulb-like casing can produce bioluminescence, the student think, creating ...

The Snot-Tunneling Bacteria Duo That Can Help Save the Oceans from Climate Change

08/17/2013
Symbiotic relationships between species are a popular evolutionary strategy, a reality anyone with a dog can verify. But the bacterial strains Thioploca and Anammox are taking it to a whole other level: in exchange for being Thioploca's toilet, Anammox gets to ride its elevator-like “sulfer braids” for free. It's among ...

Bird flu researchers want to create deadly virus in lab

08/11/2013
Researchers said Wednesday they want to create a lab version of a deadly emerging bird flu in order to study a strain that might be more infectious to people. Responding to past concerns about such research, the U.S. government said it will require extra safety measures. The H7N9 bird flu virus ...

A Better Sunscreen From Bacteria? Scientists Find A Pigment That Absorbs UV Light

08/11/2013
Sunscreen has protected millions from cancer in the last few decades since its introduction. With innovations, including water-resistant and spray types, the adoption of sunscreen has reached new heights. But recent reports that the chemicals in sunscreen can themselves turn into cancer-causing carcinogens has many worried about the future of ...

Minn. firm's new water filter: bacteria

08/11/2013
A rural Minnesota water company is experimenting with a new way of treating drinking water -- using bacteria to remove the harmful pollutants. The Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water System has been using expensive reverse osmosis to clean nitrates and nitrites from its well water. But bacteria occur naturally in the water ...
08/11/2013
Some Saudis are worried that the link between the MERS virus and camels is not clear and that it could affect their livelihood as sellers of camel milk. Yet the connection between Omani camels and a MERS-like virus has brought attention to the potential hazards of purchasing camel milk that has ...

Piscine reovirus—a salmon virus fresh from Norway

08/11/2013
From the Department of Wild Salmon: Over 90 percent of B.C. farmed salmon are testing positive for a recently imported Norwegian virus that causes lesions in the hearts of salmon. Should we be concerned about its effects on wild salmon, one of B.C.’s most valuable natural resources? So we have it, ...

How Many Microbes Are Hiding Among Us?

08/11/2013
Microbes are everywhere—even inside us. But because so many of these bugs won't grow in the lab, scientists have had a tough time figuring out just who they are and how they live. That may soon change. By sequencing the DNA in individual cells, researchers have gotten to know 200 ...

How To Rid The Developing World Of Deadly Bacteria? Steam

08/10/2013
By making water boil at much lower temperatures, scientists are using steam generated by the sun as a way sanitize things in places where unclean conditions often lead to disease and death. Up to 2.5 billion people lack access to proper sanitation. They use "flying toilets" to dispose of excrement, do ...

Why bacteria ditch nose to go cause trouble

08/10/2013
Scientists have identified triggers that turn Streptococcus pneumoniae from harmless colonizer to virulent pathogen. The bacteria harmlessly colonize the mucous linings of throats and noses in most people, only becoming virulent when they leave those comfortable surroundings and enter the middle ears, lungs, or bloodstream. “We were asking, what is the mechanism ...

Gilbert, Tempe participate in national microbe-swabbing project

08/05/2013
A recent national STEM related event hosted in Tempe last Saturday combined a few components that may appear mismatched at first glance, but are much more logical when given a steadier second look. The event — held at the Arizona Cardinals' training facility on July 20 — featured members of the ...

New Microbe Strain Makes Diesel Fuel from Greenhouse Gas

08/05/2013
A possible way to harvest and use atmospheric carbon dioxide to make high performance diesel fuel has been proposed by a team of scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) who have engineered a microbe now being used to produce biodegradable plastic into a strain ...

Mechanism that allows bacteria to infect plants may inspire cure for eye disease

08/04/2013
By borrowing a tool from bacteria that infect plants, scientists have developed a new approach to eliminate mutated DNA inside mitochondria—the energy factories within cells. Doctors might someday use the approach to treat a variety of mitochondrial diseases, including the degenerative eye disease Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON). The research, ...

Drug works better if cancer can’t sleep

08/04/2013
Keeping cancer cells from entering a state of cellular sleep makes cancer drugs more effective and lowers the chance of cancer recurrence, report researchers. The findings, which will be published in the August 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research and are available online, are the first to show that it ...

More Healthcare Workers Hit by MERS

08/04/2013
Three new cases of infection with the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) -- including two more healthcare workers -- have been reported in Saudi Arabia. The two healthcare workers, both women, have mild symptoms after exposure to patients who had laboratory-confirmed MERS, the World Health Organization reported. The agency did not ...

Bacteria Hold the Clues to Trade-Offs in Financial Investments and Evolution

08/04/2013
Scientists have found that bacteria have the potential to teach valuable investment lessons. The research, published in the journal Ecology Letters, takes advantage of the fact that bacteria, like humans, have limited resources and are constantly faced with investment decisions. Bacteria though are successful with their investments and have colonised every inch ...

Colonies of Growing Bacteria Make Psychedelic Art

08/04/2013
In the early 1990s, Eshel Ben-Jacob, a biological physicist at Tel Aviv University, and his colleagues discovered two new species of bacteria—Paenibacillus dendritiformis and Paenibacillus vortex. Both strains of soil bacteria, the species live near the roots of plants. Each bacterium is only a few microns in size, and they divide ...

UTSA scientists teach the teachers at microbiology summer camp

08/04/2013
Last week, nine local high school teachers on the UTSA Main Campus polished up their understanding of microbiology with morning laboratories such as Introduction to Microscopy Techniques, Introduction to PCR and Electrophoresis, and Subculture and Differentiation of Microorganisms. In the afternoon, the teachers sat in on topics such as Cell Wall ...

USDA reviews whether bacteria-killing chemicals are masking salmonella

08/04/2013
The Agriculture Department is reviewing research showing that new bacteria-killing chemicals used in chicken slaughterhouses may be masking the presence of salmonella and other pathogens that remain on the birds that consumers buy, according to records and interviews. Academic researchers agree that the chemicals could be overwhelming an antiquated testing process. ...

Alien Life Hunt Looks to Earth's Underground Microbes

08/03/2013
Hundreds of millions of miles away on Mars, NASA's Curiosity rover is looking for clues that a suitable environment for life might once have existed on our desolate neighboring planet. Curiosity can only scratch the surface, since its drill penetrates mere centimeters below the ground. Even if the rover's scientific instruments ...

New antibiotic that attacks MRSA found in ocean microbe

08/03/2013
A completely new and unusual antibiotic compound has been extracted from a marine microorganism found in sediments off the coast of California. The discovery of genuinely novel antibiotics is rare, and experts say resistance to the drugs poses a grave threat to human health. US scientists say the new compound, called anthracimycin, ...
07/31/2013
Bacteria linked to gum disease traveled to the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting that dental hygiene plays a role in the development of the memory-robbing illness, British researchers said. Signs of the bacterium, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, were found in four out of 10 samples of brain tissue from ...

Purple bacteria on Earth could survive alien light

07/28/2013
Purple bacteria contain pigments that allow them to use sunlight as their source of energy, hence their color. Small as they are, these microbes can teach us a lot about life on Earth, because they have been around longer than most other organisms on the planet. University of Miami (UM) ...

Seeking solutions to viral migration

07/28/2013
Although seldom fatal, persistent infection by chikungunya virus (CHIKV) afflicts patients with joint pain lasting months or even years. This insect-borne virus has received relatively little scientific attention in the 50 years since its initial description in African patients, but researchers in Singapore have now uncovered a host protein that ...

Hope for Hep C cure no excuse for risk-taking, expert warns

07/28/2013
Professor Geoff McCaughan, head of the Liver Immunobiology Program at Sydney's Centenary Research Institute, says preliminary results of a newly developed oral treatment regime for liver transplant patients with Hepatitis C were showing promising results. "We are starting to see some dramatic responses with these drugs," says Professor McCaughan, who also ...

Copper nanoparticles protect food from bacteria

07/28/2013
Scientists have proposed adding copper nano-particles into food packaging materials on this basis that this could help prevent a variety of foodborne diseases. It has been known for centuries that copper has antimicrobial properties. For example, it was observed in Roman times that water contained in copper vessels or transported in ...

Lab-work without a lab: culturing bacteria in rural areas with limited resources

07/28/2013
In order to isolate, study and efficiently treat a bacterial outbreak, it is vital to be able to grow, store and identify the particular strains of bacteria that cause the disease. While this can be a fairly simple task in a well stocked laboratory, it’s a lot harder to achieve ...

Condoms May Boost Beneficial Vaginal Bacteria

07/27/2013
In addition to preventing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, condoms may help good bacteria in the vagina flourish, a new study from China shows. Sexually active women in the study who used condoms had larger colonies of beneficial microbes in their vaginas compared with women who used ...

Bacteria May Play Role In Pancreatic Cancer

07/27/2013
Bacterial infections may play a role in triggering pancreatic cancer, according to recent research. A growing number of studies suggest a role for infections --primarily of the stomach and gums -- in pancreatic cancer. The disease is a particularly deadly cancer, which the American Cancer Society estimates will kill nearly 38,500 ...

Burrowing bacteria may end need to fertilise plants

07/27/2013
You may never need to put fertiliser on your plants again. Scientists have invented a technology that allows plants to fertilise themselves by obtaining nitrogen from the air. Almost all plants rely on nitrogen from the soil to grow, but few are able to use it directly from the air and so ...

How to Survive as a Biofuel Maker: Sell Algae to Bakers [Slide Show]

07/27/2013
The ice cream and caramels are delicious, but it's the brioche that really convinces you eating algae could be a winning idea. The oily, yellow, flour-like residue of wrung out algae—dubbed "algalin" by its marketers—can easily replace the butter and eggs in prototypical French pastry bread. Even on its own, the ...

Staying Healthy May Mean Learning To Love Our Microbiomes

07/22/2013
Not so long ago, most people thought that the only good microbe was a dead microbe. But then scientists started to realize that even though some bugs can make us sick and even kill us, most don't. In fact, in the past decade attitudes about the bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microbes ...

Antibiotic Ocean Microbe Could Be An Anthrax Killer

07/21/2013
Scientists writing in the journal Angewandte Chemie say they have discovered a new chemical compound from an ocean microbe that could open up new treatments for anthrax and other ailments. The team collected a microorganism that produced the compound close to shore off Santa Barbara, California. Initial testing of the compound, ...

Ocean Microbes Feel a Warming Climate’s Effects

07/21/2013
Climate change could be about to alter life in the sea, according to new research in Nature Geoscience. Researchers at the University of Southern California have been experimenting with common microbes, hoping to predict which will flourish in a warmer and more carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere. The microbes are two genera of cyanobacteria. ...

Plague Inc - a game where you evolve microbes to create a global plague

07/21/2013
Plague Inc is not just a game, it is a threat to all life forms on earth and must be taken seriously. It’s a strategic simulation game that makes you feel like the whiz kid Matthew Broderick portrayed in the movie War Games. The difference is that in Plague Inc ...

Gut microbes get first dibs on heart meds

07/21/2013
The next time you pop a pill, know that the microbes in your gut might get to it before you do. Some people harbor a strain of bacteria that inactivates a common cardiac drug, a finding that could explain why people have different reactions to some medications. “Microbes have long been ...

Flagellum failure lets bacteria turn

07/21/2013
When headed the wrong way, some bacteria turn by letting their propellers flop. The newly discovered turning mechanism explains how a marine bacterium can control its direction using only a single flagellum, a stiff, rotating appendage that propels the cell forward. Turning depends on a mechanical characteristic that engineers might consider ...

The Cheaper, Bacteria-Derived Future of Drugs

07/21/2013
The world is in dire need of cheap drugs to combat malaria. Malaria may seem like a disease from the distant past, but world-wide, it still exacts a large toll. Even worse, today’s malaria parasites are often resistant to the standard anti-malarial drugs. Newer and more effective drugs exist, but ...

Nasa's Astrobiology Summer Academy To Help UK Pupils Learn About Origins Of Life

07/21/2013
High school pupils from across the UK are to send their minds out of this world as they take part in the first Astrobiology Summer Academy with Nasa. Fifteen teenagers aged between 16 and 18 will learn from the latest research about the origins and limits of life during the course ...

Hudson River teeming with Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria due to Untreated Sewage Water

07/21/2013
Jumping into the Hudson River to escape the unbearable heat could give you a nasty infection. A team of researchers have now found strains of the deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria thriving in the river, especially from the Tappan Zee Bridge to lower Manhattan. The microbes that researchers found were positive to common ...

Infectious Disease Diagnosis: New Guideline on Lab Tests

07/21/2013
Microbiological diagnoses based on laboratory testing directly affect patient care and outcomes, including hospital infection control, duration of hospitalization, and laboratory efficiency, according to new guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the American Society for Microbiology. The new recommendations, which address appropriate and accurate use of laboratory ...

Potential for MERS Coronavirus to Spread Internationally

07/20/2013
The life-threatening MERS coronavirus that has emerged in the Middle East could spread faster and wider during two international mass gatherings involving millions of people in the next few months, according to researchers who describe the most likely pathways of international spread based upon worldwide patterns of air travel. Researchers led ...

Farmers’ Market Chickens Higher in Bacteria

07/20/2013
That chicken you bought at the farmers’ market may not be as healthful as you thought. Researchers in Pennsylvania bought 100 whole chickens from grocery stores, half of which were organic, and 100 from farmers’ markets and tested them for the presence of Salmonella and Campylobacter, two species of bacteria that ...

Clever microbes: bacterial sensors and signals

07/01/2013
Exploring signalling systems is often a multidisciplinary process, requiring genetic research, mathematical modelling and evolutionary biology. A recent paper looking at the bacterial phage shock response uses all of these approaches to build up a picture of the complete signalling system. The phage shock response system is used by bacteria to ...

Bacteria Grown in Space Is Thicker and Stronger Than on Earth

07/01/2013
When/if humans ever colonize Mars, or any other far off planet in the future, we’ll have to put up with super powered mutant bacteria, according to new NASA research. The data was collected by astronaut crews aboard the Atlantis shuttle, who grew colonies of bacteria—also known as biofilms—for the purpose ...

Green Alga Found to Prey on Bacteria, Bolstering Endosymbiotic Theory

07/01/2013
A green alga with throat- and stomach-like structures can swallow and digest bacteria when deprived of light, further bolstering Lynn Margulis’s widely accepted idea that the origin of the plant-powering chloroplast was a fortuitous bout of indigestion. Termed “Endosymbiotic Theory“, the idea is that early nucleated cells called eukaryotes ate bacteria ...

Bacterial communities swarm into gorgeous works of art

07/01/2013
This is a picture of a bacterial community, taken by Eshel Ben-Jacob, who thinks bacteria are both the key to understanding complex biological systems and a source of incredible art. These bacteria, discovered by Ben-Jacob's research team, self-organize into intricate and beautiful systems. Bacteria are generally pictures swimming around by themselves, ...

Is That Bacteria Dead Yet? Nano and Laser Technology Packed Into Small Device Tests Antibiotic Treatment in Minutes

07/01/2013
Researchers at EPFL have built a matchbox-sized device that can test for the presence of bacteria in a couple of minutes, instead of up to several weeks. A nano-lever vibrates in the presence of bacterial activity, while a laser reads the vibration and translates it into an electrical signal that ...

Creating bacterial synergy

06/30/2013
A Winnipeg agricultural biotechnology company that has been selling chemical-free seed inoculants for peas, lentils and soybeans in the U.S. for a couple of years now has regulatory approval to sell in Canada. Manas Banerjee, the CEO and founder of XiteBio Technologies Inc. is excited about the opportunities to sell what ...

High-Octane Biofuels In The Near-Future? New Lines Of Engineered Bacteria Bring The Goal Closer

06/30/2013
High-octane biofuels — produced with the aid of newly created lines of engineered bacteria — may be in the near future thanks to new research from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. These new lines of engineered ...

Climate Change May Radically Transform Desert Bacteria

06/27/2013
Climate change may transform the community of microbes that forms the crucial top layer of soil, known as a biocrust, in deserts throughout the United States, new research suggests. The study, published today (June 27) in the journal Science, found that one type of bacteria dominates in warm climates, whereas another ...

Fear of Komodo dragon bacteria wrapped in myth

06/26/2013
A team led by a University of Queensland researcher has proven that the fearsome Komodo dragon is a victim of bad press. It has long been believed that Komodo dragon bites were fatal because of toxic bacteria in the reptiles' mouths. But ground-breaking research by The University of Queensland's Associate Professor Bryan ...

Kill Mosquito Larvae with Purchased Bacteria

06/26/2013
West Nile virus monitoring programs started detecting this year’s first batch of disease-carrying mosquitoes and infected birds earlier this month in Illinois, California, Tennessee and other states. Forecasting how many people may catch the disease presents a challenge for officials, according to the Centers for Disease Control, because many local ...

Platelets help kill bacteria, too

06/23/2013
The clotting of blood, crucial to wound healing, is carried out by cell fragments called platelets. This is the most established function of platelets, but studies in recent years have begun to hint that platelets may have other important roles in our immune system — like fighting infection. Now, scientists from ...

Vibativ For Bacterial Pneumonia Approved By FDA

06/23/2013
Vibativ (telavancin) has been approved by the FDA to treat HABP/VABP (hospital-acquired ventilator-associated bacterial pneumonia) caused by Staphylococcus aureus. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) added that telavancin should only be used when other treatments are not appropriate. Telavancin is a bactericidal lipoglycopeptide for use in MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) or ...

Good' bacteria can battle 'bad' bacteria in eye infections

06/23/2013
Scientists have found a novel way to attack the drug resistant bacteria that cause eye infections resulting in blindness. The study led by Daniel Kadouri, an assistant professor of oral biology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey had three major components. The first established that isolates of ...

National Parks Raise Guard Against Virus

06/23/2013
David Breskin was in line for the breakfast buffet at the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park this week when he noticed something unusual: hotel employees in gloves were handing out plates and serving eggs and French toast. When Mr. Breskin asked what was going on, an employee said, “Oh, ...

CDC prepares for potential outbreak of deadly MERS virus

06/23/2013
As the deadly MERS virus continues to infect people throughout the Middle East and Europe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has begun to prepare for the disease’s potential spread to the United States. Currently, the U.S. has had no confirmed cases of the MERS virus, a respiratory infection ...

New bacteria phylum discovered in hospital sink

06/22/2013
Most of the life on Earth comes in the form of small, single-celled organisms. But even though we knew there was incredible diversity at the microbial level, these cells all look pretty similar under a microscope. For many of the bacterial species we've identified, the key step has been growing ...

Bacteria found living within other bacteria living within insects

06/22/2013
The same process that led to the evolution of complex life may be happening all over again in insects, according to a new study in the journal Cell. About 900 million years ago, the Earth was covered in vast oceans containing giant mats of bacteria. Single-celled organisms with little more than ...

Earth 'Surrounded By Bacteria Bubble'

06/22/2013
Planet Earth is surrounded by a bubble of live bacteria scientists have found. According to a report by Popular Science the colonies of bacteria live at about 33,000 feet - roughly the cruising height of a passenger jet. But while it might sound strange, it appears the phenomenon is a crucial part ...

A Solution for a San Diego Cove’s Constant Odor: Bacteria

06/22/2013
Depending upon whom you ask, the smell that has plagued La Jolla Cove has been “putrid,” “noxious” or “like the East River used to smell,” for quite a while. Nose-pinching is commonplace. But now, the stench of bird guano emanating from the cliffs in the seaside neighborhood has become, officially speaking, ...

Saudi MERS outbreak showed SARS-like features, including possible superspreader

06/21/2013
A long-awaited report on a large and possibly still ongoing outbreak of MERS coronavirus in Saudi Arabia reveals the virus spreads easily within hospitals, at one point passing in a person-to-person chain that encompassed at least five generations of spread. The study, co-written by Toronto SARS expert Dr. Allison McGeer, also ...

New Coronavirus 'Eerily' Like SARS

06/20/2013
The novel coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East is eerily similar to SARS, according to an expert who was part of a team studying a cluster of cases in hospitals in Saudi Arabia. "This feels like SARS, it really does," said Trish Perl, MD, of the Johns Hopkins University School of ...

Circadian Rhythms Play Role In Fighting Off Intestinal Bacterial Infections: Study

06/10/2013
Your body clock may play a role in fighting off bacterial infections in the gut, according to a new study in animals. Researchers said the findings could help explain why people who have disruptions in their circadian rhythm -- like those who fly across time zones frequently, or shift workers -- ...

Classic microscopy reveals borrelia bacteria

06/10/2013
Over the past year, two experienced biologists at Oslo University have seen something that very few scientists experience. They have been sought out by a persistent stream of people from all over Norway who are asking for help. "People so sick that they can barely stand up have come here to ...

Middle East coronavirus: No reward for man behind discovery

06/09/2013
(op-ed article) There is a new and deadly threat making its round in Saudi Arabia. It is the Mers, or the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus and what makes this virus an ominous threat is that the majority of those who had contracted the disease died from it. Saudi Arabia seems ...

Fractal Bacteria

06/09/2013
Bacteria are single celled organisms that can do amazing things in multicellular groups, with complex coordinated behaviors emerging from the interaction of genetic networks, chemical environments, and the physics of cell growth. Last year I wrote about the work of Tim Rudge and Fernan Federici and their incredible images of ...

Gut Bacteria Play Key Role in Vaccination

06/09/2013
The bacteria that live in the human gut may play an important role in immune response to vaccines and infection by wild-type enteric organisms, according to two recent studies resulting from a collaborative effort between the University of Maryland School of Medicine Institute for Genome Sciences and the Center for ...

Wolbachia Bacteria Evolved to Infect Stem Cell Niches Through Successive Generations of Their Hosts

06/09/2013
Wolbachia are intracellular bacteria that infect invertebrates at pandemic levels, including insects that cause such devastating diseases as Dengue fever, West Nile virus, and malaria. While Wolbachia-based technologies are emerging as promising tools for the control of the insect vectors of these deadly diseases, the processes underlying Wolbachia’s successful propagation ...

FDA finds fungus, bacteria in recalled pain shots

06/08/2013
The Food and Drug Administration has found bacteria and fungus in vials of pain shots made by a Tennessee pharmacy whose products have been linked to infections. FDA said it found the contaminants in two sealed vials of steroids made by Main Street Family Pharmacy, which has recalled all its products ...

Lab Notes: Stop Hepatitis C from Multiplying

06/03/2013
Hep C may be thwarted by muting its ability to replicate. Also this week: a promising approach to preserve muscle in ALS, and the body's microbiota fight a sexually-transmitted disease. Stopping HCV in Its Tracks Researchers have identified a possible new approach to stopping hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection that involves attacking ...

AIDS Epidemic: Is an End Possible?

06/03/2013
More than 30 years after the discovery of the AIDS virus, experts are optimistic that a cure for the disease will be found, and that an end to the AIDS epidemic is possible. But they caution there is still a lot of work to be done. Since the first cases of AIDS ...

Bacteria may provide some of gastric bypass surgery's boost

06/03/2013
In the latest of a slew of studies examining the role of the so-called microbiome -- the mix of microscopic critters that colonize our bodies and our environment -- in human health, Harvard researchers said Wednesday that part of the reason that Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery works so well in ...

Gut microbes again linked to diabetes -- but geography matters

06/02/2013
Particular combinations of bacteria in the human digestive system can identify patients who have or are likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, scientists reported Wednesday in the online edition of the journal Nature. But the precise combinations of microbes that influence development of the disease may vary among patients of different ...

5 Costliest Microbes in Financial History

06/02/2013
The field of synthetic biology is still in its infancy, with many of the most promising companies residing outside of public markets, but make no mistake: The bioeconomy is on its way. Just about everything and anything -- fuels, chemicals, oils, foods, pharmaceuticals, metals, and materials -- will one day ...

Next to You on the Subway

06/02/2013
Norman R. Pace, a microbiologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, pioneered the use of DNA to study microbes. He has searched for extremophiles (organisms that can exist in extreme environments) in the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park and once descended in the submersible Alvin to examine microbial life ...

Prototype iPhone biosensor detects viruses, bacteria, toxins, allergens

06/01/2013
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a versatile iPhone-based biosensor that, with about $200 worth of parts, is just as accurate as a $50,000 laboratory spectrophotometer. The system, consisting of an iPhone cradle and an app, can detect viruses, bacteria, toxins, proteins and even allergens in food ...

Instagerms: A Photographer's Strangely Beautiful Portaits of His Own Bacteria

06/01/2013
We’ve seen so many different ways to create a self-portrait, but nothing on this scale before. Erno-Erik Raitanen cheekily refers to his latest project as a series of self-portraits, but they don’t actually resemble the photographer himself, as much as they do a stoner’s screensaver or a Flaming Lips album cover. ...

Estrogen-Eating Bacteria = Safer Water

06/01/2013
Usually, when you mention bacteria in connection with water, it’s a bad thing. But one Texas A&M engineering researcher believes the right bacteria are a natural weapon for fighting an emerging water contaminant: estrogen. Increasingly sensitive methods of screening water for polluting substances allow environmental scientists to monitor traces of previously ...

How Poop-Eating Bacteria Could Clean La Jolla Cove

06/01/2013
When San Diego city officials first brainstormed ways to clean up the bird guano at La Jolla Cove, they envisioned processes involving vacuuming or picking up the mess. A Northern California business presented them with a different option: using bacteria that would eat up the bird poop naturally. Blue Eagle Products makes ...

Bacteria Without Borders: The Fight Against TB & Malaria

06/01/2013
n this series on superbugs—meaning bacteria that are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics—we’ve looked at germs on a national level. But you probably already know that bugs don’t respect borders: Drug resistance is definitely a global problem. And there are two particularly troubling examples when it comes to global drug ...

Possible Pandemic: Is MERS the New SARS?

05/31/2013
A 65-year-old man infected with a new SARS-like virus died of multiple organ failure on Monday in France. He was the first French patient to die from the condition, which is known as Middle East Respiratory Symptom Coronavirus, or MERS-CoV. As of Wednesday, 49 people have been infected with the virus ...

Google celebrates Julius Richard Petri, inventor of the Petri dish

05/31/2013
Have you googled anything today? If so, you may have noticed that the Google Doodle looks different. That's because today is the 161st anniversary of the birth of German bacteriologist, Julius Richard Petri. He was the inventor of the Petri dish – one of the most ubiquitous items used by ...

New one-step process for designer bacteria

05/28/2013
A simpler and faster way of producing designer bacteria used in biotechnology processes has been developed by University of Adelaide researchers. The researchers have developed a new one-step bacterial genetic engineering process called ‘clonetegration’, published in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology ("One-Step Cloning and Chromosomal Integration of DNA"). Led by Dr Keith ...

Biology of UAE deserts an untapped fountain of wealth

05/27/2013
(op-ed piece from a scientist in the United Arab Emerates) When we think of vibrant biodiversity, the Amazonian jungles, the American Great Plains and the vast oceans come to mind. And for good reason. They are a prime source of pharmaceuticals, nutritionals and biomass for energy products. It is for that reason so ...

Max Perutz 1914-2002: 'the godfather of molecular biology' - video

05/27/2013
Scientists who worked with the Nobel prize-winning pioneer discuss his legacy alongside footage and previously unseen interviews. Max Perutz, the Austrian-born British molecular biologist, founded the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) at Cambridge University in the postwar years where he was the prominent figure in a group of brilliant ...

Opportunity discovers clays favorable to martian biology and sets sail for motherlode of new clues

05/27/2013
Now nearly a decade into her planned 3 month only expedition to Mars, NASA's longest living rover Opportunity, struck gold and has just discovered the strongest evidence to date for an environment favorable to ancient Martian biology – and she has set sail hunting for a motherlode of new clues ...

Study Sheds Light Into How Green Algae Engulfed Bacteria Billions Of Years Ago

05/27/2013
A team of researchers has captured images of green alga consuming bacteria, offering a glimpse at how early organisms dating back more than one billion years may have acquired free-living photosynthetic cells. This acquisition is thought to have been a critical first step in the evolution of photosynthetic algae and land ...

Saudis say Dutch patent on MERS virus hampers research

05/26/2013
The normally civil world of international health diplomacy was shattered yesterday, when Saudi Arabia complained that a patent taken out by Dutch scientists who isolated the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus was impeding Saudi efforts to track the virus within its own borders. "Deals between scientists because they want to ...

Vitamin C Can Kill Drug-Resistant TB Bacteria

05/26/2013
Vitamin C can kill drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) bacteria in laboratory culture, according to a new, surprising discovery by experts at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. The research, published in Nature Communications, indicates that adding vitamin C to existing TB drugs could shorten TB therapy. The finding calls ...

Radioactive Bacteria Dramatically Reduce Spread Of Pancreatic Cancer In Mice

05/25/2013
Using bacteria to ferry radioisotopes commonly used in cancer therapy directly into pancreatic cancer cells in mice, researchers in the US were able dramatically to reduce the number of secondary tumors that arise when the cancer spreads to other parts of the body (metastases). Claudia Gravekamp and colleagues at Albert Einstein ...

Friendly Viruses Protect Us Against Bacteria

05/25/2013
Bacteria can be friends and foes—causing infection and disease, but also helping us slim down and even combating acne. Now, a new study reveals that viruses have a dual nature as well. For the first time, researchers have shown that they can help our bodies fight off invading microbes. "This is ...

Scientists Offer First Definitive Proof of Bacteria-Feeding Behavior in Green Algae

05/25/2013
A team of researchers has captured images of green alga consuming bacteria, offering a glimpse at how early organisms dating back more than 1 billion years may have acquired free-living photosynthetic cells. This acquisition is thought to have been a critical first step in the evolution of photosynthetic algae and ...

WHO Is Helping Saudi Arabia Investigate SARS-Like Virus Before Haj

05/25/2013
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday that it would help Saudi Arabia dig deeper into deadly outbreaks of a new SARS-like virus to draw up advice ahead of the annual haj pilgrimage, which attracts millions of Muslims. The U.N. agency, which is not currently recommending any restrictions on travel ...

Arctic Bacteria Thrives at Mars Temps

05/25/2013
One of the things that makes it extremely hard for life to flourish in foreboding places like Mars and the moons of Saturn is the punishing cold. Without the benefit of a blanket-like atmosphere, these celestial bodies have average temperatures well below freezing. Now, researchers from McGill University in Montreal ...

Update on H7N9: Should We Be Concerned?

05/21/2013
The emergence of human infections with avian influenza viruses (H7N9 and H5N1) have raised concerns about the virus gaining the ability to spread person-to-person, potentially causing a deadly pandemic. So far the number of human cases has been limited but the mortality rates have been high. In response to this ...

Some of My Best Friends Are Germs

05/21/2013
I can tell you the exact date that I began to think of myself in the first-person plural — as a superorganism, that is, rather than a plain old individual human being. It happened on March 7. That’s when I opened my e-mail to find a huge, processor-choking file of ...

Behind the Cover Story: Michael Pollan on Why Bacteria Aren’t the Enemy

05/21/2013
Michael Pollan, food author, activist and journalism professor, wrote this week’s cover story about the organisms with which we share our bodies — and how we’re dependent on them. His book “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation” came out last month. His last article for the magazine was about California’s ...

The Effects of Fracking on the Microbial Ecology of Groundwater

05/20/2013
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside. What effect does this process have on the microorganisms that naturally exist in the water in this process? ...

Intestinal Bacteria Protect Against E. Coli O157:H7

05/20/2013
A cocktail of non-pathogenic bacteria naturally occurring in the digestive tract of healthy humans can protect against a potentially lethal E. coli infection in animal models according to research presented today at the 113th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. The research, conducted by scientists at the ...

The Merlot Microbiome

05/20/2013
Plants associated bacteria play a key role in host productivity and health. These bacteria are phylogenetically diverse and form interactions considered neutral, beneficial or detrimental. A better understanding of these interactions will have a direct impact in agriculture by promoting sustainable practices. Researchers are currently hard at work studying the ...

New Methods for Norovirus Detection/Prevention

05/20/2013
Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. Each year, it causes about 21 million illnesses and contributes to about 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths. Norovirus is also the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. Researchers have developed a method to ...

Food Laboratory Accuracy Remains A Concern

05/20/2013
Food microbiology laboratories continue to submit false negative results and false positive results on a routine basis. A retrospective study of nearly 40,000 proficiency test results over the past 14 years, presented today at the 113th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, examined the ability of food ...

Engineered Microbes Glow In the Dark

05/20/2013
Scientists at the University of California, Davis have engineered a strain of photosynthetic cyanobacteria to grow without the need for light. They report their findings today at the 113th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. “In this work, we used synthetic biology approaches to probe and rewire photoautotrophic ...

Bacteria Use Hydrogen, Carbon Dioxide to Produce Electricity

05/20/2013
Researchers have engineered a strain of electricity-producing bacteria that can grow using hydrogen gas as its sole electron donor and carbon dioxide as its sole source of carbon. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst report their findings at the 113th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. “This ...

The Role of the Gut Microbiome in Colon Cancer

05/19/2013
Could the bacterial populations in your intestines predict the onset of colon cancer? Participants will discuss new research in mouse models that suggests a major shift in microbial population dynamic prior to the onset of tumors as well as the general promise microbiome research holds for the diagnosis and ...

Good Cholesterol: Part of Innate Immunity?

05/19/2013
Trypanosome Lytic Factor (TLF) has emerged as a novel arm of innate immunity that is only present in humans and select non-human primates. TLF was originally discovered in human blood as a minor form of High-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as a good cholesterol, that rapidly kills the African trypanosome, ...

Antibiotic Compound from Wasp Venom

05/19/2013
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are part of the innate immune system that is widely distributed in nature, acting as a defense mechanism against invading microorganisms. AMPs have potent antimicrobial activity against a range of microorganisms including fungi, bacteria and viruses. In view of growing multidrug resistance, AMPs are increasingly being viewed ...

Hunting pack of bacteria paints a tangled skein

05/19/2013
Bacteria that glide together… make art together? This contender in the Art of Science competition run by Princeton University in New Jersey, entitled The history of gliding, depicts the squiggly gliding paths of the bacteria Myxococcus xanthus. M. xanthus are social bacteria that move in coordinated packs to hunt prey efficiently ...

Some of My Best Friends Are Germs

05/19/2013
I can tell you the exact date that I began to think of myself in the first-person plural — as a superorganism, that is, rather than a plain old individual human being. It happened on March 7. That’s when I opened my e-mail to find a huge, processor-choking file of ...

Now We Know Why Old Scizophrenia Medicine Works On Antibiotics-Resistant Bacteria

05/19/2013
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as staphylococci (Staphylococcus aureus). Antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a huge problem all over the world: For example, 25 -- 50 per ...

Saudi Arabia reports 4 new cases of dangerous virus

05/14/2013
Health officials reported four more cases of a dangerous new virus in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. Three of the patients diagnosed as having the novel coronavirus, or nCoV, are still being treated, a statement on the Saudi Health Ministry website said. The fourth has been discharged from a hospital. Experts: New SARS-like ...

Bacteria-killing Viruses Could Make Medical Implants Safer

05/12/2013
Medical implants like catheters and pacemakers can be a hotspot for bacteria, which grow in hard-to-treat films on the surface of such devices. Scientists and engineers are taking different approaches to changing the surface of implants so bacteria can’t take hold. For example, some groups are developing polymer films with ...

Bacteria in Baby's Belly May Influence Growth, Study Says

05/12/2013
Infants' early growth is influenced by the types of bacteria in their digestive system, a new study says. A variety of bacteria quickly populate the sterile digestive tract of a newborn. Norwegian researchers identified connections between specific types of bacteria and infant growth rates. For their study, published May 9 in the ...

Antibiotics An Effective Treatment For Chronic Back Pain

05/12/2013
A groundbreaking study from a well-renowned team of Danish researchers could bring unprecedented relief for sufferers of chronic back pain. According to the study, which appeared in the European Spine Journal, as much as 40 percent of chronic lower back pain is caused by bacteria. Treating these patients with antibiotics has ...

Sixth-Century Plague of Justinian Pandemic Was Caused By Yersinia Pestis Bacteria

05/12/2013
It's easy to forget just how far medicine has progressed. While we may worry about the spread of infectious diseases like avian flu or meningitis today, those pathogens have nothing on fearsome pandemics in the distant past like the Plague of Justinian, which killed over 100 million people from the ...

Laser technology shaves time off bacteria turnaround

05/11/2013
Scientists at a local laboratory say a new piece of technology there can identify bacteria a day earlier than traditional methods. "If it's a blood infection or meningitis, getting that identification as fast as we can can mean the difference between life and death," said Karen Calvert, a microbiologist who works ...

Bacteria organize according to "rich-get-richer" principle

05/11/2013
Bacteria on a surface wander around and often organize into highly resilient communities known as biofilms. It turns out that they organize in a rich-get-richer pattern similar to the distribution of wealth in the U.S. economy, according to a new study by researchers at University of California, Los Angeles, Northwestern ...

Could Adaptable Bacteria Cause Repeat UTIs?

05/11/2013
Women suffering from recurring urinary tract infections may carry a particularly hearty strain of E. coli bacteria that flourishes in both the gut and the bladder, and can migrate back and forth despite repeated treatments, a small new study finds. Doctors believe that urinary tract infections are often caused by E. ...

Parents' Saliva On Pacifiers Could Ward Off Baby's Allergies

05/06/2013
That word "microbiome" — describing the collection of bacteria that live in and on our bodies — keeps popping up. This time, researchers say that children whose parents clean their pacifiers by sucking them might be less likely to develop allergic conditions because of how their parents' saliva changes their ...

Transparency Unlocked: More New Saudi Coronavirus Cases Reported Quickly

05/05/2013
(via Wired's Superbug blog) In my last post 36 hours ago, I raised questions about Saudi Arabia’s apparent delay in reporting new cases of the novel coronavirus that has been causing low-level unease since last summer. (For the full history of that, check these posts.) So it’s only fair to ...

Mystery bacteria 'cobwebs' found in nuclear cooling tank

05/05/2013
Spring cleaning is always a good way to get rid of those hard-to-reach cobwebs that appear around the house. However, when they appear in cooling tanks for spent nuclear fuel and have never been seen there before, special attention is warranted. Sometime in Fiscal Year 2011, “cobwebs” of bacteria were first ...

Feds blame combination of parasite, virus, bacteria, pesticides for strange bee disappearance

05/05/2013
A new federal report blames a combination of problems for a mysterious and dramatic disappearance of U.S. honeybees since 2006. The intertwined factors cited include a parasitic mite, multiple viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition, genetics, habitat loss and pesticides. The multiple causes make it harder to do something about what’s called colony collapse ...

Chinese scientists slammed for creating mutant influenza virus in laboratory

05/05/2013
Chinese scientists are being criticized for their “appalling irresponsibility” after they intentionally developed a new mutant influenza strain in a veterinary laboratory, the Independent reported. Experts have warned that the new virus strains could potentially escape the lab, which could cause a global pandemic and lead to the deaths of ...

Now We Know What Early Earth Smelled Like

05/05/2013
Early earth had a distinctive aroma. And it wasn't very nice. That's what scientists have now determined, using advanced imaging techniques to examine fossils nearly 1.9 billion years old that were collected from rocks around Lake Superior, Canada. Their work has revealed spherical and rod-shaped bacteria dining on the cylindrical outer ...

Fluoride fights tooth decay by making bacteria less sticky

05/04/2013
German scientists say fluoride reduces the ability of decay-causing bacteria to stick to teeth so it is easier to wash away when brushing or with saliva. Karin Jacobs and colleagues said despite a half-century of scientific research, controversy exists over exactly how fluoride compounds reduced the risk of tooth decay. Previous research ...

Uncovering Dark Oxidants And The Dangerous Effect They Have On Life

05/04/2013
Of all the things that could be hazardous to your health, would you believe breathing oxygen makes the list? Our bodies produce toxic chemicals in our cells, called oxidants, which we fight naturally and with foods that contain antioxidants like blueberries and dark chocolate. All forms of life that breathe oxygen ...

Decades-old question: Is antibacterial soap safe?

05/03/2013
It's a chemical that's been in U.S. households for more than 40 years, from the body wash in your bathroom shower to the knives on your kitchen counter to the bedding in your baby's basinet. But federal health regulators are just now deciding whether triclosan — the germ-killing ingredient found in ...

Hospitals see surge of superbug-fighting products

04/29/2013
They sweep. They swab. They sterilize. And still the germs persist. In U.S. hospitals, an estimated 1 in 20 patients pick up infections they didn't have when they arrived, some caused by dangerous 'superbugs' that are hard to treat. The rise of these superbugs, along with increased pressure from the government and ...

How Parkinson's Disease Protein Acts Like a Virus

04/29/2013
A protein known to be a key player in the development of Parkinson's disease is able to enter and harm cells in the same way that viruses do, according to a Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study. The protein is called alpha-synuclein. The study shows how, once inside a ...

A Potential Way to Eat Eggs Without Dying

04/28/2013
Bacteria are all over us, inside and out. Jiri Hulcr recently found 1,458 species of bacteria "new to science" in a small sample of human belly buttons. What we know about our little passengers and how they affect our bodies is dwarfed by what we do not. That can be ...

Three wrongs make a right

04/28/2013
Pancreatic cancer is a dreadful disease. Even in rich countries, only about 4% of those diagnosed with it are still alive after five years. In America it is the third-most-common cause of cancer deaths among women, after lung and breast cancer; among men it is fourth, after lung, prostate and ...

Mutant version of H5N1 flu virus found to be more preferential to human infection

04/27/2013
In its native state, according to the CDC, the H5N1 flu virus is highly contagious and is especially deadly to birds. Fortunately, few people have contracted this strain of flu as it's quite deadly in people as well. Luckily, there have been very few cases of transmission of the virus ...

How Much Should We Fear H7N9?

04/27/2013
There’s been a recent surge in cases of the avian influenza A (H7N9) viral infection in China. As of this morning, there have been over a hundred reported cases and more than twenty deaths. The virus’ relatively sudden appearance in April, usually considered the end of flu season in the ...

Gut Bacteria Vaccine Could Help Control Autism Symptoms

04/27/2013
A vaccine created to treat a gut bacteria common in children with autism could also help control some symptoms of the neural development disorder, according to new research published in this month’s edition of the journal Vaccine. Researchers Brittany Pequegnat and Mario Monteiro of the University of Guelph in Ontario reportedly ...

Not My Job: Kal Penn Takes A Quiz On The Microbiome (NPR's 'Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me' segment)

04/27/2013
Kal Penn has a pretty unusual resume: He has starred in Harold and Kumar, the most successful series of stoner movies made in the past decade; and has served in the White House as the Obama administration's liaison to youth. Now he's hosting a new show, The Big Brain Theory, ...

H7N9 more deadly than SARS: experts

04/27/2013
The H7N9 strain of avian influenza is more lethal than the coronavirus that caused the global SARS outbreak in 2003, a National Taiwan University Hospital doctor said. Citing a University of Hong Kong report, Huang Li-min, head of the hospital’s Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, said the H7N9 virus can develop ...

Wet Market Poultry Transmitting H7N9 Bird Flu To Humans In China

04/27/2013
Researchers have confirmed that the A H7N9 bird flu virus, which began in February 2013, was transmitted from chickens at a wet poultry market to humans, according to a new study published in the The Lancet. Wet markets, which are common in Asian countries, are live animal markets. A H7N9 avian influenza ...

Recreational use of HIV antiretroviral drug linked to its psychoactivity

04/21/2013
Efavirenz (tradenames: Sustiva, Stocrin) is an antiretroviral (ARV) drug commonly used to treat HIV. Its popularity as a medication, alone or more commonly in combination with other HIV medications (tradename: Atripla), is due to its superior effectiveness in suppressing replication of the virus that causes AIDS. Though highly effective, a ...

Hilary Koprowski, Who Developed First Live-Virus Polio Vaccine, Dies at 96

04/21/2013
It was a brew to rival any in “Macbeth.” The main ingredients were rat brain and a fearsome, carefully cultivated virus. In his laboratory in Pearl River, N.Y., 20 miles north of Manhattan, Dr. Hilary Koprowski macerated the ingredients in an ordinary kitchen blender one January day in 1948. He poured ...

Beer Pong Balls Carry Bacteria, Proving Game Disgusting

04/21/2013
Clemson University researchers found that beer pong balls may carry dangerous bacteria, The Associated Press reported. The balls collected by student researchers from parties over one weekend found salmonella, listeria, E. coli and staph, according to the AP. The study found a high level of bacteria transferred to the beer when ...

New coronavirus treatable with a mix of antiviral drugs, immune boosters: health experts

04/20/2013
When a new disease emerges, scientists and physicians hope something that’s already in the medicine cabinet can be used to treat it. A new study suggests for the novel coronavirus, that may be the case. Scientists from the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases are reporting that a combination of ...

H7N9 Bird Flu Cases In China Rise By Four To 91; Half Have Had No Contact With Poultry

04/20/2013
The number of confirmed H7N9 bird flu cases in China increased by four to 91 on Friday. Jiangsu province reported one new case, and Zhejiang province reported three, the state-run Shanghai Daily reported today. The number of dead was unchanged at 17. An increasing focus among public health officials ...

High steaks

04/20/2013
Those who take part in clinical trials often have to do nasty things, from taking new drugs to forgoing sleep. Participants in a trial organised by Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio, had a decidedly easier task: eating steak. After reading Dr Hazen’s conclusions, though, they may be ...

Role of Gut Microbiome in Pediatric GI Disease: Evidence Suggestive, But Not Conclusive

04/20/2013
Intestinal dysbiosis may play a role in gastrointestinal (GI) disorders such as necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in children, and prebiotics and probiotics may be efficacious for treating these conditions, according to Philip M. Sherman, MD, professor of pediatrics, microbiology and dentistry at the Hospital for Sick ...

Modified bacteria could be used in vaccines

04/20/2013
A modified strain of Salmonella could be used to efficiently deliver antigens, the key ingredients of vaccines, into human cells, a study suggests. Salmonella bacteria use nanoscopic needles to inject their own proteins into host cells, enabling them to survive and replicate inside those cells. In the latest study, published in ...

4-year-old bird flu 'carrier' worries China

04/17/2013
Doctors say the discovery of a 4-year-old carrier of the H7N9 bird flu virus who shows no symptoms of the potentially lethal virus is a worrying development that could make the spread of the infection more difficult to monitor. The Beijing Municipal Health Bureau said the boy was detected from a ...

Questions in China on how H7N9 flu strain killed 2

04/01/2013
Health officials say they still don't understand how a lesser-known bird flu virus was able to kill two men and seriously sicken a woman in China, but that it's unlikely that it can spread easily among humans. Two men in Shanghai became the first known human fatalities from the H7N9 bird ...

Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory prepares for next big outbreak

03/31/2013
n late November, a strange envelope turned up at the Canadian embassy in Lebanon. Its suspicious contents — wood shavings, according to local reports — sparked alarm: did it contain dangerous pathogens? Could this be a bioterrorist attack? The building was closed until the package could be investigated. In snowy Winnipeg, ...

Carbon Cycle: Four Cells Turn Seabed Microbiology Upside Down

03/31/2013
Single-celled archaea are invisible to the naked eye, and even when using a microscope, great care must be taken to observe them. An international team of researchers led by the Center for Geomicrobiology, Aarhus University, Denmark, has nevertheless succeeded in retrieving four archaeal cells from seabed mud and mapping the ...

Book Review | All About Bacteria

03/30/2013
The latter half of the 19th century was a critical period in the development of Western, or what is now complimentarily called modern, medicine. The famed chemist Louis Pasteur and the physician Robert Koch established on a firm intellectual foundation the notion that the cause of infectious diseases often lay ...

Scientists develop bacteria that needs caffeine to survive and reproduce

03/30/2013
Scientists at the University of Texas and the University of Iowa have created a synthetic bacteria that grows thanks to one of humankind's favorite stimulants — caffeine. According to a report from Quartz, this bacteria can be added to any caffeinated beverage and it'll grow according to the levels of ...

Microbiologist Transforms Bacteria Into Photo Art

03/30/2013
Adorning your living room mantel with a petri dish full of germs normally wouldn’t sound appealing. But once you take a look at Zachary Copfer’s unique creations, you might be intrigued — if you’re not already running to the bathroom to wash your hands. Copfer is a Cincinnati-based microbiologist-turned-artist who figured ...

Iron-Breathing Bacteria Metabolize Metals Using Special Proteins, Study Finds

03/28/2013
Using stripped-down versions of living cells, researchers have confirmed which proteins allow certain bacteria to breathe iron and other metals when oxygen isn't available. Shewanella oneidensis (pictured) is often found in oxygenated environments but can also thrive without the gas if it must, thanks to energy-generating chemical reactions that ...

Diverse Bacteria On Fresh Fruits, Vegetables Vary With Produce Type, Farming Practices

03/28/2013
Fresh fruit and vegetables carry an abundance of bacteria on their surfaces, not all of which cause disease. In the first study to assess the variety of these non-pathogenic bacteria, scientists report that these surface bacteria vary depending on the type of produce and cultivation practices. The results are published March ...

Fat-Buster Bacteria Helps in Gastric Surgery, Researchers Find

03/28/2013
Bacteria that live in the gut change after gastric-bypass surgery, and may aid in weight loss, according to a Harvard University study. Researchers gave mice the stomach-shrinking surgery and monitored changes in the gut’s bacterial inhabitants, according to a study in the journal Science Translational Medicine. When bacteria from the mice ...

Researchers developing antiviral drug to combat contagious norovirus

03/26/2013
A Kansas State University-led team is researching ways to stop the spread of norovirus, a contagious stomach illness that infects one in 15 Americans each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Kyeong-Ok Chang, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, is leading researchers as they develop an ...

Certain strains of lactobacillus bacteria can dampen production of toxic shock syndrome toxin 1

03/25/2013
Certain Streptococci increase their production of toxic shock syndrome toxin 1, sometimes to potentially dangerous levels, when aerobic bacteria are present in the vagina. But scientists from the University of Western Ontario have discovered certain strains of lactobacillus bacteria are capable of dampening production of that toxin according to research ...

Burn dressing 'lights up' when it detects dangerous bacteria

03/25/2013
A prototype medical dressing that 'lights up' when dangerous bacteria are present has been developed at the University of Bath. The invention means that life-threatening infections in child burn victims could in future be detected with nothing more than a UV light. The dressing contains nanocapsules filled with fluorescent dye -- ...

Bacteria With Vuvuzelas: Microbes Use a Channel Protein as a Syringe for Toxins

03/24/2013
The bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens is a constant companion of some roundworms. These worms assault insect larvae, thereby infecting them with the bacteria; the pathogens then attack the cells of their victims with a deadly cocktail of various toxins. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund working ...

The Threat of Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases to Wildlife

03/24/2013
(from National Geographic) In this 6th interview with renowned wildlife biologist Dr. Michael Hutchins, we discuss the challenges facing vanishing species and other threatened free-ranging and captive populations of wildlife due to emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. Jordan: Zoonoses and anthroponoses may be confusing terms to some of our readers. Can ...

Chemical Compounds That Halt Virus Replication Identified

03/23/2013
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have identified a new chemical class of compounds that have the potential to block genetically diverse viruses from replicating. The findings, published in Chemistry & Biology, could allow for the development of broad-spectrum antiviral medications to treat a number of viruses, including ...

Hospitals gain new weapons against deadly bacteria

03/23/2013
As the invisible bugs in hospitals get scarier and more prevalent, hospitals are finding new ways to clean. Doylestown Hospital on Tuesday unveiled its newest high-tech weapon, a machine that zaps everything in a room with ultraviolet light 25,000 times brighter than the sun's. It can penetrate the defenses of Clostridium ...

“10” Predictions for the Future of Your (Microbial) Health

03/23/2013
Every day it seems like some new discovery is revealed ab0ut the microbial life on our bodies, in our bodies and around our homes. The tendency in writing about such studies is to make sweeping conclusions about what is and is not and, of course, how we should live and ...

A breakthrough antibiotic? SUNY ESF scientists create synthetic protein that disrupts bacteria growth

03/23/2013
When things don't go as planned in Chris Nomura's science world, they sometimes turn out for the better. Nomura, an assistant professor in the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry's Department of Chemistry, and his team of researchers are using a synthetic protein molecule to disrupt the way bacteria become ...

Certain Bacteria Suppress Production of Toxic Shock Toxin: Probiotic Potential Looms

03/23/2013
Certain Streptococci increase their production of toxic shock syndrome toxin 1, sometimes to potentially dangerous levels, when aerobic bacteria are present in the vagina. But scientists from the University of Western Ontario have discovered certain strains of lactobacillus bacteria are capable of dampening production of that toxin according to research ...

This Protein Could Change Biotech Forever

03/19/2013
A tiny molecular machine used by bacteria to kill attacking viruses could change the way that scientists edit the DNA of plants, animals and fungi, revolutionizing genetic engineering. The protein, called Cas9, is quite simply a way to more accurately cut a piece of DNA. “This could significantly accelerate the rate ...

Averting the antibiotics apocalypse now (op-ed)

03/17/2013
IF YOU'RE reading this article, antibiotics have probably saved your life – and not once but several times. A rotten tooth, a knee operation, a brush with pneumonia; any number of minor infections that never turned nasty. You may not even remember taking the pills, so unremarkable have these one-time ...

Drug-Resistant MRSA Bacteria: Here to Stay in Both Hospital and Community

03/17/2013
The drug-resistant bac­te­ria known as MRSA, once con­fined to hos­pi­tals but now wide­spread in com­mu­ni­ties, will likely con­tinue to exist in both set­tings as sep­a­rate strains, accord­ing to a new study. The pre­dic­tion that both strains will coex­ist is reas­sur­ing because pre­vi­ous pro­jec­tions indi­cated that the more inva­sive and fast-growing com­mu­nity ...

Scientists Find Bacteria Where It Isn’t Supposed to Be: The Brain

03/17/2013
As anyone who’s seen a yogurt commercial knows, our guts are teeming with bacteria. So, too, are our hands, feet, ears, and mouths. But our brains? Until recently, scientists would have said no way. The brain was long thought to be a kind of fortress, separated from the body by a virtually ...

Probiotics may alter brain activity in healthy people, says Danone/UCLA data

03/17/2013
Daily supplements of a fermented milk product containing five different probiotic strains may affect the parts of the brain linked to emotion and sensation, says a new study from UCLA and Danone. The study is said to be the first to show chronic intake of a fermented milk product with probiotics ...

Influenza Study: Meet Virus' New Enemy

03/16/2013
Simon Fraser University virologist Masahiro Niikura and his doctoral student Nicole Bance are among an international group of scientists that has discovered a new class of molecular compounds capable of killing the influenza virus. Working on the premise that too much of a good thing can be a killer, the scientists ...

Phages may be key in bacteria battle

03/16/2013
At the Eliava Institute in Tbilisi, Georgia, patients are treated for all kinds of bacterial infections with viruses called phages. In most places in the world antibiotics are given for these infections. One patient says he regularly uses phages to treat a recurring eye infection. "I've tried everything. I've even had operations ...

Gutnik? NASA to launch colon-inhabiting bacteria into space

03/16/2013
You’ve heard of Sputnik, that little tiny antenna-clad chunk of metal heaved into low orbit on October 4, 1957, effectively kicking off the Space Age? Well, make way for Gutnik. A news release issued by NASA’s Ames Research Center foretells the launch into space of a satellite inhabited by a bunch ...

Researchers find bacteria to treat fatty liver disease

03/16/2013
A research team at central Taiwan's Hungkuang University, has succeeded in finding four strains of lactic acid bacteria that may be effective in treating fatty liver, a condition that affects people who are obese or drink a lot of alcohol, the team leader said Friday. Researchers sorted out the functional lactic ...

HIV 'functional cure' possible with early treatment, say scientists

03/15/2013
Treating people with HIV rapidly after they have become infected with the virus that causes Aids may be enough to achieve a "functional cure" in a small proportion of patients diagnosed early, according to research. Scientists in France who followed 14 patients who were treated swiftly with HIV drugs but then ...

Fungus uses copper detoxification as crafty defense mechanism

03/14/2013
A potentially lethal fungal infection appears to gain virulence by being able to anticipate and disarm a hostile immune attack in the lungs, according to findings by researchers at Duke Medicine. Defense mechanisms used by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans enable it to lead to fatal meningitis, which is one of the ...

American Academy of Microbiology releases resistance report

03/14/2013
What do cancer cells, weeds, and pathogens have in common? They all evolve resistance to the treatments that are supposed to eliminate them. However, researchers developing the next generation of antibiotics, herbicides, and anti-cancer therapeutics rarely come together to explore the common evolutionary principles at work across their different biological ...

SARS 2013: 10 Years Ago SARS Went Around The World, Where Is It Now?

03/12/2013
For a little over four months in 2003, the world was gripped in the clutches of an alarming new disease, one that spread at jet speed to at least 30 countries. Then, as quickly as it emerged, SARS vanished. The World Health Organization declared severe acute respiratory syndrome contained on July ...

"New" Antarctica Bacteria Now Said to Only Be Contaminant

03/12/2013
Late last week, a Russian news outlet reported that scientists at Antarctica's Lake Vostok, buried under miles of ice, said they had found bacteria that appeared to be new to science. Now, the head of that lab has said the signature is actually just contamination, leading outside researchers to say ...

Roller Derby Players Swap Bacteria (And Shoves) On The Track

03/12/2013
When Jessica Green competed in roller derby, she wondered how training, socializing and colliding with other roller girls could be affecting her health in invisible ways. As a member of the Emerald City Roller Girls, Green went by "Thumper Biscuit" on the track, but she is also the director of the ...

Yogurt Is Probiotic, Why Not Your Steering Wheel?

03/10/2013
The hotel I’ve been staying at this week at the TED Conference in Long Beach, Calif., markets its beds as being hypo-allergenic. As if that were possible. But let’s not fear microbes any longer. It is time to start embracing them. Resistance is futile anyway. They own us. The cells ...

Research Explores Relationship of the Human Microbiome and Obesity

03/10/2013
Long understudied, the human microbiome—the microbes, with their genomes, that dwell in and on the human body—is now under intense scrutiny. It is increasingly clear that “the human indigenous microbial communities … play a larger role in human health and disease than previously recognized” (Nutr Rev 2012;70:S2-S9). In August, two studies ...

Cure to TB could lie in bacteria found underwater

03/10/2013
The search for a cure for deadly infectious disease like Tuberculosis has led a researcher for the US deep underwater. Brian Murphy, assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is collecting actinomycete bacteria from water throughout the world in a hunt for new antibiotics. He ...

Breakthrough Study: Nanoparticles Laced With Bee Venom Selectively Destroy HIV Virus

03/10/2013
According to a new report in the journal Antiviral Therapy, researchers from the Washington University in St. Louis have found that nanoparticles loaded with bee venom are capable of destroying the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) while leaving the body’s cells unharmed. In a radical departure from traditional attempts to treat ...

Virus overcomes ‘enormous hurdle’ to survive

03/10/2013
Researchers have uncovered a virus inside a host with a non-standard nuclear genetic code—one that differs from the standard genetic code that almost all living things use to produce proteins. “The finding is significant because it shows that these viruses can overcome what appears to be an insurmountable change in the ...

Virus-Gene Interaction May Increase Risk of Schizophrenia

03/10/2013
An international team of researchers has found that a combination of a particular virus in the mother and a specific gene variant in the child increases the risk of the child developing schizophrenia. The research team, led by scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark, scanned the entire genome of hundreds of ...

Hawaii House considers adopting state microbe; state would be first in nation

03/09/2013
Hawaii has several official state symbols, including a flower, a song and a flag, but some say that's not enough. "Missing from this group of symbols is an official state microbe," Rep. James Tokioka wrote in a bill proposing to add a microbe to the list. Hawaii House members considered the bill ...

New type of bacteria discovered in lake beneath Antarctic ice

03/09/2013
A new type of microbe has been found at a lake buried under Antarctica's thick ice, according to news reports. The find may unveil clues of the surrounding environment in the lake, according to scientists. The bacteria, said to be only 86 percent similar to other types known to exist on ...

Insect wings shred bacteria to pieces

03/04/2013
The veined wing of the clanger cicada kills bacteria solely through its physical structure — one of the first natural surfaces found to do so. An international team of biophysicists has now come up with a detailed model of how this defence works on the nanoscale. The results are published ...

Long Stays in Space Mess with Immune System

03/04/2013
Extended space travel can cause dysregulation of astronauts' immune systems, researchers reported here. Astronauts who spent 6 months in space experienced reduced T-cell function and depressed creation of signaling cytokines, the latter of which persisted once they were back on earth, according to Brian Crucian, PhD, of NASA Johnson Space Center ...

Blood Vessels 'Sniff' Gut Microbes to Regulate Blood Pressure

03/03/2013
Researchers at The Johns Hopkins University and Yale University have discovered that a specialized receptor, normally found in the nose, is also in blood vessels throughout the body, sensing small molecules created by microbes that line mammalian intestines, and responding to these molecules by increasing blood pressure. The finding suggests ...

Continuous Sustainable Power Supply: Benthic Microbial Fuel Cell

03/03/2013
The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed the benthic microbial fuel cell (BMFC) as a persistent power supply for marine-deployed applications. The BMFC operates on the bottom of marine environments where it oxidizes organic matter residing in sediment with oxygen in overlying water. The NRL BMFC is a maintenance free, ...

Using Microbes to Generate Electricity

03/03/2013
From the lights in our houses to our mobile devices, we are an energized society. And future energy sources could come from some pretty unlikely places. Dr. Lenny Tender, a research chemist at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), has co-invented a device, known as a benthic microbial fuel cell, that persistently ...

Dust (and bacteria) from Africa Affects Snowfall in California

03/03/2013
One of the driest spots on Earth — the Sahara desert — is increasingly responsible for snow and rain half a world away in the western U.S., a new study released Thursday found. It's no secret that winds carrying dust, soot and even germs make transcontinental journeys through the upper atmosphere ...

NIH scientists attempt to understand deadly new coronavirus

03/03/2013
Scientists at the U.S. National Institutes of Health are attempting to find out more about a lethal new coronavirus and determine if it will become a pandemic or stay a limited threat. Vincent Munster, a representative of the NIH’s Virus Ecology Unit, attended the annual meeting of the Biodefense and Emerging ...

Bacteria defeat antibiotics they have never met before

03/02/2013
Bacteria that resist antibiotics are a growing problem worldwide, but one we thought we could limit or even reverse by better control of the drugs. The situation may be more complicated: some bacteria that have never seen an antibiotic can evolve resistance, and even thrive on it. Bacteria usually become resistant ...

How Do Bacteria Clog Medical Devices? Very Quickly

03/02/2013
A new study has exam­ined how bac­te­ria clog med­ical devices, and the result isn't pretty. The microbes join to cre­ate slimy rib­bons that tan­gle and trap other pass­ing bac­te­ria, cre­at­ing a full block­age in a star­tlingly short period of time. The find­ing could help shape strate­gies for pre­vent­ing clog­ging of devices ...

Acne-Fighting Bacteria

03/02/2013
Long suspected as a cause of acne, the pore-dwelling bacterial species Propionibacterium acnes may not uniformly deserve its bad name. While some strains of the bacterium are associated with pimples, investigators have found another strain is associated with clear skin, according to a study published yesterday (February 28) in the ...

Paper: VA hospital bacteria almost same as in 1982

02/24/2013
The strain of bacteria that caused a fatal outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in a Veterans Affairs hospital in western Pennsylvania is "almost identical" to the strain found there more than three decades ago, a newspaper reported. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (http://bit.ly/ZBHAYG ) said Sunday it had obtained documents indicating that the Legionella ...

Bacteria: are they in your head?

02/24/2013
The human “microbiome”—the trillions of bacteria, yeasts, and other microscopic creatures that live inside a human body—has been one of the major science stories in recent years. It seems that barely a week goes by that we don’t learn something new about the relationship between the human body and the ...

Most abundant ocean viruses attack bacteria

02/24/2013
Odd-looking viruses are waging war on an ocean-living bacterium that’s key to the Earth’s carbon cycle, say researchers. In one corner is the Earth’s most abundant organism: SAR11, an ocean-living bacterium that survives where most other cells would die and plays a major role in the planet’s carbon cycle. It ...

Artificial Wetland Uses Bacteria to Clean Pharmaceuticals From Sewage

02/23/2013
From anxiety medication to birth control, pain killers, nutrient supplements and blood thinners, the remains of what we put into our bodies pass through the other end, off to the waste control centers that need to deal with our mess. Getting pharmaceutical leftovers out of the water so that it ...

White Blood Cell Chases Down And Gobbles Up Bacteria [GIF]

02/23/2013
Your body uses white blood cells to fight off the bacteria and viruses that invade your body and make you sick. In the gif below you can see a white blood cell called a neutrophil chase down a Staphylococcus aureus bacterium. The circular cells that the white blood cell is ...

Why bad bacteria thrive in inflamed bowels

02/23/2013
Researchers say they have a clearer picture of why “bad” bacteria flourish in the intestines of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The team discovered a biological mechanism by which harmful bacteria grow, edge out beneficial bacteria, and damage the gut in IBD. This new understanding, published in Science, may lead ...

Gut Check: Science Probes Frontier Within Us Made Up of Millions and Billions of Microbes

02/18/2013
For every one of our own cells, our bodies play host to 10 other microbial cells: bacteria, fungus, viruses and other microscopic creatures that scientists are still working to discover and understand. In other words, we're outnumbered by these 100 trillion or so microbes -- many of them strangers -- ...

Bacteria boost fixes symptoms of autism in mice

02/17/2013
Replacing missing gut bacteria in a mouse model of autism reverses adverse social behaviours and gut disorders associated with the condition. Last year, Sarkis Mazmanian and Paul Patterson at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena found that infecting pregnant mice with molecules from a flu virus caused autism-like symptoms in ...

Visiting genetics scientist: Bacteria can be used to heal

02/17/2013
Bacteria from a healthy person can be transplanted to an ill person to help them recuperate. Visiting Jamaican-born Prof Karen E Nelson, president J Craig Venter Institute, explained this was one of the strides being made in genomics, which is the study of the collective genetic material in an organism. ...

The Deadliest Virus

02/17/2013
BIRD FLU (H5N1) has receded from international headlines for the moment, as few human cases of the deadly virus have been reported this year. But when Dutch researchers recently created an even more deadly strain of the virus in a laboratory for research purposes, they stirred grave concerns about what ...

Avoiding virus dangers in 'domesticating' wild plants for biofuel use

02/17/2013
In our ongoing quest for alternative energy sources, researchers are looking more to plants that grow in the wild for use in biofuels, plants such as switchgrass. However, attempts to “domesticate” wild-growing plants have a downside, as it could make the plants more susceptible to any number of plant viruses. In a ...

Third family member has 'Sars-like virus'

02/17/2013
A third member of a family in the UK has been infected with a new respiratory illness similar to the deadly Sars virus, officials say. It strengthens evidence that the virus can spread between people, however experts say the risk to the general population remains small. Of the 12 people confirmed to ...

Gut Bacteria Conspired in Melamine Poisonings

02/16/2013
In 2008, nearly 300,000 infants in China got sick from milk formula tainted with melamine, a plastics additive that was used illegally to bulk up the formula's apparent protein content. Now, a study in rats implicates bacteria living in the gut as unwitting accomplices in this mass poisoning. The work ...

Donohue elected president of American Society for Microbiology

02/16/2013
University of Wisconsin-Madison bacteriology professor Timothy J. Donohue has been elected president of the American Society for Microbiology. Donohue will take up the post of president-elect on July 1, followed by a one-year term as ASM president beginning July 1, 2014. The Society is the oldest and largest life science membership organization ...

C-Section May Disrupt 'Good' Bacteria in Babies

02/16/2013
Being born by cesarean section has been tied to higher risks for various health problems in children, and now a new study finds these babies also have fewer "good" bacteria in their digestive tract. Similarly, babies who were exclusively or even partially formula-fed rather than breast-fed also had markedly different gut ...

Flu virus weak spot found by Scripps Research scientists

02/11/2013
As the world sneezes, wheezes and aches through the latest flu season, scientists from The Scripps Research Institute report what could be a key discovery for fighting the virus in its many forms. In a new study, the scientists said they have found out how to neutralize the flu’s most notorious ...

Liver cancer survival time tripled by virus

02/11/2013
The virus used in the vaccine that helped eradicate smallpox is now working its magic on liver cancer. A genetically engineered version of the vaccinia virus has trebled the average survival time of people with a severe form of liver cancer, with only mild, flu-like side effects. Thirty people with hepatocellular ...

Fancy fish could harbor dangerous bacteria

02/10/2013
Around the world, private collectors and businesses maintain beautiful fish tanks stocked with colorful corals, speedy little cichlids and stately angelfish. But a hidden danger lurks: many fish that wind up in aquariums carry antibiotic-resistant bacteria that could pose a threat not just to a billion-dollar industry but to human ...

North Africa: Desert Bacteria Could Help Boost Crop Yields

02/10/2013
Desert soil microbes could help halt desertification and boost agriculture in arid regions of the Middle East and North Africa, according to a study. Scientists from the United Arab Emirates [UAE] have isolated local salt- and drought-tolerant strains of Rhizobia, soil bacteria that fix nitrogen when they become established inside the ...

Villain Stomach Bug May Have a Sweet Side: 'Bad' Gut Bacteria May Help Control Diabetes

02/10/2013
A stomach bacterium believed to cause health problems such as gastritis, ulcers, and gastric cancer may play a dual role by balancing the stomach's ecosystem and controlling body weight and glucose tolerance, according to immunologists at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute of Virginia Tech. Usually the villain in studies of gastric cancer ...

Scientists Find Life in the Cold and Dark Under Antarctic Ice

02/10/2013
For the first time, scientists report, they have found bacteria living in the cold and dark deep under the Antarctic ice, a discovery that might advance knowledge of how life could survive on other planets or moons and that offers the first glimpse of a vast ecosystem of microscopic life ...

Antibiotics And Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria In Meat: Not Getting Better

02/10/2013
A few days ago, the Food and Drug Administration released two important documents related to antibiotic use in livestock raising, and what the results of that antibiotic use are. I’d say that they released them quietly, except, when it comes to this issue, every release seems to be quiet, never ...

Bacteria Found to Thrive on Gold

02/05/2013
Gold prospectors may one day use Petri dishes to help with their quests. A species of bacterium forms nanoscale gold nuggets to help it to grow in toxic solutions of the precious metal, reports a paper published online today in Nature Chemical Biology. The molecule with which the bacteria create the ...
02/05/2013
A New York company plans to build a bacteria-based power generation facility at Brunswick Landing. Village Green Ventures hopes to file permit applications for the project by the end of the month and will hold a public meeting about it Wednesday evening. Planned for 2 acres of property on the former Navy ...

3D-Printed Human Embryonic Stem Cells Created for First Time

02/05/2013
Imagine if you could take living cells, load them into a printer, and squirt out a 3D tissue that could develop into a kidney or a heart. Scientists are one step closer to that reality, now that they have developed the first printer for embryonic human stem cells. In a new ...

Microbes - possible hitchhikers to space?

02/04/2013
Bacteria are ubiquitous and some of them are real survival specialists – a property, which is particularly challenging for space missions. The spacecraft that are sent on their long journey into space should be as clean as possible and considerably reduced in microbial burden, since the risk of biological contamination ...

Flow cytometry quantifies microbes in drinking water in minutes

02/04/2013
Swiss researchers have discovered that flow cytometry can now quantify microbial cells in drinking water—and do so in minutes rather than days. Stemming from work at aquatic research institute Eawag (Dübendorf, Switzerland) and extensive tests both in Switzerland and abroad, the optical techinque has been incorporated into the Swiss Food ...

Flu Virus Can Spread Up to 6 Feet, No Cough or Sneeze Required

02/03/2013
The influenza virus can spread up to 6 feet from a patient's head via submicron particles during routine hospital care, according to a study of patients admitted to the emergency department (ED) and throughout a tertiary care hospital with influenza-like illness during the 2010 to 2011 influenza season. It was ...

Engineered Oncolytic Herpes Virus Inhibits Ovarian and Breast Cancer Metastases

02/03/2013
A genetically reprogrammed Herpes simplex virus (HSV) can cure metastatic diffusion of human cancer cells in the abdomen of laboratory mice, according to a new study published January 31 in the Open Access journal PLOS Pathogens. The paper reports on the collaborative research from scientists at the at the University ...

Human breast milk microbiome changes over time

02/03/2013
The microbiome of breast milk is influenced by many factors, including maternal weight and how the baby was delivered, according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Raul Cabrera-Rubio, M.D., of the University of Valencia in Spain, and colleagues used pyrosequencing and quantitative polymerase chain reaction methods to ...

Abnormal gut bacteria linked to severe malnutrition

02/02/2013
There's more to malnutrition than poor diet. Two complementary studies suggest that microbes have an important role to play in both the onset and treatment of a poorly understood form of malnutrition called kwashiorkor. Malnutrition, the leading cause of death among children worldwide, remains something of a puzzle. It is unclear, ...

Quick TB Test Builds Up Arsenal Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria

02/02/2013
The people on the front lines of tuberculosis control have their hands full, but their biggest challenge for the moment may be containing strains of the disease that are resistant to drugs. Worldwide the number of TB cases is going down. The bad news is that the number of drug-resistant cases ...

Bacteria in sharks' mouths almost as scary as teeth

02/02/2013
The scariest thing about a shark's mouth — aside from the teeth — is the bacteria. "It's a really dirty bite," said Dr. Robert Borrego, medical director of the St. Mary's trauma center in West Palm Beach, which has treated several shark-bite victims. "Some of them get infected.'' To improve medical treatment ...

Little Mind Benders

01/30/2013
Imagining tiny creatures infiltrating human brains is creepy enough. But Marion Vittecoq knows she has been invaded. Her inner companions may be just hanging out — or they may be subtly changing her personality, manipulating her behavior or altering her risk of disease. Yet she doesn’t sound particularly upset. Not once ...

Astrobiology research: Life possible on extrasolar moons

01/28/2013
In their search for habitable worlds, astronomers have started to consider exomoons, or those likely orbiting planets outside the solar system. In a new study, a pair of researchers has found that exomoons are just as likely to support life as exoplanets. The research, conducted by René Heller of Germany's Leibniz ...

NIH panel supports stronger safeguards for H5N1 research

01/28/2013
A federal advisory committee yesterday recommended increased biosafety precautions for research involving H5N1 avian influenza viruses that can spread among mammals, a step that stems from the ongoing controversy over studies involving lab-modified H5N1 strains that show increased transmissibility in ferrets. The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) of the National Institutes ...

Can Influenza Sorbet Relieve Your Flu Symptoms?

01/28/2013
Forget chicken soup or hot tea. There is a new batch of home flu remedies — and they don’t skimp on the alcohol. When Jeni Britton Bauer, owner of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio, was young, getting a cold or the flu meant her mother and grandmother would mix ...

Flu waning in East and South, still gaining in West

01/28/2013
Although the flu appears to be leveling off in the East, South and Midwest, numbers are still rising in the Southwest and Northwest, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. The flu is widespread now in Washington state, said Donn Moyer of the Washington State Department of Health in Olympia. "We're ...

New Tool for Mining Bacterial Genome for Novel Drugs

01/27/2013
Vanderbilt biochemists have discovered that the process bacteria undergo when they become drug resistant can act as a powerful tool for drug discovery. Their findings -- reported this week in the Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences -- should give a major boost to natural ...

Bio design puts bugs, bacteria, cells to work

01/27/2013
If we are to believe a half-century of daytime TV commercials, housekeeping is war — a perpetual battle against the sneaky soldiers of nature. For decades, we’ve armed ourselves with cleaning products to slay bacteria, scrape away fungus and torture mites. As our household organisms move up the evolutionary ladder, ...

Nanotubes can harm beneficial soil microbes

01/27/2013
Some carbon nanotubes used for strengthening plastics may have an adverse effect on soil microbiology. Specifically, these raw, non-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotubes were shown to damage the active microbes in low-organic soil. Ron Turco, a professor of agronomy at Purdue University, says many of the bacteria affected could be involved in carbon ...
01/27/2013
A new study could provide the link that scientists have been looking for to confirm that reactivation of a latent herpes virus is a cause of some heart problems. Looking at blood samples from 299 heart patients, researchers at Ohio State University found that those who had suffered a heart attack ...

Swine flu infected 'fifth of people'

01/27/2013
At least 20% of people, including half of schoolchildren, were infected with swine flu during the first year of the pandemic in 2009, according to data from 19 countries. It is thought the virus killed 200,000 people around the world. A World Health Organization-led study looked for evidence of the body's immune ...

Suzanne Lee's BioCouture: Fashion Grown From Bacteria

01/26/2013
Business Week interview with a fashion designer who makes her collection from bacteria: This is really in its infancy, no? I’m still very much focusing on apparel and luxury products—jewelry, things that use small amounts of material. The lab materials are quite expensive and are not being produced in great volume. But ...

Pathogenic bacteria adhering to the human vascular wall triggers vascular damage during meningococcal sepsis

01/26/2013
Researchers at the Paris Cardiovascular Research Center (PARCC) have shown how adhesion of Neisseria (N.) meningitidis to human microvessels in a humanized mouse model leads to the characteristic cutaneous lesions of meningococcal sepsis. This work, published on January 24 in the Open Access journal PLOS Pathogens, is an important demonstration ...

Storm Clouds Crawling With Bacteria

01/24/2013
The storm clouds in Earth's atmosphere are filled with microbial life, according to a new study. The research, published today (Jan. 23) in the journal PLoS One, revealed that hailstones drawn from storm clouds harbor several species of bacteria that tend to reside on plants, as well as thousands of organic ...

Visit to a friend’s house spreads Dengue virus

01/21/2013
The mosquito that spreads the dengue virus is a homebody that infects visiting friends and relatives. The Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that spread dengue fever tap into the domestic networks of humans, along with their bloodstreams, finds a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The data from ...

New Coronavirus-Like Virus Found In Bats

01/21/2013
Viruses closely related to the new coronavirus that emerged last year in the Middle East have been discovered in specimens from a number of species of bats found widely throughout Europe and beyond, a new study shows. The work suggests bats common to Europe, Russia, parts of Asia and Africa and ...

Coughs Fool Patients into Unnecessary Requests for Antibiotics

01/21/2013
No one wants a hacking cough for days or weeks on end. But research shows that it generally takes about 18 days to get over a standard cough-based illness. Most of us grow impatient after a week or so and head to the doctor to get a prescription. The problem ...

A Government Takes Ag Antibiotics Seriously — But Not Our Government

01/21/2013
It’s always fascinating to me to see how seriously other parts of the world take the issue of antibiotic use in agriculture, given the long struggle in the United States to get the Food and Drug Administration to act and to get legislation through Congress. The European Parliament has voted ...

‘Side-kick’ drugs could improve antibiotics

01/21/2013
A new technique designed to make current antibiotics more effective works by disabling select genes in bacteria. Described in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the technique systematically identifies genes within E. coli bacteria that inhibit the production of molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage the bacteria’s DNA. Once those genes are ...

What Causes Colic? Gut Bacteria Might Play A Role

01/21/2013
Doctors don't clearly understand why some babies cry excessively and others don't, but a new study suggests abnormal gut bacteria could play a role. The research identified a distinct bacterial "signature" in the guts of infants with colic, a term that describes babies who cry for more than three hours ...

Could the gut microbiome be a key to improved drug efficacy with less toxicity?

01/20/2013
Microorganisms may get a bad rap in a setting like a hospital, but in the world of research, they’re offering fascinating new insights into human health and disease. One group of researchers, for example, has linked microbial changes in the gut to the dose-limiting gastrointestinal side effects of certain drugs, and ...

'Robogut' Makes Synthetic Poop To Treat Stubborn Infections

01/20/2013
Last summer, we learned about fake poop made from soybeans that The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation used to test high-tech commodes at their toilet fair. Now, we've come across another type of artificial poop, and it's being created to help people with really bad cases of diarrhea. This synthetic stool isn't ...

Enzyme chews hole in strep bacteria

01/20/2013
In the search for alternatives to conventional antibiotics, researchers have identified an enzyme that kills the bacteria that causes strep throat. The enzyme, PlyC, operates by locking onto the surface of a bacteria cell and chewing a hole in the cell wall large enough for the bacteria’s inner membrane to protrude ...

Leprosy bacteria use 'biological alchemy'

01/20/2013
Infectious bacteria have for the first time been caught performing "biological alchemy" to transform parts of a host body into those more suited to their purposes, by a team in Edinburgh. The study, in the journal Cell, showed leprosy-causing bacteria turning nerves into stem cells and muscle. The authors said the "clever ...

Gender differences in autoimmune diseases: Blame them on bacteria?

01/20/2013
Why are women more prone to autoimmune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis? A new study in mice points to a possible contributor: different types of bacteria that populate our guts. It goes like this: Different mixes of bacteria reside in the innards of male and female mice. Those ...

How the dengue virus makes a home in the city

01/20/2013
The mosquitoes that spread dengue fever tap into the domestic networks of humans, along with their bloodstreams, finds a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Mosquitoe Like the housefly, the Aedes aegypti mosquito that spreads the dengue virus is a homebody, perfectly adapted to the ...

Australian scientists may have found ‘potential cure for Aids’

01/20/2013
A FORM of gene therapy developed by researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research may provide hope to sufferers of HIV, preventing the virus from crippling the immune system by manipulating its genetic structure and turning HIV into a weapon against itself. Dr David Harrich has utilised a technique that ...

Bacteria to spot pollution

01/19/2013
Natural sensory system such as bacteria engineered to detect pollution and placed in a self-contained portable box could be the most effective way to track pollutants. Such devices are being developed as part of BIOMONAR, an EU-funded project which follows on from its predecessors, ECODIS and TOXICHIP. "Bacteria like all ...

The Xenotext: Creating the poetry bug

01/19/2013
“I’m the poet who does the impossible thing. I am the poet who aspires to have the biggest imagination in the room,” Christian Bök says bluntly. Yet his grandiose inventiveness has been focused on the most minuscule attempt at verse. After 11 years of working on what he’s dubbed “The ...

Transplanted Bacteria Turn Up Testosterone to Protect Mice against Diabetes

01/19/2013
Anyone still laboring under the mistaken assumption that genes are the most important factor in determining destiny should take a look at research that is being reported in this week’s Science about a particular strain of mice that have a genetic predisposition to develop type 1 diabetes. It turns out ...

The Beauty of Bacteria

01/17/2013
IF we’re to believe half a century of daytime TV commercials, housekeeping is war — a perpetual battle against the sneaky soldiers of nature. For decades, we’ve armed ourselves with cleaning products to slay bacteria, scrape away fungus and torture mites. As our household organisms move up the evolutionary ladder, ...

Parasitic Wasps Master Microbiology In Addition To Neurochemistry

01/13/2013
Glinting in shimmering shades of blue and green, the emerald cockroach wasp is surely a thing of beauty, but its shimmering exterior masks its cruel nature. The emerald cockroach wasp is one nature’s most impressive neurochemists. At its core, it is a parasite. The female wasp lays her eggs on ...

Flu, Whooping Cough, Vomiting Virus: What's Going On?

01/13/2013
The United States is seeing its fair share of illness this winter. The country is in the midst of a particularly bad flu season, the worst outbreak of whooping cough since 1955, and an emerging outbreak of norovirus (a stomach bug that causes diarrhea and vomiting.) Despite the seeming inundation of illness, ...

Bugs Need Symbiotic Bacteria to Exploit Plant Seeds: Mid-Gut Microbes Help Insects in Processing Their Food

01/13/2013
Aggregations of the red and black coloured firebugs are ubiquitous under linden trees in Central Europe, where the bugs can reach astounding population densities. While these insects have no impact on humans, their African, Asian, and American relatives, the cotton stainers, are serious agricultural pests of cotton and other Malvaceous ...

Breath test identifies bacteria's fingerprint

01/13/2013
Scientists have identified the chemical 'fingerprints' given off by specific bacteria when present in the lungs, potentially allowing for a quick and simple breath test to diagnose infections such as tuberculosis. Publishing their study today in the Journal of Breath Research, the researchers have successfully distinguished between different types of bacteria, ...

Faecal bacteria cocktail treats superbug infection

01/12/2013
Feeding faeces to people with chronic infection can cure them, but who wants to eat poo? A synthetic alternative could provide a more palatable option. Hospital superbug Clostridium difficile can wreak havoc in the guts of vulnerable people, especially those who have lost some of their protective gut flora as a ...

Young Scientist trio sow seeds of success with bacteria 'brainwave'

01/12/2013
A TRIO of young friends clutched hands in disbelief as they learnt that their project, sparked by a mundane discovery in the garden, had landed them the prestigious BT Young Scientist of the Year award. With tears rolling down their cheeks, the 15-year-old third year students from Kinsale Community School, Co ...

New Rules Tackle Bacteria in Drinking Water

01/12/2013
New national drinking water rules are expected to lead to fewer dangerous pathogens coming out of the tap. The new regulation, which was announced last month and takes effect within three years, switches focus to a type of bacteria that more accurately reflects the presence of pathogens that can make people ...

Proteins boost quantum coherence in bacteria

01/12/2013
A new theory of how plant photosynthesis involves quantum coherence has been suggested by physicists in the UK, Germany and Spain. This latest research is based on the study of organisms that live deep under the sea yet are able to convert sunlight into energy. The study suggests that molecular ...

Straitjacket drug halts herpes virus's escape stunt

01/11/2013
As anyone who suffers from recurrent cold sores knows, herpes is a master escapist. This family of viruses – including strains that cause lesions on the genitals, infectious mononucleosis (glandular fever) and, in some cases, blindness and birth defects – is able to wriggle free of the body's defences, reactivating ...

Feeling Miserable? You're Not Alone, And The Flu Epidemic Has Yet To Peak

01/11/2013
If you haven't caught the flu yet or don't know someone who has, you might want to buy a lottery ticket today. You're one lucky person. As The Associated Press writes, "from the Rocky Mountains to New England, hospitals are swamped with people with flu symptoms." More than 40 states report ...

Virus Caught in the Act of Infecting a Cell

01/11/2013
The detailed changes in the structure of a virus as it infects an E. coli bacterium have been observed for the first time, report researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health) Medical School this week in ...

Biochip vortex spins to sort bacteria by size

01/11/2013
By varying laser and electric fields, scientists can use tiny centrifuge-like whirlpools to separate particles and microbes. The technology could bring innovative sensors and analytical devices for lab-on-a-chip applications, or miniature instruments that perform measurements normally requiring large laboratory equipment. Rapid electrokinetic patterning (REP) is a potential new tool for applications, including ...

A scientific controversy: Feathers fly

01/10/2013
In the mid-19th century, if you had wanted to have a scientific fight, you could have picked no better subject than palaeontology. Fossils pouring out of the mines, quarries and railway cuttings of the industrial revolution were undermining the biblical accounts of creation and early history, then believed literally true. ...

Flu Widespread, Leading a Range of Winter’s Ills

01/10/2013
It is not your imagination — more people you know are sick this winter, even people who have had flu shots. The country is in the grip of three emerging flu or flulike epidemics: an early start to the annual flu season with an unusually aggressive virus, a surge in a ...

Brazilians fight dengue with bacteria

01/07/2013
Dengue epidemics continue to break out in South America. Last year, more than 100,000 people contracted dengue fever in Rio de Janeiro alone. In its fight against the deadly virus, the city is employing unique methods. The endless battle against Rio de Janeiro's mosquitoes takes Luciano do Campos Lobo to dark ...

Challenge #1: Cheap Climate Sensors for Microbe Study

01/06/2013
Discover Magazine is partnering with Instructables and SciStarter, an online citizen science community, to solve real problems facing researchers. The Citizen Science Contest is your opportunity to help millions of regular people contribute to scientific discovery. Prizes include a Celestron telescope, DISCOVER subscriptions, and time-lapse cameras! But hurry, the deadline ...

Deep sea bacteria could provide breakthroughs for solar panels

01/06/2013
Bacteria that live almost a mile under the surface of the ocean, where light is scare, have adapted biological ways to harness tiny amounts of light very efficiently, and in some cases can use photosynthesis to convert 100 percent of the light they find into electricity. In contrast a typical ...

The Virus Hunter: Erica Ollmann Saphire takes on deadly threats

01/06/2013
Deep in the thicket of west Africa, on a bamboo bridge strung over raging waters, Erica Ollmann Saphire groped through the dark toward a village where pestilence can snuff out life with ruthless efficiency. She was looking for rodents. The Scripps Research Institute biologist wanted to know how and where her ...

Smile: Gingivitis Bacteria Manipulate Your Immune System So They Can Thrive in Your Gums

01/05/2013
A new research report published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology shows how the bacteria known for causing gum disease--Porphyromonas gingivalis--manipulates the body's immune system to disable normal processes that would otherwise destroy it. Specifically, the report shows that this pathogen prompts the production of the anti-inflammatory molecule Interleukin-10 (IL-10). ...

'We are 90% bacteria,' says researcher for Hospital Microbiome Project

01/05/2013
Biologist Daniel Smith crouched in an empty patient room at the new University of Chicago hospital and dragged a white cotton swab across the gleaming tile. Smith studied the dust-smudged tip before breaking it off into a plastic tube labeled "floor." "A good sample for us," said Smith, securing the tiny vial ...

Fossil Older Than Oxygen on Earth Found in Australia

01/05/2013
Researchers have found fossils of bacteria that are nearly 3.5 billion years old, believed to be the oldest visible fossils ever uncovered. The fossils, found in northwest Australia's Pilbara region, are from a time before oxygen existed on Earth and are from just one billion years after Earth's formation, according to ...

Breast Milk Contains Over 700 Bacteria Species

01/05/2013
Humans carry around loads of living bacteria that are crucial for good health, and through breastfeeding, infants make some of their first contact with beneficial microorganisms that will colonize their body. Scientists have discovered that breast milk contains more species of bacteria than originally expected — more than 700 varieties. The ...

Carl Woese Dies at 84; Discovered Life’s ‘Third Domain’

01/02/2013
Carl Woese, a biophysicist and evolutionary microbiologist whose discovery 35 years ago of a “third domain” of life in the vast realm of micro-organisms altered scientific understanding of evolution, died on Sunday at his home in Urbana, Ill. He was 84. His death was announced by the University of Illinois, where ...

Archiving Influenza

12/31/2012
The University of Michigan Center for the History of Medicine launched a new website in October called "The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919: A Digital Encyclopedia." As the name suggests, the site is a chronicle of the American experience during the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 -- the Spanish flu pandemic -- ...

Remote Sensing, Microbiology Used to Trace Foodborne Pathogens

12/31/2012
In 2011, an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes in cantaloupe led to almost 150 illnesses and 30 deaths. With a spate of recent outbreaks of such foodborne pathogens as Salmonella , Shiga toxin-producing E. coli and L. monocytogenes , the ability to predict where and how these deadly microbes enter the ...

Two Projects Aim to Learn How Microbes Affect Health

12/30/2012
The “quantified self” movement might need a new name. Enthusiasts are now tracking not just themselves but the trillions of bacteria that live in and on their bodies. Self-trackers use smartphone apps and gadgets to keep tabs on how much they exercise and what they eat—as well as their blood ...

Study: Wine flavor down to microbes

12/30/2012
Different microbes may create variations in otherwise identical wine grapes in the same vineyard and affect the wine's flavor, South African researchers say. Mathabatha Setati and colleagues from Stellenbosch University said various microbes could contribute to flavor fluctuations in samples of grapes from one vineyard as they are fermenting in different ...

New fish bacteria named after Hong Kong

12/30/2012
Hong Kong has earned another accolade, with a new bacteria named after the city. Streptococcus hongkongensis was discovered when a worker at one of the city's fish stalls cut his thumb on a fish fin. The 44-year-old man did not seek treatment for his wound, until after a month when the swelling ...

Raccoon Virus Offers Clues to Human Cancer

12/30/2012
Rare brain tumors found in raccoons in Northern California and Oregon may be linked to a new virus, according to a new study. Researchers, led by scientists from the University of California, Davis, said their findings could shed light on how viruses cause cancer in both animals and humans. "Understanding how infectious ...

Permafrost microbes survive conditions similar to those on Mars

12/30/2012
If we assume that life got started during the warmer, wetter conditions of Mars' past, could it still be hanging on somewhere under its frigid, sparse atmosphere? Without a careful examination of hundreds of potential habitats around the red planet, that question is probably impossible to definitively answer. But we ...

MSU scientist finds deforestation decreases biodiversity in bacteria, too (Video)

12/29/2012
For decades, scientists have known that deforestation is one of the greatest threats to the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest, which has the highest number of plant and animal species of any region its size on the planet. Now, scientists have found out that deforestation is a threat to the ...

Lethal weapon: bacteria's high-risk suicide strategy

12/29/2012
Research published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that some bacterial cells carry a molecular 'suicide complex' to kill themselves in the event of lethal infection by viral parasites. Such 'altruistic suicide' prevents or limits viral replication and protects the rest of the bacterial ...

Poop Shows Ancient Human Gut Microbiomes Resemble Modern Non-Human Primates More Than Us

12/24/2012
If you are an organic food or paleo diet lover and think it means your gut microbiome resembles your ancestors in any way, you are wrong. We aren't even close to 100 years ago much less ancient times. The microbiome does not lie. A team analyzed microbiome data from ...

How Hepatitis C Virus Reprograms Human Liver Cells

12/24/2012
Hepatitis C virus has evolved to invade and hijack the basic machinery of the human liver cell to ensure its survival and spread. Researchers at the University of North have discovered how hepatitis C binds with and repurposes a basic component of cellular metabolism known as a microRNA to help ...

Virus jumps from goats to man

12/24/2012
The next time you sacrifice a sheep or a goat during a major religious festival or ritual, make sure that you purchase a healthy animal, free of viral infection. If possible, get it examined by a veterinary doctor. Health experts, faced with frequent cases of Orf virus, have now called for ...

Trojan-horse therapy 'completely eliminates' cancer in mice

12/23/2012
An experimental "Trojan-horse" cancer therapy has completely eliminated prostate cancer in experiments on mice, according to UK researchers. The team hid cancer killing viruses inside the immune system in order to sneak them into a tumour. Once inside, a study in the journal Cancer Research showed, tens of thousands of viruses were ...

Scientists Identify Infection Strategy of Widespread Virus

12/23/2012
Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have mapped the molecular mechanism by which a virus known as cytomegalovirus (CMV) so successfully infects its hosts. This discovery paves the way for new research avenues aimed at fighting this and other seemingly benign viruses that can turn deadly. Not all viruses are created equal. ...

San Marino students study how bacteria fares in space

12/23/2012
Some children ask Santa for a pony. Others want video games. But Christmas came early for a group of San Marino High School science prodigies, with a special delivery from the International Space Station. The package: a plastic tube containing bacteria grown in space, opened Dec. 15 in a laboratory at ...

Training Dogs To Sniff Out Bacteria In Hospitals

12/22/2012
This is Cliff. He’s a two-year-old beagle who could become hospitals’ newest, cutest weapon against infections by the bacterium Clostridium difficille. Hospitals around the world are rife with contagious C. diff infections, which kill thousands and sicken many more every year, raising health care costs, increasing the length of hospital ...

Bacteria Needed to Make Fertile Soil

12/22/2012
Remains of dead bacteria have far greater meaning for soils than previously assumed. Around 40 per cent of the microbial biomass is converted to organic soil components, write researchers from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), the Technische Universität Dresden (Technical University of Dresden) , the University of Stockholm, ...

Stroke Drug Kills Bacteria That Cause Ulcers and Tuberculosis

12/22/2012
A drug currently being used to treat ischemic strokes may prove to be a significant advance in the treatment of tuberculosis and ulcers. In a new research report appearing online in The FASEB Journal, a compound called ebselen effectively inhibits the thioredoxin reductase system in a wide variety of bacteria, ...

Wild Colorado: New virus could protect Colo. bat colonies

12/17/2012
A disease impacting bat colonies in North America has yet to surface in Colorado. However, a new study is giving hope to local wildlife biologists on the look-out for potential outbreaks. Bats with the white-nose syndrome are prone to immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), a virus that is similar to AIDS, ...

Virus rebuilds heart's own pacemaker in animal tests

12/17/2012
A new pacemaker has been built inside a heart by converting beating muscle into cells which can organise the organ's rhythm, US researchers report. The heartbeat is controlled by electrical signals and if these go awry the consequences can be fatal. Scientists injected a genetically-modified virus into guinea pigs to turn part ...

OpEd: For human reasons, bacteria are winning

12/16/2012
I hope you never have this experience: A loved one is hospitalized. Her doctors tell you her infection is resistant to antibiotics. She dies. More than 60,000 American families go through that experience each year -- and the number is almost certain to rise. Multidrug-resistant organisms are showing up in top-flight ...

Protein signaling between soybean root hairs, bacteria reveals core cellular processes

12/16/2012
Understanding what happens to a soybean root hair system infected by symbiotic, nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria, Bradyrhizobium japonicum, could go a long way toward using this symbiosis to redesign plants and improve crop yields, benefitting both food and biofuel production. Because of their extensive genomes, it is especially difficult to use ...

New Findings On Killer Bacteria’s Defence

12/16/2012
New research from Lund University casts new light on the interaction between the immune system and streptococcus bacteria, which cause both mild tonsillitis and serious infections such as sepsis and necrotising fasciitis. The way in which antibodies attach to the bacteria is linked to how serious the disease is. Antibodies are ...

Promiscuous Virus

12/16/2012
A coronavirus—genetically related to the SARS virus—that caused two infections and sparked the World Health Organization to issue an alert in September may be able to jump from a variety of bats and pigs to humans, and back again, according to a study published last month (November 20) in mBio. ...

Ebola Virus Uses a Protein Decoy to Subvert the Host Immune Response

12/16/2012
In a study published today in the open access journal PLOS Pathogens, researchers at Emory University have discovered a potentially important mechanism by which the Ebola virus alters and evades the immune response of its infected host. Ebola virus is the causative agent of Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF), a disease with ...

The New Coronavirus: More Cases, More Deaths, Unclear Transmission

12/16/2012
There’s lots of news to catch up with regarding the new coronavirus that emerged last summer in the Middle East and has been causing concern to international health authorities all autumn: additional cases, additional deaths, and new lab evidence that is more than a little concerning. First: The case count has ...

X-rays find weak spot in ulcer bacteria

12/15/2012
Powerful X-rays have revealed a potential way to attack Helicobacter pylori, a stomach bacteria harbored by at least half the world’s population. In 1982, Australian scientists extracted bacteria from a person’s stomach, grew them in a petri dish, and identified them as the cause of ulcers and gastritis. Hundreds of millions of ...

Pasta And Bamboo Reimagined As Bacteria And DNA

12/15/2012
Fun pictures from Popular Science...

New Peatland Bacteria Feed On Greenhouse Gas and Excess Fertilizer

12/15/2012
Researchers from Radboud University Nijmegen and B-WARE Research Centre have discovered new methane-consuming bacteria in the soil beneath the Brunssummerheide peatland reserve in Limburg, the Netherlands. Although the bacteria may be the result of environmental pollution, they are now consuming the harmful greenhouse gas. Applied and Environmental Microbiology has published the ...

New Burden of Disease study shows world’s people living longer but with more disability

12/14/2012
The health of most of the planet’s population is rapidly coming to resemble that of the United States, where death in childhood is rare, too much food is a bigger problem than too little, and life is long and often darkened by disability. High blood pressure is now the leading “risk ...

Special Review for H5N1 Grants?

12/10/2012
Last week (November 27), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a proposal that would require that some grant applications involving the H5N1 avian influenza virus—which became the source of much debate earlier this year when researchers evolved the deadly virus to be transmissible between mammals—undergo additional department-wide or government-wide ...

Overuse of hospital antibiotics led to deadly superbug outbreak

12/10/2012
The widespread use of antibiotics in hospitals triggered the emergence of two resistant strains of the Clostridium superbug that has killed thousands of people worldwide over the past two decades, a study has shown. A genetic analysis of about 300 samples of Clostridium difficile bacteria collected from around the world found ...

European labs use novel coronavirus tests, devise new ones

12/09/2012
Diagnostic tests for the novel coronavirus (CoV) that recently emerged in the Middle East are being deployed rapidly in Europe, and about 250 patients have already been tested for the virus, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). An ECDC survey revealed that a screening test for ...

Beer May Have Anti-Virus Properties, According To Study Funded By Sapporo Breweries

12/09/2012
Does beer have anti-virus powers? According to a new study funded by Japanese beer company Sapporo Breweries, a "key ingredient" found in the world's most popular alcoholic beverage may very well help stave off winter sniffles. Researchers at Sapporo Medical University found that humulone, a chemical compound in hops, was effective ...

Scientists Find New Bacteria That Feasts On Antibiotics

12/08/2012
Scientists have found a soil bacteria that not only resists the toxic effects of antibiotics -- it makes a meal out of them. Many bacteria can protect themselves from antibiotics by modifying the compounds to make them harmless or by pumping the compounds out of their cells entirely. And other bacteria ...

Nickel-eating bacteria blamed for the world's worst extinction

12/08/2012
Nickel-eating bacteria may have worsened the world's worst mass die-off by producing huge amounts of methane, a new study suggests. The study is the latest attempt to explain how most of the world's ocean species died off in just a few hundred thousand years at the end of the Permian era, ...

Research: Gut Bacteria's Genomes are Unique, Stable

12/08/2012
We all have E. coli bacteria in our gut but each of us carries a version that is genetically slightly different. The same can be said of most gut microbes: our own gut metagenome, that is the sum of all the genomes of all our gut microbes, appears to be ...

Fungal Meningitis From Injections: Not Even Close To Over (blog)

12/06/2012
(excerpted from Maryn McKenna's excellent blog for Wired Magazine; 'Superbug') There’s been an extraordinary outbreak going on over the past few months here in the United States: cases of fungal meningitis, a rare illness, primarily caused by Exserohilum rostratum, a plant pathogen that is equally rare as a cause of human ...

Tracking down sources of disease outbreaks around the world

12/03/2012
Joel Montgomery spends most of his time working with his team of epidemiologists to suppress outbreaks of dengue fever and Rift Valley fever in Kenya. "Both are mosquito-borne diseases that can be fatal," Montgomery said. "We're concerned about Rift Valley fever getting to the U.S., because it can infect cattle." But on ...

Fresh bread for 60 days? Researchers say Microzap technology paves the way.

12/02/2012
A Lubbock, Texas-based company called Microzap has developed a method to keep bread edible for 60 days, BBC News reported. Typically, bread goes moldy in about 10 days. The company’s researchers realized that a microwave device they designed to kill bacteria such as MRSA and salmonella could also be used to ...

Scientists Create Computer Model To Forecast Flu Outbreaks

12/02/2012
Scientists have developed a computer model for predicting flu outbreaks weeks in advance, raising the tantalizing possibility of "flu forecasts" that might one day help guide such decisions as when to ramp up vaccine production or close schools. The new flu model, described in a study published this week in ...

Lighting Up Chickens to Prevent Bird Flu Pandemics

12/02/2012
Flu season is just around the corner. As winter approaches, the cold forces us into the warmth of our homes, where interactions with our fellow humans are magnified by increased close contact. These conditions are ideal for the spread of the influenza virus, which is mainly spread by sneezes. A tear-inducing, ...

Get to know the bacteria and viruses that call your body home

12/02/2012
Are you willing to take a close look at yourself for science? A really, really close look? A team of scientists in the Bay Area is inviting citizen scientists to join them in a quest to create the largest database of human microbiomes in the world. The human microbiome is the ecosystem of ...

Man-made Bacteria Fights Man-Made Chemical Mess

12/02/2012
Researchers have developed a bacteria strain that is uniquely effective at degrading the toxic industrial chemicals known as PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls. PCBs are toxic man-made organic chemicals that pose a threat to human health and to the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency has classified PCBs as potential human carcinogens known to ...

Ladies Prefer Thin Over Macho

12/01/2012
Macho features have long been touted as an evolutionary asset that heterosexual women look for in a potential mate. But new research suggests weight may be a more powerful driver of attraction. Macho features such as a strong jaw and squinty eyes advertise that a guy possesses high testosterone, according to ...

Photosynthetic Bacteria Pick Best Light (podcast)

12/01/2012
You might say blue-green algae are optimists: they put things in the best possible light—literally. Actually, the organisms aren’t really algae. They’re photosynthetic ocean bacteria. And they can fine-tune their photosynthetic apparatus to take advantage of the predominant wavelength of light. Now researchers have figured out how one of ...

Bacteria are raising fears of illness that can't be stopped

12/01/2012
The doctors tried one antibiotic after another, racing to stop the infection as it tore through the man's body, but nothing worked. Just days after the middle-age patient arrived at the University of Virginia Medical Center, the stubborn bacteria in his blood had fought off even what doctors consider "drugs of ...

Antarctic bacteria a clue to different kinds of life: study

12/01/2012
A study by polar researchers has revealed an ancient community of bacteria able to thrive in the lightless, oxygen-depleted, salty environment beneath nearly 70 feet of ice in an Antarctic lake, giving insight into the unique ecosystem. The research, funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA, provides clues about biochemical ...

'Repurposed' Anti-Parasite Drug Shows Promise as New Tuberculosis Treatment, Research Finds

11/28/2012
A well-established family of drugs used to treat parasitic diseases is showing surprising potential as a therapy for tuberculosis (TB), according to new research from University of British Columbia microbiologists. The findings, published online this week in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, are based on in vitro tests of the ...

Study reports faster, more economical method for detecting bioterror threats

11/26/2012
Texas Biomedical Research Institute scientists in San Antonio have developed a faster, less expensive route to screen suitable tests for bioterror threats and accelerate the application of countermeasures. The new process screens for pairs of affinity reagents – molecular magnets that bind to and hold on to their targets, be ...

Scientists describe elusive replication machinery of flu viruses

11/25/2012
Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have made a major advance in understanding how flu viruses replicate within infected cells. The researchers used cutting-edge molecular biology and electron-microscopy techniques to "see" one of influenza's essential protein complexes in unprecedented detail. The images generated in the study show flu virus ...

Two Dead As A Result Of New SARS-Like Virus

11/25/2012
A new coronavirus, similar in nature to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), has infected six and resulted in two deaths in the Middle East, various media outlets have reported this weekend. According to BBC News, the number of reported cases, as well as the number of fatalities linked with the respiratory ...

How the animals lost their sensors

11/25/2012
For free-living organisms, the ability to sense and respond to the outside environment is crucial for survival. Eukaryotes, such as animals and plants, often have highly complex network systems in place to monitor their surroundings and respond effectively, but bacteria have developed a remarkably simple system. It’s called the ‘Two ...

Human gut may engineer its bacterial environment via secretions

11/24/2012
The human gut may help control the bacterial populations that live within it via secretions that kill some bacteria while supporting others, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal PLoS Biology. The gut is an enormously complex environment inhabited not only by human cells but also by trillions of ...

Super Gonorrhea Bacteria Spur New Treatment Regimen in Europe

11/24/2012
Pfizer Inc.’s Zithromax or a generic version of the antibiotic pill should be added to the standard treatment for gonorrhea to fight multidrug-resistant strains of the sexually transmitted bacterium, doctors in Europe said. New European guidelines for sexually transmitted infections recommend giving azithromycin as well as the injected medicine ceftriaxone, which ...

Experiments That Keep Going And Going And Going

11/24/2012
A biologist who has been watching a dozen bottles of bacteria evolve for nearly a quarter of a century is hoping he can find someone to keep his lab experiment going long after he dies. Meanwhile, just by coincidence, a botanist who works across campus is carefully tending an experiment that ...

Welton Taylor, microbiologist, 1919-2012

11/24/2012
Welton Taylor had a distinguished career as a microbiologist and expert on foodborne illnesses, but he always saw himself first as a civil rights activist. An Alabama native, Mr. Taylor promoted racial equality from the Army and college to his years in Chicago, where in the 1950s he was one of ...

German lab: Qatar man suffered from new virus

11/23/2012
A patient from Qatar has been confirmed with a new virus related to SARS, while health officials are investigating whether it may have spread between humans after close contact in Saudi Arabia. Germany's Robert Koch Institute said Friday that the Qatari patient fell ill in October with severe respiratory problems. He ...

Antimicrobial resistance in fish pathogenic bacteria and other bacteria in aquatic environments

11/19/2012
Little attention has been paid to the use of antibiotics in the aquaculture industry as one reason for the increase in bacteria resistant to antibiotics and the spread of such resistance to other bacteria. Since the antibiotics that are used in veterinary medicine and aquaculture belong to the same group ...

FDA Panel Gives Nod to Bird Flu Vaccine

11/18/2012
An FDA advisory panel has voted in favor of a vaccine against the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu that would be stockpiled and used in case of pandemic. By twin votes of 14-0, the panel agreed that the immunogenicity and the safety of the vaccine, made in Quebec by GlaxoSmithKline, were ...

New SARS-like virus discovered before it causes outbreak (from October)

11/18/2012
Four months ago, a mucus sample arrived in Dr. Ali Mohamed Zaki’s laboratory in Saudi Arabia. The mucus had been coughed up by a 60-year-old Saudi Arabian man with a strange case of pneumonia. He had been admitted to the Dr. Soliman Fakeeh hospital in Jeddah on June 13; soon after, ...

Live chat replay: microbiologist Keith Warriner on dirty hotels

11/18/2012
Last week, CBC's Marketplace uncovered antibiotic-resistant bacteria on bathroom sinks, remote controls and bed throws. Warriner's tests found C. difficile, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other such bugs in every one of the 54 hotels tested. This week, the consumer watchdog show turns its attention to hotel ice machines and air ...

Congress' Microbiologist Refuses to Give Up Antibiotic Fight

11/18/2012
Rep. Louise M. Slaughter is not a runner, but she shares a marathoner’s philosophy when it comes to legislation: She’s in it for the long haul. It took several years for her to get a ban on genetic discrimination signed into law in 2008. Slaughter said she worked six years before ...

Bacteria on Binkies: A Recipe for Crankiness

11/17/2012
Pacifiers are among the most aptly named baby paraphernalia, but what if, instead of curing crankiness, they are actually causing babies to be more unruly? That’s what the latest research suggests: that binkies can be teeming with bacteria, yeast and mold that can actually sicken babies rather than soothe them. Pacifiers breed ...

How Bacteria Came To Live Inside Insects

11/17/2012
Symbiotic microbes’ origin discovered after man impales hand on branch Two years ago, a 71-year-old Indiana man impaled his hand on a branch after cutting down a dead crab apple tree, causing an infection that led University of Utah scientists to discover a new bacterium and solve a mystery about how ...

UTI-causing bacteria becoming more resistant to treatment

11/17/2012
Certain kinds of bacteria that cause urinary tract infections are becoming tougher to treat with current antibiotics, according to new research from Extending the Cure. UTIs are the second most common infection in the United States. ETC, a project of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy, recently released the ...

Study: Flu, fever in pregnancy linked to autism risk

11/13/2012
In a study that's already being greeted with notes of caution, Danish researchers report that children whose mothers had the flu or ran a fever lasting more than a week during pregnancy had an increased risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder. U.S. health officials stress that the new study, out ...

Peanut Allergies More Common in Kids from Wealthy Families

11/12/2012
Children from wealthy families may more likely to have peanut allergies than those less well-off, a new study finds. In the study, children ages 1 to 9 from high-income families had higher rates of peanut allergies compared with children these ages from lower income families. The researchers analyzed information from 8,306 children ...

Anti-bacterial chemical triclosan shows up in rivers, causes concern

11/12/2012
Three decades ago, some companies began adding a chemical called triclosan to their products and tried to convince consumers that their hand soap or toothpaste was better because it was “anti-bacterial.” Now, scientists are finding traces of that compound in the environment, and it’s causing concern about its potential effects on ...

Dengue nation: The rise and spread of a viral challenge

11/11/2012
The last few decades have seen dengue, a mosquito-borne viral infection, becoming one of the major public health concerns in the tropical and sub-tropical countries. So much so that over 40 per cent of the world’s population (2.5 billion) is at risk from dengue. According to the World Health Organisation, ...

Meth Helps Fight The Flu, Study Suggests

11/11/2012
And they said meth never did a body good. A study conducted by researchers in Taiwan found that methamphetamine may possess flu-fighting properties, Medical Daily reported. The study, published Tuesday in PLoS One, exposed human lung cells to varying quantities meth, then infected them with Influenza A (H1N1) viruses, a common subtype ...

How Bacteria Talk to Each Other and Our Cells

11/11/2012
Bacteria talk to each other using N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs) as quorum sensing (QS) signals. This signaling allows the bacteria to control gene expression of virulence factors and biofilms once a critical density has been achieved. This phenomenon, quorum sensing, is important when an infection propagates. Now, researchers at Linköping University in ...

Daily Doses Of New Probiotic Reduces Bad And Total Cholesterol

11/11/2012
As someone who has been taking a daily regimen of probiotics for some time now, a recent study was of particular interest to me. Probiotics, for those of you who don’t already know, are live microorganisms that are found to benefit the microbiome in your stomach and intestinal tract. They ...

Cranking Up Biosecurity

11/11/2012
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made the decision to list the SARS virus as a select agent, along with recently discovered haemorrhagic-fever viruses, Lujo and Chapare. This classification, which classifies pathogens or toxins as having the “potential to pose a severe threat to public ...

Rotavirus vaccine plan for babies

11/11/2012
All babies are to be vaccinated against a highly infectious bug that is one of the most common causes of diarrhoea in children. From September next year, infants aged between two and four months will be immunised against rotavirus - which causes diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever and dehydration. At present, almost ...

Microbiologists Will Watch As Bacteria Take Over This Hospital

11/10/2012
We often think of the world around us as sterile and static, especially when we are in a hospital. In reality, every surface on earth is literally teeming with millions of bacteria. Jack Gilbert, a microbiologist from the University of Chicago, has spent his career investigating these invisible companions all around ...

Combined bacterial/metal catalysis turns sugars to jet fuel

11/10/2012
Although battery-powered vehicles are making great strides, it's tough to match the energy densities found in hydrocarbons. So they'll always be an excellent choice for applications where weight or long distances are involved—think airplanes and ships—but our planet has a finite supply of easy-to-extract hydrocarbons. At some point, we'll inevitably ...

'Superbug' bacteria found in tested Canadian hotel rooms

11/10/2012
Potentially deadly antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” including C. difficile and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, were among the disturbing findings uncovered in a CBC Marketplace test conducted in dozens of hotel rooms across the country. In a comprehensive survey, Marketplace did a battery of tests in 54 hotel rooms across six major hotel chains, testing ...

Drinking Pig Worms to Fight Crohn's Disease

11/09/2012
Eight years ago, Herbert Smith (not his real name) did the unthinkable -- he swallowed thousands of microscopic pig whipworm eggs in a desperate try to quell his advancing Crohn's disease. "There was nothing to it," said Smith, a 33-year old financial analyst from New York. "It was drinking half a ...

CDC releases report on worldwide influenza projects

11/04/2012
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an annual report on Monday profiling a variety of CDC influenza-related projects from around the world, including epidemiology training, vaccine effectiveness studies and flu surveillance. The CDC began its international flu efforts in 1997 when the agency investigated the first human infections ...

New Light On the Genetic Basis of Inflammatory Diseases

11/04/2012
In one of the largest studies of its kind ever conducted, an international team of scientists has thrown new light on the genetic basis of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, the two most common forms of IBD, are chronic inflammatory digestive disorders. Dr. John Rioux, researcher ...

Does the flu shot curb heart disease?

11/04/2012
Here's something to consider if you haven't gotten your flu shot: people who are vaccinated may have a lower risk of heart disease. In two separate studies presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, researchers say the influenza vaccine may reduce the risk of heart related disease and death by up to ...

To ward off flu: Shot or nasal spray? Depends on age

11/04/2012
When it comes to flu vaccines, most kids clearly and loudly prefer the nasal spray over the traditional shot in the arm. As it turns out, those instincts are right on the nose. With mounting evidence that the FluMist nasal spray works much better in kids than an injection, flu experts are ...

Non-Stick Surface On Med Devices Could Keep Bacteria At Bay

11/03/2012
Nasty bacteria cling to the surfaces of countertops. They also stick to medical devices—like catheters—that are placed inside the human body, where they can become a dangerous source of infection. Individually, bacteria are fairly easily killed. But if they multiply on a surface, they eventually form a biofilm—a tightly organized bacterial ...

Plants Recognize Pathogenic and Beneficial Microorganisms

11/03/2012
In collaboration with national and international experts, researchers from Aarhus University have revealed new fundamental features of biomolecular interactions that enable plants to identify and respond appropriately to microorganisms. The new results provide a better understanding of the mechanisms governing the ability of plants to interact with beneficial microorganisms while ...

Staying Still or Going Hunting: Which Works Better for a Hungry Ocean Microbe?

11/03/2012
For the kinds of animals that are most familiar to us -- ones that are big enough to see -- it's a no-brainer: Is it better to sit around and wait for food to come to you, or to move around and find it? Larger animals that opt to sit ...

Team Gearing Up For Gut Microbiome Crowdsourcing Project

11/03/2012
A group of scientists based at several institutions in the US and beyond are getting set to kick off a crowdsourcing study called the "American Gut Project," aimed at assessing gut microbial communities in 10,000 or more individuals in the US in relation to their diet and lifestyle. "The big question ...

City to Use Bacteria to Clean Rivers

11/03/2012
The effort to overcome waste problems in the capital city keeps being conducted by Jakarta Provincial Government. This time, together with a Chinese company, Jakarta Provincial Government is planning to cultivate bacteria that have the ability to decompose wastes or sediments buildup on the riverbed. For the initial step, the ...

Beautiful Bacteria: How To Make Art From E. Coli

10/29/2012
Bacteria can be pernicious, but they also keep your stomach digesting, turn cucumbers into beloved pickles, and can, apparently, also be used to make art. Of course, it all depends on how you want to define "art." But Zachary Copfer finds himself precisely where it intersects with science. "I believe that ...

Bacterial Cocktail Treats Infection

10/29/2012
Clostridium difficile is a common disease in hospitals and nursing homes and causes some 14,000 deaths each year in the United States. The disease can be treated with antibiotics, but the bacteria produce spores that resist common disinfection techniques, resulting in a high rate of re-infection. (See “Wrestling with Recurrent ...

Viruses act like self-packing suitcases

10/29/2012
Researchers at the University of Leeds have identified a crucial stage in the lifecycle of simple viruses like polio and the common cold that could open a new front in the war on viral disease. The team are the first to observe at a single-molecule level how the genetic material (genome) ...

Diet Determines Feline Gut Microbiome

10/29/2012
What grows in the gut, for animals and people, is affected by diet. Beginning at birth, gut microbial colonies, known as gut microbiome, start forming. The composition of these colonies plays a big part in how the immune system develops and is linked to the later onset of metabolic diseases ...

Railways bacteria plants to dole out more bio-toilets

10/29/2012
The railways will set up three bacteria generation plants as part of its effort to equip more coaches with bio-toilets for eco-friendly waste disposal. The Indian Railways have set a target of installing bio-toilets designed by the DRDO in 2,500 coaches in the current fiscal. Bacteria plants will be set up ...

Lyme disease bacterium shows resistance thanks to biofilm according to study

10/28/2012
The agent of Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) has been shown to have the ability to hide and demonstrate resistance from harsh environmental conditions to antibiotics used to treat the infection, thanks to the formation of a biofilm, according to a University of New Haven news release Oct. 24. The research, ...

The changing microflora of bacteria in the lungs

10/28/2012
Any part of the human body that is open to the outside world it available for the colonisation of bacteria. While this blog has covered bacteria in the gut, the vagina and the throat, one area I’ve neglected to cover is the bacteria that get into the lungs. As the ...

Mouse model could help identify viral vectors that may cause tumors

10/28/2012
Modified viruses used to deliver genetic material into cells, known as viral vectors, have become the go-to delivery capsule in gene therapy. Capitalizing on their viral nature, investigators use viral vectors to efficiently target certain cells and deliver genetic material into the cell nucleus where native genes reside. ...
10/28/2012
Researchers report that swine and human influenza A/H3N2 viruses associated with an Ohio county fair held in July make a nearly perfect genetic match, suggesting that there is almost no biological barrier to prevent such viruses from passing between humans and pigs. The authors sequenced the genomes of H3N2 viruses isolated ...

Fecal Bacteria Overpower Highly Contagious C. diff Strain

10/27/2012
A mix of six different bacteria found naturally in the healthy gut system of mice and isolated from feces can succeed where antibiotics fail, and eradicate murine infection by highly contagious strains of the Gram-positive anaerobe Clostridium difficile, including the human epidemic 027/BI strain, report scientists at the Wellcome Trust ...

Bacteria, yeast a diner's delight at Denmark's Noma

10/27/2012
While ant paste, milk curd and berry preserves make up the "Blueberries and ant" dish at Denmark's restaurant Noma, bacteria and yeast will soon be next for diners at the eatery which has been crowned world's best restaurant for three years. Located on the ground floor of a renovated listed 18th ...

Mold, bacteria found in pharmacy linked to meningitis outbreak

10/27/2012
The Massachusetts pharmacy at the heart of a probe into a deadly meningitis outbreak may have violated federal health laws, U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigators said Friday, saying mold and bacteria were found in areas where drugs were mixed. Cases of fungal meningitis have reached 28 states, including Maryland, where ...

Lab that made tainted steroid shots to get 'CSI' treatment

10/24/2012
Investigators are sifting through records and testing a Massachusetts lab to determine how a fungus associated with a form of meningitis worked its way into products that should have been sterile. "It's really 'CSI' stuff," says Eric Kastango, president and owner of ClincalIQ, a New Jersey-based consulting firm that aims to ...

Calling All Germs

10/23/2012
When you combine a cellphone's proximity to your ears, nose and mouth with its bacteria-loving warmth, the result can be harmful to your health. This hazard, says Jeffrey Cain, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and chief of family medicine at Children's Hospital Colorado, often goes unnoticed. ...

Vaccine Fails to Prevent Infections in Heart Surgery

10/22/2012
A vaccine developed to prevent surgical wounds from infection with Staphylococcus aureus failed to provide benefit to patients, and may actually have increased mortality when compared with placebo, researchers said here. In the study, 201 of 3,958 patients who were inoculated with the S. aureus vaccine died -- a rate of ...

Sebaldella termitidis bacteria

10/22/2012
This digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicted a small grouping of Gram-negative Sebaldella termitidis bacteria. Recently, “the genome of ATCC 33386 S. termitidis was recently sequenced as part of the U.S. Department of Energy - Joint Genome Institute’s (DOE-JGI) Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea (GEBA) project. The GEBA project is ...

Researchers report on new SARS-like coronavirus

10/21/2012
In June, a formerly healthy 60-year-old man was admitted to a hospital in Jidda, Saudi Arabia. He had been sick with a fever, cough and shortness of breath for several days; in the week that followed he developed severe pneumonia and renal failure. He died 11 days after ...

Nature Vs Nurture In Oral Health: Nurture Wins

10/21/2012
Environment is shown to play a much more significant role in the mouth's microbial set up than genes. The human mouth is a community bustling with microorganisms that live there. Little knowledge exists about what factors control which types that live there and which don't. In a new study published in ...

Bacteria that work together to cause infection (blog post)

10/21/2012
There are lots of things I enjoy about studying bacteria. I love their biochemistry and the secret inner workings of their metabolic pathways. I love that everything they do they manage within the confines of a single cell, and I love that you can go into a bacterial cell fairly ...

Bacterial genes energy-sensing switch discovery could have broad implications

10/21/2012
Biochemists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered a genetic sequence that can alter its host gene's activity in response to cellular energy levels. The scientists have found this particular energy-sensing switch in bacterial genes, which could make it a target for a powerful new class of antibiotics. If ...

Amoeba acts as ‘anthrax incubator’ according to study

10/21/2012
Up until now, scientists believed that the environmentally-resistant spores of Bacillus anthracis survived in a dormant state until it was ingested by a ruminating mammal like a cow and allowed to germinate. Researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine are now saying that the bacteria has found the ability ...

Repelling Viruses, Reviving Mammoths

10/20/2012
Yes, you can teach old bacteria new tricks. It is now routine to genetically reprogram microbes to make plastics, biofuels, vaccines and antibiotics. They have been engineered to detect arsenic levels in drinking water, destroy cancer cells and store digital data in DNA, making bacteria into biological flash drives. But we ...

Leaves of Chocolate Substitute Fight Food-Poisoning

10/20/2012
Leaves of the plant that yields carob — the substitute for chocolate that some consider healthier than chocolate — are a rich source of antibacterial substances ideal for fighting the microbe responsible for listeriosis, a serious form of food poisoning, according to a report in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and ...

Boy's 'miracle' cure from flesh-eating bacteria leads pope to name Native American saint

10/20/2012
Jake Finkbonner was so close to death after flesh-eating bacteria infected him through a cut on his lip that his parents had last rites performed and were discussing donating the 5-year-old's tiny organs. Jake's 2006 cure from the infection was deemed medically inexplicable by the Vatican, the "miracle" needed to propel ...

Feds raid Massachusetts lab tied to meningitis outbreak

10/17/2012
Federal agents on Tuesday raided the Massachusetts pharmacy linked to a widespread meningitis outbreak that has killed 16 people and sickened more than 200 others, federal prosecutors said. Agents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration searched the New England Compounding Center, or NECC, in the Boston suburb of Framingham, with ...

Making Snow With Recycled Sewage Could Breed Super Bacteria

10/17/2012
As I wrote in The Times recently, a ski resort in northern Arizona will become the first in the world to make artificial snow totally out of sewage effluent this winter. Last February, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the resort, Arizona Snowbowl, ending a 10-year legal battle ...

Steroid-linked meningitis death toll up to 15, with 205 sickened

10/15/2012
The death toll linked to a meningitis outbreak has reached 15 people across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control on Sunday. According to the center’s latest figures, 205 fungal meningitis cases have been reported, with the bulk of them in Tennessee (53), Michigan (41), Virginia (34) and ...

The Man Who Tracks Viruses Before They Spread

10/14/2012
The New Yorker once called virologist Nathan Wolfe "the world's most prominent virus hunter." Wolfe, the director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, spends his days tracking emerging infectious diseases before they turn into deadly pandemics. In The Viral Storm, Wolfe describes how most of those emerging infectious diseases originally start ...

Good Viruses Will Fight Acne as 1915 Discovery Is Revived

10/14/2012
Teens struggling with skin-scarring acne may soon find relief from an unusual source. Scientists have used genetic sequencing to identify 11 new viruses with the potential to kill the out-of-control bacteria that leads to intense breakouts. The findings add to an emerging body of research that indicates benign-to-human viruses living naturally ...

Fighting bacteria with copper

10/14/2012
Along with the main elements of carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, magnesium and sulphur, organic organisms also require trace amounts of certain other elements, including some metals. The most useful thing about the metals required by the body is that their outer electron orbitals are very close together, making it easy for ...

Could Martian Bacteria Have Seeded Earth?

10/13/2012
If you were a passenger aboard the meteorite from Mars bearing down on the town of Tata, Morocco in July 2011, you would be in a decidedly unenviable position. For one thing you’d be a bacterium — a nifty Martian bacterium, to be sure, but still. For another thing ...

Dogs, Owners May Swap Disease-Causing Oral Bacteria: Study

10/13/2012
If you're a pet-owner who kisses your dog on the mouth, you might want to think twice. A new study in the journal Archives of Oral Biology suggests that it's possible for disease-causing oral bacteria to be exchanged between dogs and their owners. Japanese researchers examined dental plaque from 66 dogs, as ...

Where You Live May Determine What Lives Inside Your Mouth

10/13/2012
Lately, we've been learning more and more about the teeming masses of bacteria inside our bodies - essentially trillions of tiny organisms that make us sick and keep us healthy. Now two scientists at the University of Colorado have dared to ask what kinds of bacteria lives inside our mouths. And ...

Ontario reports first pig-to-human H1N1 case

10/07/2012
The first Ontario case of a human contracting the H1N1 variant influenza virus from a pig has been confirmed, the province’s chief medical officer said Tuesday. “It is a first for us in Ontario,” Dr. Arlene King told the Star. King said an adult male, who is in critical but stable condition ...

UK Officials: Fatal Crimean Congo Virus Unlikely To Spread

10/07/2012
The UK’s first laboratory confirmed case of Crimean Congo Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (CCVHF) has died. Even so, health officials are stressing that this will not become a public outbreak. The Health Protection Agency is adamant the 38-year-old unnamed man poses no threat to others. “It can be acquired from an infected ...

Controversial "Arsenic Life" Bacterium Prefers Phosphorus After All

10/07/2012
A bacterium that some scientists thought could use arsenic in place of phosphorus in its DNA actually goes to extreme lengths to grab any traces of phosphorus it can find. The finding clears up a lingering question sparked by a controversial study, published in Science in 2010, which claimed that the ...

Cystitis: How bacteria get into your bladder (blog)

10/07/2012
Over the last year, it’s become more and more apparent that I do, in fact, have recurrent cystitis. Having cystitis is a bit like entering the matrix – until I had my first attack I’d never even known it was a disease. It doesn’t appear in books, films or classroom ...

Vipers Go Viral

10/06/2012
Every year as the days grow warmer, the Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) reemerges along the eastern coast of the United States, where it causes devastating disease in horses and, more rarely, humans. Scientists have long wondered how the virus, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito, ...

Arabian Coronavirus: Plot Thickens But Virus Lies Low

10/06/2012
It now appears that the new coronavirus found on the Arabian Peninsula is more widespread than initially thought, even though only two people are known to have gotten sick from it. At first it seemed likely that the two known cases of illness from the new cousin-of-SARS virus may have been ...

Probiotics: A gut-check on bacterial health

10/06/2012
A fascinating, if disconcerting, fact: More than 100 trillion so-called good bacteria thrive in or on the human body. A sizable chunk of them maintain residence in the human digestive tract. Probiotics, live microorganisms that benefit their human host, are among these beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are also found in foods and ...

Meet the Bacteria That Produces Pure Gold

10/06/2012
Scientists have discovered bacteria that eats toxic material and, well, poops pure gold. This microbial magician, named Cupriavidus metallidurans, when placed in a minilab full of gold chloride, a nasty toxin, gobbled up the poison and, in about a week, processed it out as 24-karat nuggets of the precious yellow ...

How alleged 'arsenic munching' bacteria survives in toxic Calif. lake

10/06/2012
Bacteria that became famous for their alleged "arsenic-munching" ability, a phenomenon later proved unlikely, may have evolved to sport proteins that filter out the toxic element, new research suggests. The bacteria, called GFAJ-1, a member of the genus Halomonadaceae, live in California's Mono Lake, amidst concentrations of arsenic that would kill ...

Can Dogs Get Flu From You? – Study Says It’s Possible

10/05/2012
Can your dog get the flu from you? Scientists from Oregon State University (OSU) say the next time you’re sick, you might want to distance yourself from your beloved pets. Their recent research explored the possibility of human-to-pet flu transmissions and found evidence that the infection of pets from humans ...

Researchers Discover Bacteria That Can Produce Pure Gold

10/05/2012
The gold you see in the photo above was not found in a river or a mine. It was produced by a bacteria that, according to researchers at Michigan State University, can survive in extreme toxic environments and create 24-karat gold nuggets. Pure gold. Maybe this critter can save us all ...

Rare US Meningitis Outbreak Grows, 5 Dead

10/04/2012
Another fatality from a growing outbreak of a rare form of meningitis was reported Thursday, raising the death toll to five people, officials said. In all, 35 people in six states have been sickened from a steroid that was distributed to 23 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. All ...

Might Smallpox Virus Help Fight a Lethal Breast Cancer?

10/02/2012
New animal research suggests it may be possible to use a form of smallpox virus to infect and kill the tumor cells of a particularly virulent form of breast cancer. To date, this novel approach to attacking what's known as triple-negative breast cancer has centered exclusively around work with mice. By loading ...

Thousands of German schoolchildren taken ill

10/01/2012
Thousands of German schoolchildren have fallen ill with a vomiting and diarrhea bug. Officials are still awaiting laboratory results, but the norovirus has been found in some cases. More than 8,300 preschoolers and schoolchildren in eastern Germany, as well as a few teachers, have fallen ill with gastroenteritis after eating food ...

Eyes May Possess Infection-Killing Power: Study

10/01/2012
Eye proteins that can kill harmful bacteria may prove useful in developing new powerful and inexpensive antimicrobial drugs, according to a new study. The finding was made by University of California, Berkeley, researchers investigating why eyes are so resistant to infection. They noticed that there is no bacteria living on the ...

Healthy lungs' microbes focus of study on cystic fibrosis

09/30/2012
Healthy people's lungs are home to a diverse community of microbes that differs markedly from the bacteria found in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients. That's the result of new research from Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, which has wide implications for treatment of cystic fibrosis and other ...

Waves In The Bacterial World Can Be Deadly

09/30/2012
Waves at the beach are relaxing. Waves at a baseball game are fun. Waves in the bacterial world are deadly. This is according to a study offered by scientists from Rice University and the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School. The study’s findings show one of the ...

Scientists scramble to understand a new virus similar to the one that caused SARS

09/30/2012
The newly discovered virus that killed a Saudi Arabian man in June and is now causing life-threatening illness in a person from Qatar is similar to strains carried by bats, researchers reported Thursday. Most of the bat strains do not infect people. Why the new strain does — and how it ...

'Harmless skin virus' fights acne

09/29/2012
A harmless virus that lives on our skin could be used as a treatment for acne, scientists believe. The virus, called a phage, is naturally built to target and kill bacteria that cause acne - Propionibacterium acnes. Experts at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Pittsburgh found ...

Probiotic for babies may not fight allergies later

09/29/2012
Kindergartners who were given "good bacteria" supplements as infants were no less likely to suffer from allergies than other kids in a new study from Australia. The findings, reported in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, add to a mixed bag of results from research into whether probiotics can help ...

Sea bacterium solves lactose intolerance

09/29/2012
A new species of bacteria living 1,200 metres deep at freezing temperatures in the Bay of Bengal is all set to solve the universal problem of lactose intolerance in human beings. Lactose is a type of sugar present in milk. Two-thirds of people around the world cannot digest lactose, which ...

For Gastronomists, a Go-To Microbiologist

09/27/2012
Jim Lahey, the founder of Sullivan Street Bakery in New York, wanted to find out which organisms inhabited his sourdough and produced its tantalizing sulfuric aroma. Meanwhile, in the East Village test kitchen of the Momofuku restaurants, David Chang and Dan Felder were fermenting pork tenderloins, pistachio misos and fish sauces, ...

The dual significance of bacterial protein secretion

09/26/2012
Secretion of bacterial proteins is an essential biological process with biotechnological and biomedical impact on human health. European scientists studied a universal and widely conserved bacterial secretory pathway towards its utilisation in biotechnology and medicine. The coordinated secretion of proteins by bacteria consists of an essential biological process with tremendous ...

Gut bacteria are different in people with diabetes

09/26/2012
There’s a lot of talk these days about the role of gut bacteria in disease and health. The latest report in that area: a study in Nature that finds differences between the bacteria growing in the guts of people who have diabetes and those who don't. The Chinese and European authors ...

'Gut Feelings' Matter in Dx of Kids' Infections

09/26/2012
Physicians should pay attention to their "gut feeling" that something may be seriously wrong when assessing a child with an infectious disease -- even if the clinical appearance is reassuring -- an observational study suggested. Among 3,369 children whose primary care evaluation did not suggest a serious illness, six (0.2%) ultimately ...

Outbreak of new coronavirus - same family as SARS - has WHO on alert

09/24/2012
The World Health Organization is keeping a close eye on a disease outbreak in Saudi Arabia caused by a virus in the same family as the one that caused SARS. There have been two confirmed infections with the new coronavirus and tests results are pending on a third suspected case, according ...

Hyena Microbiome Differs Between Packs, Helps Smell Friend From Foe

09/24/2012
Researchers from Michigan State University have found a wrinkle in how hyenas use their noses that might have implications for how we understand the sense of smell in many other animals as well. Like most species of dogs, hyenas use scent as their primary sense — it’s how they find ...

Researchers map molecular details that encourage H1N1 transmission to humans

09/24/2012
The 2009 H1N1 pandemic influenza virus appears to have required certain mutations in order to be transmitted to humans, according to a paper in the September Journal of Virology. The research could prove extremely valuable for efforts to predict human outbreaks. The 2009 influenza pandemic was caused by a ...

Guest Post: Flesh-eating bacteria

09/23/2012
Flesh Eating Bacteria Can Infect Anyone – What You Should Know What is it? Necrotizing fasciitis, commonly known as flesh eating bacteria, infects various layers of the skin. In most cases, an immunocompromised individual, such as a smoker, drug addict, diabetic, or cancer patient is most vulnerable, although healthy individuals are also ...

Western Lifestyle Disturbing Key Bacterial Balance?

09/23/2012
Trillions of bacteria living in and on the human body play a vital role in preserving health. But C-section births, antibiotics and excessive hygiene have been disturbing our microbial balance and possibly contributing to intestinal ailments, obesity, allergies and autism. Deep in the Amazon basin, where traditional hunter-gatherers still live, researchers ...

CDC study suggests many H3N2v cases may be missed

09/22/2012
An investigation of one of the first swine-origin H3N2 influenza cases detected in the United States in 2011 suggests that for each confirmed case, there may be many more that go undetected. The investigation, triggered by a case related to a Pennsylvania fair in August 2011, revealed 3 confirmed cases, 4 ...

Too soon for the flu?

09/22/2012
It's time to get your flu shot. Or is it? The answer to that question depends on whom you ask. The sign in the pharmacy window might suggest flu season is already here, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging everyone at least 6 months old to get a ...

Are Biologists Watching an Evolutionary Leap: One Life Form Absorbing Another?

09/22/2012
More than 1.6 billion years ago, one cell engulfed another and put it to work. More specifically, a eukaryotic cell, the sort of cell that contains distinct structures with different functions, took in a blue-green bacterium that could do something it could not: use sunlight to make sugars. The ancient ...

Horticultural hijacking: Researchers reveal the 'dark side' of beneficial soil bacteria

09/22/2012
t's a battleground down there—in the soil where plants and bacteria dwell. Even though beneficial root bacteria come to the rescue when a plant is being attacked by pathogens, there's a dark side to the relationship between the plant and its white knight. According to research reported by a University of ...

Evolutionary innovation caught in the act

09/20/2012
Scientists following the evolution of a single strain of bacteria reported that it underwent several steps of mutation, surprising in its complexity, to acquire the ability to use a new food source. The findings, reported Wednesday in the science magazine Nature, are the result of an experiment started 25 years ago ...

Flesh-Eating Bacteria: Researchers Challenge Doctors To Diagnose Necrotizing Fasciitis Early

09/19/2012
With 2,000 to 3,000 patients killed by necrotizing fasciitis each year, early diagnosis of the flesh-eating bacteria is of the utmost importance. That's what Russell Russo, an orthopedic surgeon at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, and his team are stressing in the September 2012 issue of Orthopedics Today. While the ...

The Birth of the New, The Rewiring of the Old

09/19/2012
In 1988, Richard Lenski, an evolutionary biologist now at Michigan State University, launched the longest running experiment on natural selection. It started with a single microbe–E. coli–which Lenski used to seed twelve genetically identical lines of bacteria. He placed each line in a separate flask, which he provisioned with a ...

Bacteria May Signal Risk For Pancreatic Cancer

09/19/2012
Pancreatic cancer is highly lethal and difficult to detect early. In a new study, researchers report that people who had high levels of antibodies for an infectious oral bacterium turned out to have double the risk for developing the cancer. High antibody levels for harmless oral bacteria, meanwhile, predicted a ...

In lab trials, old antibiotic makes inroads against TB

09/18/2012
Lab-dish tests have raised hopes that a soil bacterium identified nearly 60 years ago could be a "very selective killer" of the germ that causes tuberculosis, a European journal reported on Monday. Pyridomycin, a natural antibiotic exuded by the bacterium Streptomyces pyridomyceticus, shows promise as a candidate to fight a drug-resistant ...

Taking a Shot at Sinking the 'Cruise Ship' Virus

09/17/2012
An experimental vaccine shows promise for protecting people against a nasty stomach virus known for causing outbreaks of diarrhea and vomiting on cruise ships, in nursing homes, and in other close quarters. The research is very early and much more testing is needed. But the injectable norovirus vaccine cleared its first ...

Giant Viruses Are Ancient Living Organisms

09/17/2012
A new study of giant viruses supports the idea that viruses are ancient living organisms and not inanimate molecular remnants run amok, as some scientists have argued. The study may reshape the universal family tree, adding a fourth major branch to the three that most scientists agree represent the fundamental ...

How much bacteria would you like with your meat? (Op-Ed)

09/16/2012
I've never met anyone who buys organic food to get more vitamins and minerals, so it's unclear why the public has been treated to a series of studies -- most recently a meta-review out of Stanford University -- telling us that for the most part organics don't have more vitamins ...

Microbes in gut grab more fat from food

09/16/2012
Some gut microbes help the body absorb more dietary fat, which means their host takes in more calories from the same amount of food. “This study is the first to demonstrate that microbes can promote the absorption of dietary fats in the intestine and their subsequent metabolism in the body,” says ...

“Superbug” NDM-1 Found In US Cat (ICAAC 3)

09/16/2012
(another excerpt from Wired's Superbug blog) News from the ICAAC meeting: The “Indian superbug” NDM-1 — actually a gene which encodes an enzyme which confers resistance to almost all known antibiotics — has been found for the first time in a pet, somewhere in the United States. When you consider the close ...

Drug Resistance in Food: Chicken, Shrimp, Even Lettuce (ICAAC 4)

09/15/2012
(taken from Maryn McKenna's excellent blog in Wired) A final post from the ICAAC meeting, which concluded at one end of the Moscone Center in San Francisco Wednesday just as the Apple iPhone 5 launch was beginning at the building’s other end. (Definitely a crossing of geek streams.) There’s far too much ...

Discovery of essential genes for drug-resistant bacteria reveals new, high-value drug targets

09/15/2012
Biomedical scientists collaborating on translational research at two Buffalo institutions are reporting the discovery of a novel, and heretofore unrecognized, set of genes essential for the growth of potentially lethal, drug-resistant bacteria. The study not only reveals multiple, new drug targets for this human infection, it also suggests that the ...

Swabbing and Hoping: How NASA Keeps Germs From Colonizing Mars

09/15/2012
In 1967, the United States joined the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union in signing the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. The agreement, more casually known as the "Outer Space Treaty," remains ...

Bacteria Ate 200,000 Tons of Oil After Deepwater Horizon Spill

09/12/2012
Researchers from the Univ. of Rochester and Texas A&M Univ. have found that, over a period of five months following the disastrous 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, naturally occurring bacteria that exist in the Gulf of Mexico consumed and removed at least 200,000 tons of oil and ...

Analysis of 101 cases of joint infections (ICAAC paper)

09/12/2012
Septic arthritis is a rapidly destructive joint disease, leading to irreversible damage of the cartilage, bone and surrounding soft tissue. Therefore, this infection requires rapid diagnosis and appropriate treatment. The diagnosis is challenging due to false-negative joint fluid cultures, delay until positive microbiology and overlap with other aseptic joint disorders. ...

The Emerging Role of Social Media in Public Health

09/11/2012
Over the past fifteen years, Internet technology has significantly changed the landscape of public health surveillance and epidemic intelligence gathering. Disease and outbreak data is disseminated not only through formal online announcements by government agencies, but also through informal channels such as social networking sites, blogs, chat rooms, Web searches, ...

Emergence of Animal-Origin H3N2 Influenza

09/11/2012
Public health officials provide the latest update on the H3N2, the new strain of influenza that appears to have jumped from swine to humans and has already infected nearly 300 people in the United States. Participant: Lyn Finelli, CDC, Atlanta, GA, United States

Antibody Therapies for C. difficile

09/11/2012
Clostridium difficile infection is an important cause of intestinal disease, primarily affecting hospitalized patients exposed to antibiotics. Infection has been associated with prolonged hospital stays and excess healthcare expenditures. In recent years, C. difficile infections have become more frequent, more severe and more difficult to treat. Participants discuss one promising ...

Do Cranberries Prevent UTIs?

09/10/2012
There is a long history of anecdotal evidence to suggest that cranberries and other alternative therapies to long-term antibiotics can prevent recurrent urinary tract infections but are they really as effective as antibiotics or even a viable alternative for people who do not want to take antibiotics for prevention. Researchers ...

Universal Influenza Vaccine Update

09/10/2012
Current influenza vaccines are limited because they can only stimulate immunity to specific strains of the virus, which is constantly evolving. This means a new vaccine must be developed every year to target the strains public health officials believe will be most prevalent that season. If an unforeseen strain emerges ...
09/10/2012
Taken from the 2012 ICAAC meeting... Outbreaks of enteric disease are most common in highly populated areas. Caused by both bacteria and viruses that often reside in the food we eat, the water we drink, or on surfaces we touch, enteric diseases produce a variety of symptoms including nausea, severe stomach ...

Measles: What's Next?

09/10/2012
Although as recently as 1980 measles was estimated to cause 2.6 million deaths globally, due to highly effective and safe vaccines, measles elimination has been achieved in a number of countries globally as well as in the region of the Americas. Expansion of measles control strategies and activities has resulted ...

ICAAC Overview Briefing

09/10/2012
Members of the ICAAC Program Committee give an overview of the ICAAC meeting and discuss sessions of particular interest. Participants: M. Lindsay Grayson, Austin Hospital, Melbourne, Australia Craig E. Rubens, Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Seattle, WA Michael J. Pucci, Achillion Pharmaceuticals, New Haven, CT

HIV Infection and Cardiovascular Health

09/09/2012
Since the introduction of highly active antiretroviral therapy in the mid-1990s, HIV infection has evolved from a near-certain death sentence to a manageable, chronic disease. Still, little is known about the long-term effects of HIV on human health. Two studies being presented today on cardiovascular health and HIV suggest that ...

Seasonal Flu Vaccine and Pandemic Flu Severity

09/09/2012
Seasonal flu vaccines are targeted for strains of the influenza virus that public health officials believe will be most prevalent in the upcoming season. While the vaccine primes the immune system to protect against those specific strains, what does it mean for other future strains of the virus. Researchers present ...

Sugary Drinks Increase Bad Bacteria in Gut, Risk of Diabetes

09/04/2012
Sugary drinks help bad microbes grow in the human gut, according to a study published in the journal Obesity Reviews. This increase leads to many health complications like obesity and metabolic syndrome, raising risk of diseases associated with metabolic syndrome like diabetes. The study says western diet containing sugars, especially fructose, ...

New long-term antimicrobial catheter developed

09/04/2012
Researchers at the University of Nottingham have developed a catheter that can kill most urinary bacteria, including most strains of Proteus bacteria – the most common cause of catheter infections. Importantly the antimicrobial catheter retains its activity for between six to twelve weeks, making it suitable for long-term use, unlike ...

TB outbreaks could be 'solved' by DNA tracking

09/04/2012
Reconstructing the spread of killer diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) from person to person using DNA sequencing quickly identifies the origin and movement of pathogens. This approach is directly informing public health strategies to control infectious disease outbreaks, says a scientist speaking at the Society for General Microbiology's Autumn Conference ...

As pretty as a picture (but a lot more deadly): Killer diseases from anthrax to the Black Death as you've never seen them before

09/03/2012
They look like works of modern art but these incredible images actually show some of the world’s deadliest diseases - including the Black Death and anthrax. Many of the specimens can have devastating affects on the human body and have caused major epidemics. But the bacteria, invisible to the naked eye, are ...

Coconut Oil May Inhibit Bacteria Growth, Preventing Tooth Decay

09/03/2012
Dentists have long encouraged the use of fluoride to prevent cavities and tooth decay. But several studies have also found that other things, such as lollipops, raisins, licorice root and gum, may also help in the fight against tooth decay. And now, a new study is suggesting that coconut oil ...

U.S. reporting first death due to new swine flu

09/03/2012
The United States has reported the first known death caused by the H3N2 variant virus, the new swine flu that has been jumping from pigs to people there. And in another development that underscores how dynamic the intersection is between pigs, people and influenza viruses, health authorities in Minnesota announced Friday ...

Antibody prevents hepatitis c infection in chimpanzees

09/03/2012
A monoclonal antibody therapy developed by MassBiologics of the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and tested in an animal model at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, prevents infection by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Researchers found that the human monoclonal antibody targeting the virus protected chimpanzees from HCV infection in ...

Plastic-chewing bacteria get out of hand in debut novel

09/02/2012
The vexing question above has provided Scott Fotheringham with fertile ground for his new book, The Rest is Silence. Benny is a grad student in New York City, a molecular biologist developing a very specialized strain of bacteria. The concept of bacteria eating plastic seems simple. Bacteria eat and digest discarded ...

The bacteria that make insects eat their own brains

09/02/2012
As far as bacteria are concerned, other living creatures are just another niche to exploit, which means that pretty much every animal and plant has a set of bacterial pathogens that come along with it. These bacteria have made the animal in question their speciality, and are highly adapted to ...

West Nile States: Which Has The Most Cases?

09/02/2012
Earlier this week, health officials reported that there are now 1,590 cases of West Nile virus confirmed in humans across the United States, and 66 deaths -- the most (through late August) since the mosquito-borne disease was first identified in 1999, Reuters reported. This year's unseasonably warm winter is at least ...

CDC: 10,000 at risk of hantavirus in Yosemite outbreak

09/02/2012
At least five hantavirus infections have been linked to the tent cabins in Yosemite's Curry Village. About 10,000 people who stayed in tent cabins at Yosemite National Park over the summer may be at risk for hantavirus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday in a health ...

More Benefits of Breast Milk Revealed

09/01/2012
Breast milk promotes colonies of healthy bacteria in a newborn's intestinal tract that aid nutrient absorption and immune system development, a new study shows. Infant formula does not provide this benefit, which helps protect infants from infections and illnesses, the Duke University Medical Center researchers said. The team grew two strains of ...

Quebec officials hunt source of deadly legionella bacteria

09/01/2012
The trickiest thing about legionella, the deadly bacterium that has killed nine people in Quebec City and sickened 158, is that it could be anywhere. It’s entirely possible there’s a species in your nasal passages right now. Chances are you’ll be fine. But for the very old, the very young, smokers or ...

Gut bacteria may fight depression

09/01/2012
Many people would be surprised to learn that bacterial cells in the digestive tract outnumber their own cells 10 to one. Most don’t know that each person has a unique mix of gut bacteria, like a fingerprint. And they certainly don’t know that giving this bacteria the royal treatment by eating a ...

Nine dead from Legionnaires' disease outbreak in Quebec City

08/31/2012
The death toll from the outbreak of legionnaires’ disease increased by one to a total of nine in Quebec City on Wednesday, as public-health authorities sought additional help in their inspection of buildings that are suspected of harbouring the deadly Legionnella bacteria. Authorities also reported that the number of people infected ...

Soil microbes harbor nasty antibiotic-resistance genes

08/31/2012
Bacteria that live in the soil seem to be swapping antibiotic-resistance genes with other, more dangerous bacteria — the ones that cause devastating infections in humans, a new study indicates. When a team of researchers analyzed bacteria they had grown from soil samples, they found the microbes were harboring seven genes ...

CDC: West Nile cases rise 40 percent in 1 week

08/30/2012
West Nile virus cases are up 40 percent since last week and may rival the record years of 2002 and 2003, federal health officials said Wednesday. So far this year, 1,590 cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 66 deaths. About half ...

Researchers demonstrate how ‘interfering’ RNA can block bacterial evolution

08/30/2012
Bacteria may be simple creatures, but unlike “higher” organisms they have a neat evolutionary trick. When the going gets tough, they can simply pick up and incorporate a loose bit of genetic material from their environment. It’s instant evolution, no time-consuming mutations required. This process, known as horizontal gene transfer, ...

Could Bacteria in Skin Mites Help Cause Rosacea?

08/30/2012
Bacteria carried by tiny mites on the skin might be responsible for the common dermatological condition known as rosacea, researchers say. If this theory does prove to be true, then new and better treatments for rosacea may be on the way, according to a review published online Aug. 30 in the ...

Lab Notes: Disarming Darth Vader

08/27/2012
Removing virulence factors from pathogenic bacteria could be a new way to fight infections, by taming rather than killing them. Also: thanks to epigenetics, learned behaviors may be inherited.

Emerging Gastrointestinal Pathogen Linked With Human Fecal Contamination

08/26/2012
A gastrointestinal pathogen associated with fecal contamination was present in 97 of 129 water samples taken from four beaches on the Lake Erie coast of Ohio according to research published in the August issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Substantial numbers of beach-goers may be sickened by this pathogen, says Jiyoung ...

Campylobacter in Skinless, Boneless Chicken

08/26/2012
A study published in BMC Microbiology has looked at the prevalence of Campylobacter in skinless, boneless chicken breasts, tenderloins, and thighs. The meat was purchased in food stores in Alabama from 2005 to 2011. Campylobacter bacteria was found in 41% of the meat samples. This study reinforces the fact that ...

Microbiologists Find New Approach to Fighting Viral Illnesses

08/26/2012
By discovering how certain viruses use their host cells to replicate, UC Irvine microbiologists have identified a new approach to the development of universal treatments for viral illnesses such as meningitis, encephalitis, hepatitis and possibly the common cold. The UCI researchers, working with Dutch colleagues, found that certain RNA viruses hijack ...

Manipulating the microbiome could help manage weight

08/26/2012
Vaccines and antibiotics may someday join caloric restriction or bariatric surgery as a way to regulate weight gain, according to a new study focused on the interactions between diet, the bacteria that live in the bowel, and the immune system. Bacteria in the intestine play a crucial role in digestion. They ...

Authorities scramble to contain outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Quebec City

08/26/2012
The fatal outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in Quebec City continued Sunday, as officials are reporting two additional deaths linked to the bacterial infection. At least 104 people have been infected and eight killed in what has been the deadliest outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in Canada in 25 years. On Sunday, authorities from ...

Genome Detectives Solve a Hospital’s Deadly Outbreak

08/26/2012
The ambulance sped up to the red brick federal research hospital on June 13, 2011, and paramedics rushed a gravely ill 43-year-old woman straight to intensive care. She had a rare lung disease and was gasping for breath. And, just hours before, the hospital learned she had been infected with ...

How flu virus disables immune system

08/26/2012
Northwestern University scientists have discovered one of the ways the influenza virus disarms our natural defense system. The virus decreases the production of key immune system-regulating proteins in human cells that help fight the invader. The virus does this by turning on the microRNAs -- little snippets of RNA -- that ...

The NIH Superbug Story—a missing piece

08/25/2012
Considerable attention has been given to this week’s news about hospital (healthcare) acquired infections (HAI) at NIH with a “superbug.” * There has been probably misplaced criticism of NIH for not making its finding of transmission of a bacteria between patients public, as well as wonder at the high-tech tools that ...

So Your Tattoo Is Infected

08/25/2012
Tattoos become much less appealing when they're infected. It's like when my friend Mitch got his eyebrow pierced in high school, which was obviously an attempt to look tough, but it ended up getting a huge, unsightly scab. Because he kept picking at the scab in his sleep, it simply ...

Brain-Eating Amoeba Came From Faucet

08/24/2012
Two recent cases of primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) show that municipal tap water can harbor the amoeba responsible for the fatal disease, according to CDC researchers. The deaths of two adults in Louisiana hospitals of infectious meningoencephalitis are the first recorded PAM cases in the country associated with the presence of ...

‘Superbug’ stalked NIH hospital last year, killing six

08/22/2012
When a 43-year-old female lung transplant patient arrived at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center in June 2011, the hospital’s infection control team was on high alert. The woman carried a “superbug” resistant to all but two antibiotics, and the NIH staff wanted to keep the dangerous bacteria contained. The ...

West Nile outbreak largest ever in U.S.

08/22/2012
The recent West Nile virus outbreak is the largest ever seen in the United States, according to new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of cases so far this year is the highest recorded through August since the disease was first detected in the United States ...

Interfering with Quorum Sensing Behavior May Be the Achilles Heel of A. baumanni

08/22/2012
Acinetobacter baumanni, a pathogenic bacterium that is a poster child of deadly hospital-acquired infections, is one tough customer. It resists most antibiotics, is seemingly immune to disinfectants, and can survive desiccation with ease. Indeed, the prevalence with which it infects soldiers wounded in Iraq earned it the nickname "Iraqibacter." In the ...

Deadly Human Bacteria Now Infects Chimps

08/22/2012
Chimpanzees in African sanctuaries are catching human strains of drug-resistant staph, a new study finds. Experts warn that infected chimps could spread the deadly bug to other apes if reintroduced to the wild — or the pathogen could jump back to humans in a more dangerous form. Strains of staph (Staphlyococcus ...

Live bacteria in more than 90% of middle ear effusions

08/21/2012
Live bacteria are present in more than 90% of middle ear effusions, research shows. The present study strongly suggests bacteria and biofilms are important in the pathogenesis of otitis media with effusion (OME), according to Roger Bayston (University of Nottingham, UK) and colleagues. The findings, published in the International Journal of Pediatric ...

New protein discovered gives insights to iron's fate underground

08/20/2012
It's almost an evil twin story: a protein that steals electrons from iron in one microbe looks a lot like one that adds electrons in another microbe, according to scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of East Anglia. Their survey of the genes of common groundwater bacterium ...

Flu Vaccine Research: Overcoming 'Original Sin'

08/19/2012
Scientists studying flu vaccines have identified ways to overcome an obstacle called "original antigenic sin," which can impair immune responses to new flu strains. Original antigenic sin (OAS) is a situation where the immune system is fighting with obsolete weapons and has trouble adapting. After encountering one viral strain, and then ...

‘Virus-like’ nanoparticle built to target tumours

08/19/2012
A self-assembling nanoparticle designed to target tumour cells like a virus was unveiled today. Viruses are extremely effective at targeting cells and delivering proteins into them. Mimicking a virus should therefore be a very useful way to deliver drugs to cancerous cells. This morning at the American Chemical Society’s annual fall meeting ...

Far more could be done to stop the deadly bacteria C. diff

08/19/2012
Just days after doctors successfully removed a tumor from Bailey Quishenberry's brain, the 14-year-old was spiraling downhill, delirious and writhing in pain from an entirely new menace. Her abdomen swollen 10 times its normal size and her fever skyrocketing, Bailey began wishing she could die, just to escape the agony. Bailey had ...

Microbes maketh man

08/19/2012
Political revolutionaries turn the world upside down. Scientific ones more often turn it inside out. And that, almost literally, is happening to the idea of what, biologically speaking, a human being is. The traditional view is that a human body is a collection of 10 trillion cells which are themselves the ...

Cantaloupes Blamed for 141 Salmonella Cases, Including Two Deaths

08/19/2012
Health officials have learned that cantaloupes are to blame for a salmonella outbreak that has infected 141 people in 20 states, sending 31 people to the hospital and killing two. More than a third of those salmonella Typhimurium cases happened in Kentucky, which is also where both deaths occurred, according to ...

Microbiologists identify 'drunken stargazing snake' virus

08/18/2012
Microbiologists have identified an entirely new class of virus that they believe is responsible for a mysterious condition that causes bizarre "drunken" behaviour and eventual death in snakes. Inclusion Body Disease (IBD) affects boa constrictors and pythons and causes them to first regurgitate food. They then display neurological problems, one of ...

Genes carried by E. coli bacteria linked to colon cancer

08/18/2012
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have identified a type of E. coli bacteria that may encourage the development of colon cancer. The Liverpool team had previously shown that people with colon cancer and with the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, have high numbers of a sticky type ...

Soil bacteria could be key to fighting zebra mussels

08/18/2012
Scientists at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are studying a possible natural solution to zebra mussel infestations. Researchers are using water from Lake Carlos in central Minnesota to mimic a natural environment for zebra mussels treated with Zequanox, which is made from a common soil bacteria that's toxic to zebra ...

Mucor sp. fungal organism

08/17/2012
Under a magnification of 200x, and using a lactophenol cotton blue mount fixation technique, this photomicrograph reveals some of the ultrastructural morphology exhibited by a Mucor sp. fungal organism. This image depicts two sporangia, a mature structure, which had ruptured, releasing its contents of spores (above), and a developing sporangium ...

Gut Bacteria Tied to Metabolic Syndrome

08/16/2012
Certain bacteria in the gut may be associated with various components of the metabolic syndrome, a study in an Old Order Amish community showed. All of the study participants belonged to one of three groups defined by the presence of separate communities containing six to 12 genera of bacteria, according to ...

Dallas mayor declares emergency over West Nile virus

08/16/2012
The mayor of Dallas declared a state of emergency in the ninth largest U.S. city on Wednesday to combat the spread of West Nile virus infections, which have been more prevalent than usual in Texas and other states this year. There have been more cases of West Nile virus reported so ...

Skin Bacteria Are Your Friends

08/15/2012
Americans have been on an antibacterial kick for the past several years. Our hand soap, dish soap, and body wash have morphed into an arsenal of bug-killing napalm, eliminating all but the heartiest of bacteria. And there are, indeed, some scary microbes crawling around out there—Staph and C. Diff, just to ...

Scientists Discover New Type of Virus Responsible for a Devastating Disease in Snakes

08/14/2012
A mysterious condition called Inclusion Body Disease (IBD) strikes captive boa constrictors and pythons, causing bizarre behavioral changes and eventually death. Scientists investigating an outbreak of IBD among snakes at the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco report they may well have found a virus that is responsible for this common ...

Bacteriophage (Hybrid Medical Animation)

08/14/2012
Video of a T4 bacteriophages targeting E. coli bacteria.

Surviving sepsis: New device speeds ID of dangerous bacteria

08/13/2012
Nearly two years after her teenage daughter lost all four limbs to a dangerous bloodstream infection, Patricia Kirven is stunned at how little most people know about sepsis. “You can ask the average person on the street and they don’t know what it is,” said Kirven, mother of Whitney Mitchell, now ...

WSJ Book Review: Going Viral

08/12/2012
It begins with a bite. The animal attacks, foaming at the mouth, and strikes again and again, seemingly invincible. Tiny organisms in the beast's saliva bind to receptors on your muscle cells and replicate. This may take days or even years. They migrate to the nervous system and travel into ...

Fungi that steal genes from bacteria

08/12/2012
In order to survive in complex and interesting environments in the wild, bacteria have a whole arsenal of chemical products that they make within the cell. These chemicals are used for signalling, defence and communication between bacterial cells. One particular group of these chemicals is called the polyketide group, which ...

How a potato juice supplement could help cure stomach ulcers

08/11/2012
Stomach ulcers could have handed in their chips - thanks to the humble potato. Scientists at Manchester University have discovered spuds contain unique antibacterial molecules that can treat the condition. Members of the university’s microbiology team now hope the substance, dubbed ‘potato juice’ could go into production as a daily ...

Discovery May Hold Key for Universal Flu Vaccine

08/11/2012
We might not have a cure for the common cold, but scientists have discovered a potentially powerful new treatment for much more dangerous flu viruses. Researchers at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., and Crucell Vaccine Institute in the Netherlands say they have discovered a human antibody that protects against ...

BCG Vaccine May Reverse Type 1 Diabetes

08/11/2012
One of the world's oldest vaccines now has a new use. Bacillus Calmette-Guerin, or BCG, is an 80-year-old vaccine designed to tread tuberculosis. Bit it has now been found effective in treating long-term type 1 diabetes, which is on the rise worldwide. BCG has long been administered to ...

Dust Storms' Health Risks: Asthma Triggers, Chemicals, Bacteria May Be In The Wind

08/11/2012
Scientists are predicting that the frequency of dust storms, on the rise in the last few years, will continue to increase. Some have also suggested that these storms might well be carrying a more hazardous payload than meets the eye. Among the dangers that experts say are blowing in the ...

Scientists define new limits of microbial life in undersea volcanoes

08/08/2012
By some estimates, a third of Earth's organisms live in our planet's rocks and sediments, yet their lives are almost a complete mystery. This week, the work of microbiologist James Holden of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and colleagues shines a light into this dark world. In the journal Proceedings of the National ...

H1N1

08/07/2012
This highly-magnified, digitally-colorized transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicted numbers of virions from a Novel Flu H1N1 isolate. Thanks to the CDC's PHIL for this image.

Study offers insights into gut bacteria in horses

08/06/2012
Inflammation of the lower bowel in horses may result from microbial imbalances in the gut and not the overgrowth of an individual pathogen, Canadian research suggests. Researchers from the University of Guelph, in Ontario, set out to characterize the totality of microbes, known as the microbiome, in the faeces of healthy ...

Seven Wonders of the Microbe World (combined)

08/06/2012
From the Open University, a neat video highlighting seven amazing things microbes do.

Will humans lose the battle with microbes?

08/06/2012
Consider an all-too-common scenario: You're burning up from a high fever after a routine surgical procedure, and an infection specialist is called to help treat your problem. You assume that a short course of antibiotics will quickly turn things around. But the specialist candidly admits: "I'm sorry, I can't treat ...

Synthetic Biology Expands Beyond Bacteria

08/05/2012
Synthetic biology is getting a boost. So far, most researchers have designed their synthetic circuits using transcription factors found in bacteria. However, these don’t always translate well to nonbacterial cells and can be a challenge to scale. Now, researchers have come up with a new method to design transcription factors ...

Underground Communities: The plant roots that collect bacteria

08/05/2012
The soil is not just a single environment. To human eyes it may look like a brown layer of plant mush that fits into the rocks, but for a living environment it is highly complex. Not only must the bacteria that live within it share their space with small animals, ...

Research Could Lead to E. coli O104 Treatments

08/05/2012
Last year's German E. coli outbreak made headlines around the world in May and June as it sickened nearly 3,800 people and killed 50, distinguishing it as the single deadliest foodborne illness outbreak of all time. The outbreak was a dramatic entrance to the world stage for the microbe at ...

CDC Preparing Vaccine for New Swine Flu

08/04/2012
Only 29 human cases of a new strain of "swine" flu have been identified in two years, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is making sure it's prepared should the H3N2 strain become more widespread. "This virus is still principally a swine virus, but it doesn't seem to ...

Quality-control mechanism found in bacteria

08/04/2012
Like quality-control managers in factories, bacteria possess built-in machinery that track the shape and quality of proteins trying to pass through their cytoplasmic membranes, Cornell biomolecular engineers have shown. This quality-control mechanism is found in the machinery of the twin-arginine translocation (TAT) pathway, which is a protein export pathway in plants, ...

Bacterial Community Inside the Plant Root: Plants Choose Soil Bacteria That They Allow Into Their Roots

08/04/2012
Soil is the most species-rich microbial ecosystem in the world. From this incredible diversity, plants specifically choose certain species, give them access to the root and so host a unique, carefully selected bacterial community from which they then benefit in a variety of ways. To achieve this, the plant's immune ...

Vampire Bat Bites Help Shield Peruvians from Rabies

08/02/2012
Rabies has been thought of as virtually 100-percent fatal unless treated immediately, but new research shows that a small number of isolated Peruvians have natural immunity from the animal-transmitted disease. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in 15 people living in the remote Amazonian region ...

mBio Parody in The Onion

08/02/2012
Satirical newspaper 'The Onion' has published a spoof of the recent H3N8 news in mBio...

Cancer drug shocks HIV out of hiding

07/30/2012
HIV is an exceptional adversary. It is more diverse than any other virus, and it attacks the very immune cells that are meant to destroy it. If that wasn’t bad enough, it also has a stealth mode. The virus can smuggle its genes into those of long-lived white blood cells, ...

Discovery of New White Blood Cell Reveals Target for Better Vaccine Design

07/29/2012
Researchers in Newcastle and Singapore have identified a new type of white blood cell which activates a killing immune response to an external source -- providing a new potential target for vaccines for conditions such as cancer or Hepatitis B. Publishing in the journal Immunity, the team of researchers from Newcastle ...

Scientists Use Microbes to Make 'Clean' Methane

07/29/2012
Microbes that convert electricity into methane gas could become an important source of renewable energy, according to scientists from Stanford and Pennsylvania State universities. Researchers at both campuses are raising colonies of microorganisms, called methanogens, which have the remarkable ability to turn electrical energy into pure methane -- the key ingredient ...

New proteins inhibit HIV infection in cell cultures

07/28/2012
Yale University Cancer Center scientists have developed a new class of proteins that inhibit HIV infection in cell cultures and may open the way to new strategies for treating and preventing infection by the virus that causes AIDS. The findings appear online in the Journal of Virology. AIDS slowly weakens the ...

Editorial - The Long, Uphill Battle Against AIDS

07/28/2012
The international AIDS conference in Washington has already made two points clear. There is no prospect that scientists will any time soon find the ultimate solutions to the AIDS epidemic, namely a vaccine that would prevent infection with the AIDS virus or a “cure” for people already infected with ...

New Gene Explains Why Bacteria Grow When Oxygen Is Low

07/28/2012
Normally, the absence of oxygen means an absence of life. But in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill, scientists noticed something curious happening in the water. Huge populations of methane-eating bacteria appeared out of nowhere, despite the fact that there had hardly been any of these bacteria ...

Vorticella

07/24/2012
A single Vorticella species. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

People, Places and Pathogens

07/24/2012
Huw Taylor, Professor of Microbial Ecology at the University of Brighton, presented his inaugural lecture on Thursday 21 June 2012 entitled: People, Places and Pathogens. Professor Taylor, who did his undergraduate degree in microbiology, said that the science of medical microbiology has delivered enormous benefits for human health. However, he ...

Bacteria outbreak in Northern Europe due to ocean warming, study says

07/22/2012
Manmade climate change is the main driver behind the unexpected emergence of a group of bacteria in northern Europe which can cause gastroenteritis, new research by a group of international experts shows. The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Sunday, provided some of the first firm evidence that ...

Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology

07/22/2012
July 2012 Package Inserts Overstate Diagnostic TB Tests' Accuracy Clinicians and laboratory professionals often rely on manufacturers' package inserts to assess the accuracy of diagnostic medical tests. However, package inserts frequently greatly overstate such tests' accuracy, according to a case study of package inserts for tuberculosis (TB), which is published in the ...

Carbon, Bacteria, and Fish Balls: The Machines of the Future

07/22/2012
oday, microprocessors are built with silicon. But tomorrow, they'll be built with something else. This past week, with a paper published in the academic journal Nature Communications, researchers at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany and the Swedish research institute Acreo AB revealed a new means of building chips using graphene ...

Terrible Virus, Fascinating History In 'Rabid'

07/22/2012
Here's your vocabulary word for the week: zoonosis. It describes an infection that is transmitted between species. For example, the disease that the husband and wife team of Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy have written about in their new book, Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus. Wasik ...

Malaria Fix May Rely on Engineered Bacteria

07/22/2012
In the battle against malaria, doctors may one day have a microscopic ally. New research suggests that genetically modifying a bacterium commonly found in the gut of mosquitoes that harbor the malaria-causing parasite can make the mosquitos less likely to carry the disease. If scientists can find a way to spread ...

Dairy Researchers Identify Bacterial Spoilers in Milk

07/22/2012
Our days of crying over spoiled milk could be over, thanks to Cornell food scientists. Milk undergoes heat treatment -- pasteurization -- to kill off microbes that can cause food spoilage and disease, but certain bacterial strains can survive this heat shock as spores and cause milk to curdle in storage. Researchers ...

Bacteria used to target frog epidemic

07/21/2012
In a push to save thousands of mountain frogs threatened by a deadly fungal epidemic, biologists are treating hundreds of High Sierra tadpoles with an experimental bacterium they hope will preserve the species. The scientists this week backpacked over Bishop Pass into famed Dusy Basin, 11,300 feet high in Kings Canyon ...

In First, Software Emulates Lifespan of Entire Organism

07/21/2012
Scientists at Stanford University and the J. Craig Venter Institute have developed the first software simulation of an entire organism, a humble single-cell bacterium that lives in the human genital and respiratory tracts. The scientists and other experts said the work was a giant step toward developing computerized laboratories that ...

Swarm of paramecia

07/20/2012
Swarm of paramecia surrounding an unidentified protozoan. Taken from the Wistreich Collection.

Feed your 'good' bacteria

07/18/2012
There's a lot more going on in your gut than just digestion, absorption and excretion. Trillions of microorganisms inhabit your intestines. In fact, there are 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells in your whole body. And these little beneficial bugs are busy! Scientists are beginning to unravel how ...

UC Berkeley crack bacteria 'castles'

07/18/2012
Using stop-action imaging with high-resolution microscopes, UC Berkeley scientists were able to describe in detail for the first time the "castles" of bacteria that grow in humans and are often the cause of chronic, even fatal infections. In a paper published in the journal Science on Friday, researcher Veysel Berk outlined ...

Symbiotic Bacteria Halt Malaria Life Cycle in Mosquitoes

07/17/2012
Allowing mosquitos to feed on engineered strains of the symbiotic bacteria that naturally live in their midguts may provide the answer to preventing the malarial parasite Plasmodium from completing the relevant stages of its life cycle in the airborne host and being transmitted to humans, researchers claim. A team at ...

Gram-negative rods

07/17/2012
Gram-negative rods, possibly E. coli. (approx. 1000 X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection.

Dogs and cats help babies' health, study finds

07/16/2012
Fido the dog and Ginger the cat need not worry about being replaced by a new baby — in fact, they could be helping parents raise healthier children. A new study finds that children who lived with dogs or cats during their first year of life got sick less frequently than ...

Clinical Notes: La Crosse Virus Surges in Kids

07/16/2012
La Crosse virus has become the most common insect-borne viral disease in children, greatly surpassing the better-publicized West Nile virus. Also this week: cost management joins the medical curriculum. La Crosse Virus Outpaces West Nile West Nile virus infections may get all the headlines when it comes to mosquito-borne viral diseases in ...

Sake, Soy Sauce, and the Taming of the Microbes

07/15/2012
What do beer, dogs and cats, and corn all have in common? All of them are the end products of the process of domestication. Almost everybody knows that a number of different animals and plants have been bred for qualities that benefit humans. But few people realize that a number ...

Viruses linked to algae that control coral health

07/15/2012
Scientists have discovered two viruses that appear to infect the single-celled microalgae that reside in corals and are important for coral growth and health, and they say the viruses could play a role in the serious decline of coral ecosystems around the world. These viruses, including an RNA virus never before ...

Scientists see AIDS vaccine within reach after decades

07/15/2012
At an ill-fated press conference in 1984, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Margaret Heckler boldly predicted an effective AIDS vaccine would be available within just two years. But a string of failed attempts - punctuated by a 2007 trial in which a Merck vaccine appeared to make people more vulnerable ...

Harmful Bacteria Can Be Curbed With Copper

07/15/2012
Salmonella enterica is a leading cause of diarrhea illness worldwide, according to Sadhana Ravishankar, an assistant professor in the University of Arizona department of veterinary science and microbiology. Each year the tiny, rod-shaped species of bacteria with a love for rapid reproduction on human food causes a large number of food ...

Attacking Biofilms That Cause Chronic Infections

07/14/2012
A clever new imaging technique discovered at the University of California, Berkeley, reveals a possible plan of attack for many bacterial diseases, such as cholera, lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients and even chronic sinusitis, that form biofilms that make them resistant to antibiotics. By devising a new fluorescent labeling strategy ...

Two Chicken Vaccines Have Combined To Create A New Strain Of Virus

07/14/2012
Two chicken vaccines have recombined to produce more virulent viruses in Sydney and Melbourne, research has found, prompting the regulator to examine new controls over the approval and use of veterinary vaccines. A study by a team from the Asia-Pacific Centre for Animal Health at the University of Melbourne and NICTA ...

500-million-year-old gene spliced into modern bacteria

07/14/2012
Biologists at Georgia Tech have resurrected a 500-million-year-old gene from bacteria and inserted it into modern Escherichia coli (E.coli) bacteria. The researchers have observed the bacterium grow over more than 1,000 generations, allowing them to see "evolution in action". In a process called paleo-experimental evolution,Betül Kaçar, a Nasa astrobiology postdoctoral fellow ...

Bacteria in guts of elderly differ from those of the young

07/14/2012
We are teeming with microscopic life. Scientists recently reported on the billions of bacteria and fungi that grow inside us, finding a lot of diversity from person to person — and from spot to spot on the human body. Those findings were in 242 young adults (ages 18 to 40) in ...

Bacillus subtilis

07/11/2012
Gram-stained preparation of Bacillus subtilis showing rods, and spores (empty areas). (approx. 1000 X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection.

Keep 32 Molecule Kills Cavity-Causing Bacteria, Could Make The World A Better Place

07/11/2012
Researchers Jose Cordova of Yale University and Erich Astudillo of Chile’s Universidad de Santiago discovered a molecule they call Keep 32 that kills the bacteria responsible for all the trauma you suffered as a child, lying down blinded by the light as a masked man poked bits of metal in ...

Creative bacterial destruction

07/11/2012
To the left is a panel from a new paper in PLoS Genetics, Selection-Driven Gene Loss in Bacteria. The y-axis is selection, so above represents a positive selection coefficient, and below a negative one. The lineages above the x-axis then are more fit against the baseline wild type (selection ...

Mapping Dangerous Disease Hotspots To Control Them

07/10/2012
Scared of bird flu? How about the viral Rift Valley fever? These diseases and many others are animal diseases that have grown the ability to infect humans. They’re known as zoonoses. You heard it, zoonoses. And humanity’s ever-growing taste for livestock products could stoke the growth of these zoonoses: More ...

Arsenic-loving bacterium needs phosphorus after all

07/10/2012
After 18 months of controversy, the official verdict is in: an arsenic-tolerant bacterium found in California’s Mono Lake cannot live without phosphorus. In 2010, a group led by Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a microbiologist now at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, reported online in Science1 that the Halomonadaceae bacterium GFAJ-1 ...

Toxoplasma gondii oocysts from cat feces

07/09/2012
Toxoplasma gondii oocysts from cat feces. Taken from the Wistrich Collection.

Private Physicians Drive Up Antibiotic Resistance, Helped Along By Patients

07/09/2012
Physicians who see patients outside of hospital systems, such as those working in private offices, contribute disproportionately to the spread of antibiotic resistance because they are more likely to prescribe drugs unnecessarily, a first-of-its-kind nationwide study that looked at patterns of antibiotic use and drug-resistant infections has found. A number of ...

Arsenic-loving bacteria? New studies contradict report of bugs that seemed to break the rules

07/09/2012
It was a provocative finding: strange bacteria in a California lake that thrived on something completely unexpected — arsenic. What it suggested is that life, a very different kind of life, could possibly exist on some other planet. The research, published by a leading scientific journal in 2010, led to overheated ...

EP67 Protein May Prevent Flu By Boosting Immune System, Mouse Study Suggests

07/08/2012
Scientists may have pinpointed a potential way to prevent the flu by identifying a protein that amps up the immune system, according to a new animal study. The synthetic protein, called EP67, is able to trigger an immune response to the "threat" of the flu virus within a couple of hours ...

Virus Find Helps Mystery Disease Probe in Cambodia

07/08/2012
The investigation of a mystery disease that has killed dozens of children in Cambodia is advancing after the discovery in patient samples of a virus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease. The Institut Pasteur du Cambodge found enterovirus 71 in 15 of 24 patients sampled since mid-June, Philippe Buchy, head ...

The Extra Pounds You Can't Afford to Lose: An Interview With Microbiologist Margaret McFall-Ngai

07/08/2012
Recent revelations about our microscopic partners and tenants are numerically startling, if not downright existential. Try these for starters: Most of the cells within your body are not human cells, and you are literally teeming with pounds of busy microbes, working to earn their keep while you scan a blog ...

Titan's tides reveal hidden ocean that could host life

07/08/2012
Alien hunters take note: a global water ocean potentially bigger than all those on Earth combined, is sloshing beneath Titan's icy crust. Combined with the cocktail of organic chemicals already known to exist on Titan, abundant water could make the moon prime real estate for life – though more work must ...

Meningitis Vaccine Being Developed From Common Cold Virus

07/07/2012
A leading cause for meningitis and septicemia in the UK is meningococcus B (MenB) bacterium infection. Healthy children can become severely ill within just a few hours if they contract meningitis or septicemia, as both illnesses develop randomly and with alarming speed. It often occurs in babies, very young children ...

How medicine created a bacteria problem

07/07/2012
On a warm afternoon in summer we were sitting in the lecture theatre, learning about germs. A microbiologist was showing us slides of enormously magnified bacteria (“God, this is like bug Imax!” said the girl behind me). The lecturer had a cold; he was coughing dramatically. After a prolonged bout ...

Common bacteria may cause colic

07/07/2012
A bacteria that is known to be associated with more than 80% of gastric and doudenal ulcers, may be associated with infant colic. The bacteria, Helicobacter Pylori (H.pylori), is found in the lining of the of the stomach wall. Dr. Abdelrazak Mansour Ali from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt evaluated 55 ...

Yersinia pestis

07/06/2012
As a closer view of PHIL 12265, this photograph depicts the colonial morphology displayed by Gram-negative Yersinia pestis bacteria, which was grown on a medium of sheep's blood agar (SBA), for a 72 hour time period, at room temperature. Y. pestis is the bacterium responsible for causing the infectious disease ...

Worm kills insects by vomiting Hulk-like bacteria

07/06/2012
Insects have been around for almost 400 million years. That’s plenty of time for evolution to fashion countless horrific deaths for them. Case in point: some insects die because a little worm vomits glowing bacteria inside their bodies. The worm is Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, a microscopic creature used by gardeners the world ...

Superbug infections dropping across US, army finds

07/05/2012
Bloodstream infections caused by the MRSA superbug may be on the decline in communities across the U.S., according to a large study of military personnel. Previous data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a drop in infections contracted in healthcare settings. But the trajectory of community-onset MRSA, short ...

Rapamycin, Easter Island Drug, Shows Promise In Boosting Aging Brain, Mice Study Shows

07/04/2012
Scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio are investigating a potential new drug that could improve learning and memory during aging -- thanks to Easter Island? The drug, called rapamycin, comes from isolated bacterial products in the soil of the Polynesian island, known as the home to ...

100 trillion good bacteria call human body home

07/04/2012
In the search for new life, scientists have studied the depths of the ocean and the lips of steaming volcanoes. They've looked on Mars and the moons of Jupiter, and even planets beyond this solar system. Dr. David Relman went searching inside his own mouth. On a routine dental visit in ...

Tooth protection from the sea

07/04/2012
A team of dentists and scientists from Newcastle University are developing a new product from a marine microbe to protect dentures, teeth and gums from bacteria in the mouth. They are using an enzyme isolated from a marine bacterium Bacillus licheniformis found on the surface of seaweed which they were originally ...

Cat Litter Parasite Tied to Suicide Risk in New Moms

07/03/2012
Mothers with IgG antibodies to Toxoplasma gondii at delivery are at risk for later self-harm or suicide, particularly if they have higher titers against the parasite, a Danish study found. The risk of self-directed violent behavior was increased 1.53-fold (95% CI 1.27 to 1.85, Psk rose to 1.91 (95% CI 1.25 ...
07/03/2012
The recent H1N1 flu pandemic was found to be particularly dangerous to obese people, and a Wayne State University researcher is looking for clues as to why. Emily Martin, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, has begun interviewing people hospitalized with ...

The Dog Bacteria That Can Protect You From Asthma

07/02/2012
Studies suggest that infants who grow up with dogs in their home are less likely to develop asthma. Researchers may now have found one reason why. Pets, dogs in particular, may protect infants from the effects of a common virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Infants with severe RSV infections have an ...

Dietary Fiber Alters Gut Bacteria, Supports Gastrointestinal Health

07/02/2012
A University of Illinois study shows that dietary fiber promotes a shift in the gut toward different types of beneficial bacteria. And the microbes that live in the gut, scientists now believe, can support a healthy gastrointestinal tract as well as affect our susceptibility to conditions as varied as type ...

FDA Approves Bloodstream Bacteria Test

07/02/2012
A new test for 12 different types of bacteria that cause bloodstream infections has been approved by the FDA. The test is much faster than current laboratory techniques, and can pickup on signs of bacterial growth within hours of the infection starting. Current tests require waiting as long as four days, ...

CDC trying out free rapid AIDS test at drugstores

06/27/2012
Would you go to a drugstore for an AIDS test? Health officials want to know, and they've set up a pilot program to find out. The $1.2 million project will offer free rapid HIV tests at pharmacies and in-store clinics in 24 cities and rural communities, the Centers for Disease Control and ...

A novel imaging technique sheds new light on bacterial mobility and adhesion

06/26/2012
A scientific endeavour carried out by two French groups belonging to INSERM and CNRS at Aix-Marseilles University shows for the very first time that both bacterium adhesion to and bacterium motion on a surface are driven by the same mechanism (see paper in PNAS: "Wet-surface–enhanced ellipsometric contrast microscopy identifies slime ...

H1N1 Pandemic May Have Killed Nearly 300,000

06/26/2012
A new estimate places the number of people killed by the pandemic influenza A H1N1 strain worldwide at 284,400, about 15 times greater than the number of reported laboratory-confirmed cases, researchers found. But the estimate spans a range as low as 151,700 and as high as 575,400 during the first year ...

'E.Chromi' yoghurt makes your number twos coloured if you're sick

06/25/2012
You can stop searching for a rainbow pooping unicorn now - if that's your thing - because scientists have come up with a way to bring that sort of colour to your very own toilet bowl. But the rainbow shades in your modified poo are all aimed at telling ...

Gut microbes battle a common set of viruses shared by global populations

06/25/2012
The human gut is home to a teeming ecosystem of microbes that is intimately involved in both human health and disease. But while the gut microbiota is interacting with our body, they are also under constant attack from viruses. In a study published online in Genome Research , researchers have ...

Convulsion Risk From CSL Flu Vaccine Linked To Components

06/24/2012
Convulsions in children immunized with a CSL Ltd. (CSL) flu shot probably were caused by an excessive immune response to viral components in the vaccine, according to preliminary findings of a two-year study. Use in children younger than 6 years of CSL’s Fluvax vaccine, to protect against the three main influenza ...

Built-in dengue virus killer found in humans

06/24/2012
Scientists may have hit gold in their fight against dengue. They have located a human antibody that can neutralise and kill its virus within two hours. Significantly, they have also identified a way to reproduce this antibody in large quantities, potentially opening the door to a cure for dengue infected patients. The ...

How bacteria break down human food

06/24/2012
Last weeks post on the changing composition of bacteria in the vagina generated a lot of interest, and as there’s been quite a of talk about the human microbiome (all the bacteria that live on the human body) at the moment I thought I’d stick with the theme. This weeks ...

Frequency comb helps kill dangerous bacteria

06/24/2012
Scientists in the US have used an optical-frequency comb – a laser that emits light at a range of equally spaced frequencies, like the teeth on a comb – to monitor how well a device designed to kill dangerous bacteria does its job. The comb was used to measure the ...

Gut bacteria: Each species may need its own kind

06/23/2012
Last week, scientists reported on a 5-year study of all the bacteria that inhabit the human body – 100 trillion of them, weighing 2 to 6 pounds total (in a 200-pound person) – and of 10,000 different types, though not all of them will reside in any one particular person. This ...

Bacteria from Antarctica aids the setting up of bio-toilets in India

06/23/2012
It is invisible to the naked eye and originated in the uninhabitable climes of Antarctica. This humble bacteria — known as Psychrophile — holds the potential to solve India's sanitation problem in the years to come. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is using these bacteria for the bio-digester ...

H5N1 Bird Flu Pandemic Potential Revealed

06/23/2012
Two papers published this week, and one last month, reveal the pandemic potential of H5N1 "bird flu". One identifies four, another identifies five, genetic changes the virus would have to undergo before it could spread easily in humans, and the third paper suggests some of these changes are already evident ...

Rare Drug-Resistant Bacteria Spotted in U.S. Hospital

06/22/2012
A rare type of deadly bacteria was found in two patients in a Rhode Island hospital in 2011, but swift treatment and infection control measures stopped any further spread, a new government report shows. The bacterium -- called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM)-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae -- is highly resistant to antibiotics and ...

Selenium keeps staph bacteria off implants

06/21/2012
A coating of selenium nanoparticles significantly reduces bacteria growth on polycarbonate, a material common in implanted medical devices. Selenium is an inexpensive element that naturally belongs in the body. It is also known to combat bacteria. Still, it had not been tried as an antibiotic coating on a medical device material. In ...

New CDC test for dengue approved

06/21/2012
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a new diagnostic test to detect the presence of dengue virus in people with symptoms of dengue fever or dengue hemorrhagic fever. The test, called the CDC DENV-1-4 Real Time RT PCR Assay, has been authorized by the Food and Drug ...

The Latest News from the Human Microbiome Project

06/19/2012
The NIH Human Microbiome Project has been a 5-year endeavor to produce community resources to support the field of human microbiome research. Although the HMP has already produced hundreds of peer-reviewed publications, in the past week 2 major HMP Consortium papers as well as 20+ companion papers were published ...

Potential Ebola treatment shows promise, Winnipeg lab says

06/19/2012
Canadian researchers are reporting a potential advance in the treatment of Ebola virus infection, one of the most deadly pathogens known to humankind. Researchers from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg are reporting that monkeys deliberately infected with Ebola were successfully saved with a cocktail of antibodies against the virus. Four of ...

Bacteria Work Shows Profit in Openness

06/19/2012
It was an experiment with bacteria that emboldened Novozymes A/S (NZYMB) into stepping up disclosures about its work to pressure groups. The openness paid off, and now the manufacturer is part of a growing club pushing transparency worldwide. The maker of enzymes for chemical reactions was using microbes that show resistance ...

Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden

06/19/2012
For a century, doctors have waged war against bacteria, using antibiotics as their weapons. But that relationship is changing as scientists become more familiar with the 100 trillion microbes that call us home — collectively known as the microbiome. “I would like to lose the language of warfare,” said Julie Segre, ...

One Health: Humans, Animals and the Environment

06/18/2012
The health of humans, animals, and the environment are inextricably interconnected. Disruption of the environment often creates new niches for the evolution of infectious diseases, and provides opportunities for the transmission of pathogens to animals or humans. The majority of infectious diseases that affect humans are acquired from animals. The ...

The Role of Non-Food Animals in the Spread of Antibiotic Resistance

06/18/2012
On the issue of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and animals, the first thing that comes to mind is livestock and other farm-based animals that are regularly fed antibiotics as growth promoters, but they are not the only source of resistance. Participants discuss studies showing that non-farm animals including pets, zoo animals ...

Tree oil may combat obesity, diabetes, S&T research suggests

06/18/2012
A future weapon in the battle against obesity and diabetes could come in the form of an oil derived from the seeds of wild almond trees, according to researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology. The key to the oil's potential lies in its ability to affect certain microorganisms living ...

Virus Kills Cancer By Hitching Ride On Blood Cells

06/18/2012
Scientists have discovered when a cancer-killing virus is injected in the bloodstream it hitches a ride on blood cells and evades attack from the immune system, allowing it to reach cancer tumors, and start destroying cancer cells. They suggest this means it may be possible to use promising "viral therapy" ...

Fewer antibiotics prescribed for children

06/18/2012
Antibiotics accounted for about a quarter of all pediatric prescriptions; amoxicillin leads the list. Overall, 263.6 million prescriptions were written for patients 17 and under in 2010, down 7% from 2002, finds the analysis of prescription claims databases by Food and Drug Administration researchers, published today in the journal Pediatrics. By ...

Intestinal bacteria produce neurotransmitter, could play role in inflammation

06/18/2012
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital have identified commensal bacteria in the human intestine that produce a neurotransmitter that may play a role in preventing or treating inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease. We identified, to our knowledge, the first bifidobacterial strain, Bifidobacterium dentium, that is ...

Germiest hot spots in hotels? TV remote, light switch, study finds

06/18/2012
Next time you enter a new hotel room, you might think twice before touching the light switch or reaching for the remote. Those are two of the top surfaces most likely to be contaminated with potentially sickening bacteria, according to a small new study aimed at boosting cleaning practices at the ...

When Good Bugs Go Bad: Microbiome Dynamics and Disease

06/17/2012
The human microbiome consists of thousands of viral and microbial species which inhabit the human body and have co-evolved with us to protect against pathogens, regulate organ function and supply nutrients and other factors essential for health. When these members fall out of balance, it can lead to disease. ...

Microbial Analysis of Environmental Surfaces in Hotel Rooms

06/17/2012
A survey of surfaces in hotel rooms finds television remotes to be among the most heavily contaminated with bacteria and items on housekeeping carts carry the potential to cross-contaminate rooms. Participants will discuss the results of this survey, the first step in to objectively assess sanitation by applying NASA’s ...

Microbial Colonization and the Host: Do the Colonists Reshape the Landscape?

06/17/2012
Traditionally, colonization of a host has been described in terms of a microbial community that does not affect the host, but recent research (such as the Human Microbiome Project) suggests that colonizing microbes are having an effect not only on the host, but on each other. Participants discuss how ...

Atomic-resolution view of a receptor reveals how stomach bacterium avoids acid

06/17/2012
University of Oregon scientists have discovered how the bacterium Helicobacter pylori navigates through the acidic stomach, opening up new possibilities to inactivate its disease-causing ability without using current strategies that often fail or are discontinued because of side effects. Their report -- online ahead of regular publication July 3 in the ...

Scientists: 10,000 germ species can live in/on healthy people

06/17/2012
They live on your skin, up your nose, in your gut - enough bacteria, fungi and other microbes that collected together could weigh, amazingly, a few pounds. Now scientists have mapped just which critters normally live in or on us and where, calculating that healthy people can share their bodies ...

Studying the bacteria in our bodies: The ethical ramifications

06/16/2012
Personally, I would have been perfectly happy to have been one of the volunteers for the Human Microbiome Project, in which researchers took a detailed census of all the bacteria, fungi and other microscopic life within us. Nor would I care if the contents of my innards were published for all ...

Study IDs Risk Factors for Fatal MRSA

06/16/2012
The risk of death from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia increased significantly with age, nursing home residence, and organ impairment, according to a retrospective review of 699 episodes of MRSA. Severe bacteremia also predicted an increased mortality risk, but the MRSA strain was not predictive. Consultation with an infectious disease specialist ...

Oregon man reportedly contracts the plague after trying to rescue mouse from cat

06/15/2012
An Oregon man appears to be suffering from the plague after he tried to rescue a mouse from the mouth of a feral cat. "This can be a serious illness," Emilio DeBess, state public health veterinarian, tells the Oregonian. "But it is treatable with antibiotics, and it's also preventable." The unnamed man, ...

Mutant Gut Bacteria Reverse Colon Cancer in Lab Models

06/13/2012
Mansour Mohamadzadeh, Ph.D., a professor in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine and the UF College of Medicine, developed a genetically-modified form of the bacterium Lactobacillus acidophilus that greatly reduced abnormal gut inflammation and reversed colon cancer in mice. A mutant form of a meek microbe deals a gutsy ...

Scientists Reveal Structure of Bacterial Chainmail

06/11/2012
An international team of scientists, funded in the UK by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), has uncovered the structure of the protective protein coat which surrounds many bacteria like a miniature suit of armour. Their research, which is published June 10 in Nature, has far ranging consequences ...

Kidney-Damaging Drug Seen Attacking Spread of Superbugs

06/11/2012
Doctors spurned colistin for decades because it damages kidneys. Now the drug is deemed “critically important” and in demand worldwide to thwart the most obstinate infections. The 53-year-old medicine, also used as an additive in chicken feed, is back in favor as resistance to antibiotics escalates and doctors run out of ...

New research could protect plants from frost, drought

06/11/2012
Imagine a Wyoming where the growing season could start weeks earlier, and where a late frost that so often bites crops couldn’t creep into plant’s veins. It may be possible, and University of Wyoming professor Gary Franc is trying to figure out how. It starts deep in plants, in a byproduct of ...

Officials probe E. coli outbreak in 6 states

06/10/2012
A mysterious and scattered outbreak of the E. coli bacteria is linked to 14 illnesses, including a child's death, health officials say. No form of contaminated food or other cause has been identified in the illnesses, which occurred in April and May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and ...

We And Our Microbes Are In This together

06/10/2012
Here’s my weekly column, which will also run in Monday’s Health and Science section of the Philadelphia Inquirer Image is from Penn and reportedly shows a color enhanced tissue section from a healthy mouse. The mouse cells are green and bacterial cells are purple. Next time your digestive system malfunctions ...

Microbes Capable of Surviving Harsh, Mars-Like Conditions Discovered

06/09/2012
Soil samples obtained from South American volcanoes have revealed a smattering of different microbe types that have somehow managed to survive in extreme conditions, the University of Colorado-Boulder (CU-Boulder) announced in a June 8 press release. According to the university, the scientists behind the research discovered bacteria, fungi, and a different ...

Parasitic Plants Steal Genes from Their Hosts

06/09/2012
New research published June 8 in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Genomics reveals that the Malaysian parasitic plant Rafflesia cantleyi, with its 50cm diameter flowers, has 'stolen' genes from its host Tetrastigma rafflesiae. Analysis of these genes shows that their functions range from respiration to metabolism, and that some ...

Microbes Beam Electrons to Each Other Via Mineral "Wires"

06/09/2012
Bacteria can use minerals in soil as electrical grids, which helps the microbes generate chemicals they need to survive, a new study says. The process involves different bacterial species trading electrons—negatively charged subatomic particles. Electrons are key to all life-forms, from microbes to people. For instance, the human body constantly swaps electrons ...

Irritable bowel, ulcerative colitis linked to intestinal fungi

06/09/2012
Bacteria in the gut play a crucial role in human health, and imbalances in bacterial populations can contribute to many disorders. New research suggests that fungi, though not as common in the intestines as bacteria, may also play a role in causing and modulating disease. The results could lead to new ...

What a sound idea

06/07/2012
At first glance it appears to be a minuscule marble spinning around its vertical axis. Look closer, however, and you see a stationary spherical membrane of fluid, just 3 microns across. It is the stuff inside the droplet that is rotating. This self-contained centrifuge has been created by blasting a ...

TB survey in China finds drug resistance rife

06/07/2012
Health experts are calling for faster testing of the 9 million people worldwide estimated to be infected with tuberculosis each year after a study in China found drug-resistant strains were rife. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, gives the first nationwide estimate of the scale ...

Good bugs gone bad: Gut immune cells keep beneficial microbes in their place

06/06/2012
The healthy human intestine is colonized with over 100 trillion beneficial, or commensal, bacteria of many different species. In healthy people, these bacteria are limited to the intestinal tissues and have a number of helpful properties, including aiding in the digestion of food and promoting a healthy immune system. However, when ...

'Super Bug' May Thrive in Homes Where Kids Have Staph Infections

06/06/2012
People in the homes of children with skin and soft-tissue infections caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus have a higher rate of methicillin-resistant S. aureus colonization than the general population, a new study finds. S. aureus infection often is referred to as Staph infection. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) -- a serious ...

Infectious Bacteria Altered Human Evolution 100,000 Years Ago

06/06/2012
Roughly 100,000 years ago, human evolution reached a mysterious bottleneck: Our ancestors had been reduced to perhaps five to ten thousand individuals living in Africa. In time, "behaviorally modern" humans would emerge from this population, expanding dramatically in both number and range, and replacing all other co-existing evolutionary cousins, such ...

21st Century Challenges

06/06/2012
In 1899, the country's microbiologists, or bacteriologists as they were known then, were focused on an outbreak of bubonic plague in New York harbor. As if that weren't enough, ongoing concerns prevailed about farm animal diseases being transmissible to humans through dairy and meat products. And with typhoid fever and ...

Interview With Professor David C Hooper, MD, President, American Society for Microbiology

06/04/2012
Boasting more than 39,000 members worldwide – representing 26 disciplines along with a division dedicated to microbiology educators – ASM is a major actor in microbiological sciences. Professor David C Hooper MD, President of the Society, highlights the breadth of their influence Could you outline the circumstances that brought about ...

Dose of zinc boosts recovery chances for sick babies suffering from bacterial infections

06/04/2012
A simple, cheap dose of zinc helps the recovery of newborns suffering from bacterial infections such as pneumonia and meningitis, according to an Indian study reported on Thursday in The Lancet. Doctors gave 10-milligram daily supplements of zinc to 332 babies who were being given antibiotic treatment at hospitals in New ...

USDA poised to start testing beef for non-O157 E coli

06/04/2012
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), poised to start testing beef trim for six non-O157 strains of pathogenic Escherichia coli next week, today released documents that spell out some expectations for the program and make clear that much remains to be learned about the risk. In a notice to be published ...

Computer-Designed Proteins Programmed to Disarm Variety of Flu Viruses

06/03/2012
Computer-designed proteins are under construction to fight the flu. Researchers are demonstrating that proteins found in nature, but that do not normally bind the flu, can be engineered to act as broad-spectrum antiviral agents against a variety of flu virus strains, including H1N1 pandemic influenza. "One of these engineered proteins has ...

Cosmic Art Glows With Fluorescent Bacteria

06/03/2012
At an upcoming art exhibit, glowing images of heavenly objects — stars, galaxies, nebulae and remnants of supernovae — will have unusual frames: the clear rims of Petri dishes, the sort typically used to grow microbes. There's no coincidence here. The images of these astronomical structures have been created from the ...

Shedding light on the role of bacteria in corals

06/03/2012
A TEAM from Murdoch University, The Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University, examined the diversity and community structure of coral related bacteria on Ningaloo Reef before and after coral spawning. Using DNA sequencing, three coral species Acropora tenuis, Pocillopora damicornis and the non-reef building coral Tubastrea faulkneri, were ...

The Many Lifestyles of Muck Dwelling Microbes

06/02/2012
Scientists at the University of Leeds are exploring ways to use magnetic bacteria to build biocomputers of the future. Meanwhile, another group of researchers, reporting in Science, write that they have unearthed deep-sea microbe that live off nutrients from the dinosaur age. This NPR segment from Science Friday is available to ...

Princeton University researchers develop tooth attachment that detects bacteria

06/02/2012
It may not be the latest style in bovine bling, but researchers at Princeton University say a golden tattoo attached to a cow’s tooth could one day tell you something about your health. The remote sensing device has the ability to detect a single bacterium, and to demonstrate, scientists at Princeton ...

Flesh-Eating Bacteria: Myths and Facts

06/02/2012
It’s all over the news: a healthy young woman in Georgia has been attacked by “Flesh Eating Bacteria.” Thankfully, she’s finally off of a ventilator. She’s still critically ill, even after undergoing several heroic surgical procedures to remove dead tissue. There will be a lot of rehab in her future, ...

Single-Celled Office Mates, by the Thousands

06/02/2012
Men’s offices have more bacteria than women’s offices. Not only that: Offices in New York City house more bacteria than those in San Francisco. These are among the findings of a new study in the journal PLoS One that looks at bacteria in more than 90 offices in three cities — ...

Microbe that can handle ionic liquids

05/29/2012
In the search for technology by which economically competitive biofuels can be produced from cellulosic biomass, the combination of sugar-fermenting microbes and ionic liquid solvents looks to be a winner save for one major problem: The ionic liquids used to make cellulosic biomass more digestible for microbes can also be ...

Slow-Motion Microbes Still Living off Dino-era "Lunch Box"

05/29/2012
Buried under the seafloor for 86 million years, a bacterial community lives so slowly it's still surviving on a "lunch box" from dinosaur days, a new study says. (See marine-microbe pictures.) It's been known since the 1990s that microbes can live trapped in ocean sediments for millions of years, but until ...

How Curry Spice Helps The Immune System Kill Bacteria

05/28/2012
A spice used in curry dishes helps to prevent infection and now scientists think they've got a lead on how. Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric, a flavourful, orange and yellow spice that is a key ingredient in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. The spice has also been used ...

Identifying viral vs. bacterial sinusitis

05/28/2012
Although the vast majority of sinus infections are caused by viruses, bacteria are likely to be the culprits in specific circumstances, and in those instances, antibiotics should be used.
 This information comes from a new guideline issued by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) focusing on acute bacterial rhinosinusitis in ...

Shot Protects Against More Than the Flu for Pregnant Women

05/28/2012
Giving the flu vaccine to pregnant women may bring significant benefits to their babies even before birth, a new study has found. Canadian researchers studied the records of 55,570 mothers of singletons, of whom 23,340 were vaccinated during pregnancy from November 2009 through April 2010. Compared with unvaccinated mothers, women who ...

The CIA's fake vaccination drive has damaged the battle against polio

05/28/2012
I was in New York on 11 September 2001, standing near one of the TV screens in the media section of Unicef's communication division, where I headed up Unicef's global communication work on immunisation. As the second plane crashed into the twin towers, we were quickly evacuated out of Unicef ...

Garlic Constituent Blocks Biofilm Formation, Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients and Others

05/27/2012
E Pluribus Unum, the de facto motto of the United States, could just as well apply to biofilm-forming bacteria. Bacterial biofilms are far more resistant than individual bacteria to the armories of antibiotics we have devised to combat them. Now Tim Holm Jakobsen and Michael Givskov of the University ...

Testing the water

05/27/2012
As the lakefront officially opens to swimmers Friday, the Lake Michigan shoreline joins the cutting edge in the war on bacteria after decades of using day-old water samples to decide whether to close beaches. In Chicago, the Park District will use a new high-tech system that uses computer software to give ...

The Bacteria that Commit Honourable Suicide

05/27/2012
In multicellular organisms it is essential that every cell behaves and does the job it was produced to perform. The survival of a multicellular organism depends on this - every cell in your body is tightly controlled in terms of how big it can grow (fairly big), when it ...

Rapid coral death by a deadly chain reaction

05/26/2012
Most people are fascinated by the colorful and exotic coral reefs, which form habitats with probably the largest biodiversity. But human civilisation is the top danger to these fragile ecosystems through climate change, oxygen depletion and ocean acidification. Industrialisation, deforestation and intensive farming in coastal areas are changing dramatically the ...

The American Society for Microbiology announces the 2012 Award Laureates

05/26/2012
The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) is proud to announce the 2012 award laureates. The awards will be presented during the 112th General Meeting of the ASM, June 16-19, 2012 in San Francisco, CA. Abbott Award in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology honors a distinguished scientist in the field of clinical or ...

Are Anthropogenic Pressures Increasing The Speed Of Bacterial Evolution?

05/26/2012
It wasn't so long ago that antibacterial products, from soaps to hand gels to wipes for your kitchen counter, became ubiquitous in our grocery stores and our daily lives. Not long afterwards, though, we started hearing reports that these products and their even more powerful cousins, antibiotic prescriptions, were actually ...

Irritable Bowel Linked To Gut Bacteria, Definitively

05/26/2012
A new study of Greek patients shows that overgrowth of bacteria in the gut is definitively linked to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is the first to use the "gold standard" method of examining gut bacterial cultures to connect bacteria to the cause of a disease that affects some 30 ...

Drinking Red Wine Is Good for Gut Bacteria

05/25/2012
Drinking a daily glass of red wine not only tastes good to many people, but it's also good for the bacteria lining your large intestine. A new Spanish study suggests that sipping about 9 ounces of Merlot or a low-alcohol red wine changed the mix of good and bad bacteria ...

BLM rejects permit for methane bacteria project

05/25/2012
Federal land managers have rejected an application by a Colorado company to use bacteria to produce methane from northeast Wyoming coal beds. Luca Technologies Inc. wants to use a process called methane farming in which water and chemicals are injected into a coal seam, activating microbes that live in the coal. ...

10 Surprising Things That Bacteria Like to Eat

05/24/2012
You've probably heard of necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating bacteria. But bacteria do not actually eat human flesh. They're actually trying to gobble up something a lot weirder. Here are ten of the stranger things bacteria naturally (and unnaturally) eat. You'll never look at dirty underwear the same way ...

Baby's Gut Bacteria Can Influence Immunity

05/22/2012
Baby's guts have different bacteria living inside them based on if they are bottle or breast-fed. A new study indicates these bacterial differences could lead to differences in their immune systems. "The findings show that human milk feeding promotes the beneficial microbe population in the gut and crosstalk between these bacteria ...

How one strain of MRSA becomes resistant to last-line antibiotic

05/22/2012
Researchers have uncovered what makes one particular strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) so proficient at picking up resistance genes, such as the one that makes it resistant to vancomycin, the last line of defense for hospital-acquired infections. They report their findings in mBio, the online open-access journal of the ...

Zooming in on bacterial weapons in 3D

05/21/2012
The plague, bacterial dysentery, and cholera have one thing in common: These dangerous diseases are caused by bacteria which infect their host using a sophisticated injection apparatus. Through needle-like structures, they release molecular agents into their host cell, thereby evading the immune response. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for ...

Dip Chip biosensor uses microbes to instantly detect almost any toxic substance

05/21/2012
Once upon a time, tasters were employed by the well-to-do, in order to check that their food or drink wasn't poisonous. Today, there are electronic biosensors that can do more or less the same thing. Unfortunately, as was no doubt sometimes the case with the tasters, the biosensors can’t always ...
05/21/2012
Microbes living at the edges of Arctic ice sheets could help researchers pinpoint evidence for similar microorganisms that may have evolved on Mars, Jupiter's moon Europa or Saturn's moon Enceladus, researchers say. Scientists are investigating the receding edge of ice sheets on Earth to study the release of methane there. Methane is ...

Microbe Endures Ionic Liquids, May Lead to Efficient Biofuel Production Process

05/21/2012
A joint team of scientists have identified and determined how a tropical rainforest microbe is able to endure high concentrations of an ionic liquid used to dissolve cellulosic biomass. Their discovery may provide a basis for engineering ionic liquid tolerance into strains of fuel-producing microbes for a more efficient biofuel ...

Tobacco virus may help prevent Parkinson's

05/20/2012
The same tobacco leaves that kill hundreds of thousands of smokers every year may hold the key to preventing Parkinson’s disease, according to new research from the University of Louisville. University researchers say their findings stem from the puzzling question of why smoking appears to lower the risk for developing the ...

Fighting Bacteria’s Strength in Numbers

05/20/2012
Scientists at The University of Nottingham have opened the way for more accurate research into new ways to fight dangerous bacterial infections by proving a long-held theory about how bacteria communicate with each other. Researchers in the University's School of Molecular Medical Sciences have shown for the first time that the ...

Can Stuffing Germs up Ferrets Unleash a Human Pandemic?

05/19/2012
The Claim: A lab-concocted strain of ferret flu could become a doomsday weapon or bioterrorist threat. The Contrarian: Wendy Orent, author of Plague, says the much-hyped fears are unfounded: The new strain presents no danger to humans but reveals a great deal about the transmission of flu. Deadly H5N1 avian flu, long ...

Microbiology lecturer at UL gets €75,000 Marie Curie Fellowship

05/19/2012
Dr Achim Schmalenberger, a lecturer in microbiology at University of Limerick (UL), has been awarded a €75,000 Marie Curie grant by the European Commission to take his soil microbiology research to the next level. The Marie Curie Fellowship itself is a start-up research grant for researchers who are beginning their first ...

Fish Pedicures Could Cause Serious Bacterial Infections, Warns CDC

05/19/2012
It’s official: Fish pedicures aren’t just a bizarre beauty ritual with shady animal-welfare considerations, they’re also downright dangerous to your health, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On Wednesday, the federal agency published a report by U.K.’s Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science, which examined ...

Antibiotics prevent UTIs better than probiotics

05/19/2012
Antibiotics are still better than probiotics at preventing urinary tract infections, but at least "good bacteria" don't add to a person's antibiotic resistance, a new study concludes. Recurring UTIs are common among some women and low-dose antibiotics are sometimes used to prevent them. The worry is that overuse of the drugs ...

Ancient Deep-Sea Bacteria Are In No Hurry To Eat

05/19/2012
Back when the dinosaurs ruled the Earth, some hardy bacteria took up residence at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. Eighty six million years later, they're still there. And a new study says they're living out the most Spartan lifestyle known on this planet. They live in a place called the ...

Bacteria: Energy Producers of the Future?

05/17/2012
All of us use water and in the process, a lot of it goes to waste. Whether it goes down drains, sewers or toilets, much of it ends up at a wastewater treatment plant where it undergoes rigorous cleaning before it flows back to the environment. The process takes time, ...

Sheets of virus generate electricity when squished

05/17/2012
Squishing a stack of virus sheets generates enough electricity to power a small liquid crystal display. With increased power output, these virus films might one day use the beating of your heart to power a pacemaker, the researchers behind them say. Piezoelectric materials build up charge when pushed or squeezed. These ...

MBTA plans to conduct bio-terror test in Boston

05/17/2012
MBTA officials are planning on using small amounts of dead bacteria will be used - a few ounces, such as the amount in a sugar packet - to test biosensors that were installed in December. The testing will begin sometime this summer and reaction is decidedly mixed. MBTA riders voiced their ...

Some Like It Very Hot

05/14/2012
Russian scientists have now poured 60 tonnes of freon and kerosene down the four-kilometre bore hole that plunges through the ice above Lake Vostok in Antarctica. This will stop the hole freezing up during the long Antarctic winter. When summer comes, the Russian team will return to drill the last ...

Microbe Transports Contaminants Through Its Fibers

05/14/2012
Bacteria can break down hydrocarbons in the soil, but how quickly the compounds degrade depends on how rapidly they reach the bacteria. Fibrous networks of fungi and related organisms might be able to help, researchers have discovered. Threads in these networks, which transport nutrients through the organisms’ bodies, also transport ...

Tracking The Spread Of A Nasty Virus (NPR Audio Story)

05/13/2012
When members of a travel soccer team in Oregon fell ill last year, the details of how the disease spread through the team were mysterious. Kimberly Repp, an epidemiologist in Washington County, Oregon, describes the medical detective work that led epidemiologists through the chain of transmission of the norovirus.

Experts Recommend FDA Approval of AIDS Prevention Drug

05/13/2012
A panel of U.S. experts has recommended federal approval of the first drug shown to prevent HIV — the virus that causes AIDS. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel held two separate votes Thursday on recommending the drug Truvada for healthy people at high risk of AIDS — one ...

Madonna’s Secret for Longevity Seen Aiding Bacteria Boom

05/13/2012
The secret to Madonna’s staying power may be surprisingly simple: gardening. What the pop star does involves no trowel or soil. Thanks to dishes of fermented soy beans, millet and brown rice prepared by her personal chef, Mayumi Nishimura, Madonna practices a form of inner horticulture -- cultivating her intestinal flora ...

Jail-bird flu

05/13/2012
Ron Fouchier (pictured), of the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, is the lead author of a controversial paper which lays out how deadly H5N1 avian influenza, or bird flu, can be made deadlier still. He believes this information should be widely disseminated, so that biologists can work on drugs or ...

Bacteria study of male adolescents reveals new insights into urinary tract health

05/13/2012
The first study using cultivation independent sequencing of the microorganisms in the adolescent male urinary tract has revealed that the composition of microbial communities colonizing the penis in young men depends upon their circumcision status and patterns of sexual activity. This study, published Friday in the online journal PLoS One, is ...

19th Century Shipwreck Beer Could Be Recreated

05/13/2012
Beer discovered two years ago onboard a shipwreck from the mid-1800s could possibly be recreated using living bacteria discovered in the brew, Finnish researchers announced last Thursday. According to Terhi Kinnunen of Reuters, Annika Wilhelmson from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland said that chemical analysis of the beer, which was ...

Bacteria in digestive tracts compete against invading bacteria

05/12/2012
From tiny villages in developing nations to suburban kitchens in the United States, dangerous strains of E. coli bacteria sicken millions of people each year - and kill untold numbers of children. Now, new research from the University of Michigan Health System gives scientists a better understanding of what is going ...

Superbugs Spread to 40 Nations, Threatening India's Medical Tourism

05/12/2012
Lill-Karin Skaret, a 67-year-old grandmother from Namsos, Norway, was traveling to a lakeside vacation villa near India's port city of Kochi in March 2010 when her car collided with a truck. She was rushed to the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, her right leg broken and her artificial hip so ...

Lack of Gut Bugs Linked to Extra Pounds on Kids

05/12/2012
Having lower levels of a certain type of gut bacteria, which may be associated with eating too little protein, could lead to obesity in kids, researchers found. Low concentrations of Bacteroides fragilis group bacteria were linked with a greater likelihood of being obese using two different methods of assessing the bacteria ...

1 in 6 cancers worldwide caused by infections that can be prevented or treated

05/09/2012
One in every six cancers worldwide is caused by an infection that is preventable or treatable, according to new estimates published in the journal Lancet Oncology. The research indicates infections are attributable for approximately 2 million new cancer cases every year. "Infections with certain viruses, bacteria, and parasites are one of ...

Magnetic bacteria create a biological hard drive

05/09/2012
Computer virus destroyed your hard drive? Don't worry, some day bacteria might build you a bigger and better one. Hard drives store data on discs coated with a metallic film divided into tiny magnetic regions, each of which stores a single bit - the more regions you can squeeze on to ...

Probiotics may help prevent diarrhea: report

05/09/2012
Taking probiotics - strains of "good" bacteria - on top of a course of antibiotics may help ward off the diarrhea that often comes with antibiotic treatment, according to a U.S. review of past studies. When researchers, whose findings appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, combined trials of ...

Backyard Biodiversity May Stem Allergies

05/08/2012
A decline in the variety of life — including the plants and animals that live around us, as well as the microbes on our bodies — may play a role in the rapid rise in allergies and asthma, indicates new research. The study focused on a predisposition for allergies among 118 ...

Drug-resistant Bacteria - Designing Nanoparticles For High Antibiotic Doses

05/07/2012
Highly-targeted nanoparticles that deliver huge doses of existing antibiotics could be used to overload the defenses of drug-resistant bacteria, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and MIT reported in the journal ACS Nano. The authors explained that the development of novel antibiotics that can be used effective for a growing ...

To Keep Yourself Healthy: Brush, Floss, and Measure Your Microbes Daily?

05/06/2012
When John Mayer sang “Your Body is a Wonderland,” he probably wasn’t talking about the trillions of microbes that live all over your skin and inside every orifice you have to offer—but it does pretty much describe things. In the last decade or so, scientists have confirmed that we’re just ...

Microbes Go Rafting on Floating Volcanic Rocks

05/06/2012
Volcanoes bring death and destruction, but out of the ashes life soon finds fertile ground. A unique experiment is sifting through floating debris from an ongoing volcanic event to see how microbes move in. The results may help in assessing a recent hypothesis that the first life forms may have ...

Bogus booze fed to microbes for electricity

05/06/2012
Counterfeit booze confiscated by trading standards officers was used to create electricity in Alfreton last week. Seven hundred litres of “Drop Vodka” was poured into silos at Severn Trent’s Alfreton sewage works where microbes consume human waste and create methane, which is then burned to produce electricity. A van containing 900 bottles ...

Nanotechnology Shock Waves

05/06/2012
“I SING the body electric,” Walt Whitman wrote in 1855, inspired by the novelty of useful electricity, which he would live to see power streetlights and telephones, locomotives and dynamos. In “Leaves of Grass,” his ecstatic epic poem of American life, he depicted himself as a live wire, a relay ...

U.S. to Expedite E. Coli Tracking

05/05/2012
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will unveil plans Wednesday to begin acting more quickly to prevent outbreaks of E. coli illnesses by tracking contaminated ground beef to its source as soon as a preliminary test detects the bacteria, according to a government document. The USDA now waits for confirmation tests before ...

Pathogens that feed off human blood

05/05/2012
Bacteria may be tiny little micro-organisms but like any other living creature there are certain molecules that they need for survival. No matter what niche a bacterial colony occupies, it eventually requires a source of iron. For bacteria that live within the human body, there is one incredibly iron-rich molecule ...

Nutrient Supply After Algal Bloom Determines the Succession of the Bacterial Population

05/05/2012
Algal blooms can considerably interfere with summer holidays by the sea. In the coastal zone of temperate regions a spring algal bloom is not a sign of excessive nutrient input, but most of all a consequence of the more intense solar irradiation in spring. When algal blooms end, the algae ...

Lab worker killed by rare bacteria was UC Berkeley grad who wanted to combat disease with science

05/05/2012
A lab researcher apparently killed by the bacteria he was studying at the San Francisco VA Medical Center had dedicated himself to combating fatal diseases after a relative's death, said those who knew him. Richard Din, 25, died on Saturday less than a day after he fell ill from a fast-moving ...

Bacteria discovery could lead to antibiotics alternatives

05/04/2012
The researchers say their findings could lead to the development of new anti-infective drugs as alternatives to antibiotics whose overuse has led to resistance. University of Manchester researchers studied Listeria – a potentially deadly group of bacteria that can cause listeriosis in humans when digested – and found they are able ...

Target: Drug-resistant bacteria

05/04/2012
Over the past several decades, scientists have faced challenges in developing new antibiotics even as bacteria have become increasingly resistant to existing drugs. One strategy that might combat such resistance would be to overwhelm bacterial defenses by using highly targeted nanoparticles to deliver large doses of existing antibiotics. In a step ...

Deadly infection claims San Francisco VA lab worker

05/03/2012
State and federal health officials are investigating how a rare and virulent bacteria strain appears to have killed a young researcher at a VA Hospital's infectious diseases lab in San Francisco, setting off alarms that the man's friends and fellow researchers also may have been exposed. The 25-year-old laboratory researcher at ...

Garlic compound kills food-borne bacteria better than antibiotics

05/02/2012
A compound in garlic is 100 times more effective than two popular antibiotics at fighting the Campylobacter bacterium, one of the most common causes of intestinal illness, researchers at Washington State University have found. The discovery opens the door to new treatments for raw and processed meats and food preparation surfaces. “This ...

Nanotechnology dental fillings that kill bacteria and re-mineralize the tooth

05/02/2012
Scientists using nanotechology at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry have created the first cavity-filling composite that kills harmful bacteria and regenerates tooth structure lost to bacterial decay. Rather than just limiting decay with conventional fillings, the new composite is a revolutionary dental weapon to control harmful bacteria, which co-exist ...

Do Gut Microbes Travel From Person to Person?

05/02/2012
It’s an exciting time for ecologists who study microbes. DNA sequencing has grown so cheap and fast that they can run around identifying bacteria living just about anywhere they can reach with a cotton swab. Turns out, bacteria are everywhere, even in the cleanest houses, and scientists are starting to ...

Homeland Security To Test Biological Sensors In MBTA Tunnels

05/01/2012
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will be releasing bacteria into the MBTA tunnels to test the safety of the subway. The DHS has installed sensors in the MBTA system to detect biological agents and they’ve been testing to see how the air moves. Now they want to release particles in the ...

Eternal Yogurt: The Starter That Lives Forever

05/01/2012
If you make your own yogurt, there's a chance your yogurt could outlive you. That's because some bacteria that grow and feed on the sugar in milk – the process that ferments milk into yogurt — can procreate indefinitely in new generations of yogurt. But not all yogurts have these immortal powers. ...

Breast-Fed Babies Have Healthier Guts and Stronger Immunity, Study

05/01/2012
Breastfeeding may help a baby’s gut develop a wider range of healthy bacteria, which is critical for intestinal tract and in immune system development, according to a new study. The findings, published in the journal Genome Biology, show that the bacteria in babies’ guts were linked to changes in expression ...

Drug-resistant bacteria go undetected

05/01/2012
Efforts to detect and halt the global spread of drug-resistant bacteria are being hindered by a poor understanding of the limitations of crucial laboratory tests. Because infected patients need to be isolated quickly to avoid spreading infections, the failure to identify antibiotic-resistant pathogens is increasing the risk of untreatable outbreaks, ...

Bean bugs found to harbor bacteria that keep them safe from an insecticide

04/25/2012
Conventional wisdom says that in order for a species of insect to develop resistance to an antibiotic, several generations have to pass, whereby genes from those that have some natural resistance pass them on to their offspring. But sometimes conventional wisdom fails to take into account how some bugs can ...

Brain Cancer Vaccine Proves Effective‎

04/22/2012
A new brain cancer vaccine tailored to individual patients by using material from their own tumors has proven effective in a multicenter phase 2 clinical trial at extending their lives by several months or longer. The patients suffered from recurrent glioblastoma multiforme—which kills thousands of Americans every year. These results, to ...

U.S. Measles Cases, Outbreaks Quadruple in 2011

04/22/2012
Measles cases are spiking sharply in the U.S., the CDC reported today. The 222 cases and 17 outbreaks seen in 2011 are nearly four times the median of 60 cases and four outbreaks per year seen over the last decade. A third of patients were hospitalized.

Bacteria Talk, Plants Listen: The Discovery of Plant Immune Receptors, an Interview with Dr. Pamela Ronald

04/22/2012
Prof. Pamela Ronald, a Professor in Plant Pathology at University of California, Davis and director of Grass Genetics at the Joint Bioenergy Institute, studies genes that control the plant response to stress. In her presentation for the Frontiers in Life Sciences symposium at Cornell University, Ronald described the isolation of a ...

Self-Testing for Bacterial Vaginosis Is Accurate

04/22/2012
Self-tests for bacterial vaginosis (BV) are reasonably accurate (73% sensitive and 67% specific for a pH-based test and 40% sensitive and 90% specific for a self-sialidase test when compared with a clinical diagnosis using modified Amsel criteria). The pH-based test has been available over the counter since 2001 and may ...

Super salmonella bacteria found

04/22/2012
Certain Salmonella bacteria, the microbes that cause food poisoning, have the potential to become as much as 100 times more virulent than normal, recent research has found. In the study, these super-bugs overcame the protective effects of a Salmonella vaccine, killing vaccinated mice. The scientists found that some of ...

Defeating Bacteria From the Inside Out‎

04/21/2012
Bacteriophages, a class of viruses that only attack bacteria, have been controversial ever since their discovery by a brash, young, self-taught researcher named Felix d’Herelle nearly a century ago. In the 1920s and ’30s, before the advent of antibiotics, doctors using phage therapy reported near miraculous cures for infections, even at ...

Could a Newly Discovered Viral Genome Change What We Thought We Knew About Virus Evolution?

04/21/2012
A study published in BioMed Central's Biology Direct journal reports the existence of a previously undetected group of viruses and, more importantly, a new type of viral genome that could have huge implications for theories of viral emergence and evolution. Viruses are the most abundant organisms on earth, yet little is ...

A history of antibiotic use in farm animals

04/21/2012
Last week the Food and Drug Administration announced plans to phase out routine use of antibiotics in farm animals, saying the practice produces dangerous drug-resistant bacteria that can infect humans. Farmers have been feeding antibiotics to animals for decades, and the FDA has struggled to curb the practice for at ...

3% patients’ bacteria samples show total resistance (India)

04/21/2012
In a worrisome finding, an ongoing survey at Sassoon hospital reveals that three per cent of bacterial infections in samples collected from patients over the past two-three months show total resistance to antibiotics. Th study showed that three per cent of microbiologically confirmed infections seen in patients’ blood, urine and pus ...

Killer whales facing an airborne threat

04/21/2012
New research shows that killer whales are inhaling bacteria, fungi and viruses once believed to be found only on land. Some of the pathogens are highly virulent. And some are even antibiotic-resistant. The scientists followed the killer whales by boat, trying to catch the precise moment the animals broke the surface. Then, ...

Gum disease not proven to cause heart disease, experts say

04/19/2012
Contrary to what had been "accepted" thinking by many, there is no conclusive evidence that gum disease causes heart attacks and strokes, or that treating gum disease will improve heart disease, according to a new scientific statement by the American Heart Association. Gum disease is a major reason that adults lose ...

Asking old human tissue to answer new scientific questions

04/17/2012
Pirates used to say that “dead men tell no tales.” Of course, the buccaneers had never heard of the polymerase chain reaction. Dead men turn out to be loaded with information if you can get your hands on them — or better yet, on small preserved pieces. The genomics revolution, two ...

Replication of immunodeficiency virus in humans

04/16/2012
The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) pandemic is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), which attacks the immune system and leaves infected individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections. AIDS and HIV-1 are thought to have a relatively short history in humans, with the first infections likely occurring around the turn of ...

Thyme's Time as Acne Remedy May Be Coming Soon

04/16/2012
The next new acne treatment may be found in the produce section of your food store. Largely due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, the herb thyme -- which is found with other herbs in the produce section of most food stores -- may well earn itself a place in the ...

Air pollution and tuberculosis may be connected

04/15/2012
In a new study, scientists have determined a possible link between exposure to a common component of urban air pollution and a change in the function of important immune cells that protect against the bacteria that cause tuberculosis. In their finding, a team of researchers, led by Dr. Stephan Schwander, ...

Haiti launches anti-cholera vaccination campaign

04/15/2012
The Haitian government along with international partners including the World Health Organization launched a vaccination campaign against cholera on Saturday targeting 100,000 people in vulnerable areas of the impoverished Caribbean country. The program was launched in the slum area of Cite de Dieu, in the Haitian capital, where health practitioners are ...

Does flesh-eating bacteria really make a meal out of you?

04/15/2012
You first notice a bump — a tender, cherry red bruise. Over the next 12 hours, the center of this painful spot on your leg becomes dark violet in color. A day later this raised red bump ruptures and fluid oozes forth. I hope you are on the way to ...

Harbor pollution going public, real-time

04/15/2012
Boaters, anglers and anyone bold enough to swim in Baltimore's troubled harbor will soon be able to get timely information about whether they're risking an upset stomach or infection from splashing in water fouled with sewage leaks and other pollution. Starting this month, the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, Tina Meyers, plans to ...

Kids Have Little Protection from New Flu Virus

04/14/2012
Children younger than 10 likely will be the most susceptible if a variant of the influenza A (H3N2) virus -- dubbed A (H3N2)v -- develops the ability to transmit easily among humans, researchers found. Since August 2011, there have been 12 cases of infection with the variant -- which contains genes ...

How Cells Distinguish Between Disease-Causing and Innocuous Invaders

04/14/2012
The specific mechanisms by which humans and other animals are able to discriminate between disease-causing microbes and innocuous ones in order to rapidly respond to infections have long been a mystery to scientists. But a study conducted on roundworms by biologists at UC San Diego has uncovered some important clues ...

Researchers find a way to detect “hypervirulent” Salmonella strains

04/13/2012
A recent discovery of "hypervirulent" Salmonella bacteria has given University of California, Santa Barbara researchers Michael Mahan and Douglas Heithoff a means to potentially prevent food poisoning outbreaks from these particularly powerful strains. Their findings, in a paper titled "Intraspecies Variation in the Emergence of Hyperinfectious Bacterial Strains in Nature," ...

H5N1 research: biosafety, biosecurity and bioethics - Entire Conference Available Online

04/12/2012
Organised by the Royal Society in partnership with the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Foundation for Vaccine Research with support from the American Society for Microbiology, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Fondation Mérieux, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Institut Pasteur, and the Society for General Microbiology. ...

Subterranean bacteria are prepared to survive antibiotics

04/12/2012
No place on Earth demonstrates the resilience or inventiveness of life quite like Lechuguilla Cave, whose subterranean tunnels stretch for 130 miles through Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. Deep in the cave's most arid recesses, deprived of all sunlight and mostly starved of life-giving water, a lush garden of ...

London prepares for Olympian disease-monitoring task

04/11/2012
As the world’s athletes limber up for the forthcoming Olympic games in London, infectious-disease experts are preparing for their own trials. Their competition is with the diseases that millions of athletes, officials, media and spectators bring with them as they converge from across the globe on the UK capital. There is ...

Bacteria ‘munching’ on Titanic: scientists

04/11/2012
In less than 30 years, there may be nothing left of the Titanic but a heap of “rusticles,” warns researcher Henrietta Mann, who has spent four years researching bacteria gnawing on its sunken hull. A scientific expedition in 1991 to the disintegrating wreck some 12,400 feet (3,780 meters) to the ocean ...

Post-mortem on mutant flu

04/10/2012
The dust is beginning to settle on the months-long controversy over two studies in which the H5N1 avian influenza virus was modified to be transmissible between mammals. But scientists and authorities still need to address the lack of international oversight for studies in which pathogens are deliberately made more dangerous, ...

Immune retune: Recharging your body's natural defences

04/10/2012
"ACHOO!" A sniffling friend is sneezing just inches away. You would love to cover your face or run away, but in the interests of politeness all you can do is try not to inhale in their direction and hope your immune system is on the case. Some people seem to ...

Study Debunks Common Myth That Urine Is Sterile

04/10/2012
Researchers have determined that bacteria are present in the bladders of some healthy women, which discredits the common belief that normal urine is sterile. These findings were published in the April issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology by researchers at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (SSOM). "Doctors have ...

Engineered Gut Bacteria Reverse Type 1 Diabetes in Experimental Mice

04/10/2012
Scientists have managed to reverse type 1 diabetes (T1D) in experimental mice by giving the animals an oral course of harmless gut bacteria that had been engineered to secrete the whole proinsulin autoantigen (PINS) and the immunomodulatory human cytokine IL-10 (hIL10). An international team led by scientists at the KU ...

New Immune Defense Enzyme Discovered

04/09/2012
A previously unknown serine protease forms part of the antibacterial defence arsenal of neutrophil granulocytes. Neutrophil granulocytes comprise important defences for the immune system. When pathogenic bacteria penetrate the body, they are the first on the scene to mobilise other immune cells via signal molecules, thereby containing the risk. To this ...

“Snowing Microbes” On Saturn’s Moon?

04/08/2012
Enceladus, Saturn’s 318-mile-wide moon that’s become famous for its ice-spraying southern jets, is on astronomers’ short list of places in our own solar system where extraterrestrial life could be hiding — and NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is in just the right place to try and sniff it out. On March 27, Cassini ...

Study: Lax response spurred England's late, severe H1N1 spike

04/08/2012
Lapses in health measures during the second season that the 2009 H1N1 flu virus circulated in England probably contributed to a heavier disease burden—marked by more deaths and hospitalizations—than during the 2009-10 pandemic, researchers reported today. The authors said the pattern is worrying, especially because the health community and the public ...

'Universal' cancer vaccine developed

04/08/2012
The therapy, which targets a molecule found in 90 per cent of all cancers, could provide a universal injection that allows patients' immune systems to fight off common cancers including breast and prostate cancer. Preliminary results from early clinical trials have shown the vaccine can trigger an immune response in patients ...

Bacteria Could Be A Significant Cause Of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

04/08/2012
Streptococcus bacteria, which causes strep throat and scarlet fever in children, could be the cause of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a team of researchers have claimed. When the bacteria strikes, it invades the immune system causing it to turn antibodies into proteins that attack human tissue including the heart, joints and particularly ...

Easter Eggs, Baby Chicks…and Pathogens

04/08/2012
A North Carolina State University researcher says parents getting ready for Easter holiday activities should be careful that their children aren't putting themselves at risk for salmonella. Professor Ben Chapman says baby chicks and eggs can both carry the illness. This month, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said ...

A microbe fighter at 90

04/08/2012
Retired university professors typically rest on their laurels after many years of teaching and research and take it easy. Not so for Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine emeritus professor Nathan Citri. Two decades after his retirement, the veteran microbiology expert has developed a novel kit enabling speedy detection of multidrugand ...

Gut microbial 'enterotypes' become less clear-cut

04/07/2012
Each of us has trillions of bacteria in our guts. These communities vary greatly between individuals, but a paper published in Nature last year1 indicated that they fall into just three distinct types — enterotypes — defined by their bacterial composition (see ‘Gut study divides people into three types’). Each ...

Food borne bacteria sickens 8 in Illinois, 93 nationwide

04/07/2012
Food safety officials are investigating whether raw fish in sushi and other foods is responsible for a multi-state Salmonella outbreak that has sickened eight people in Illinois. So far, no deaths have been connected to the strain of the bacteria, which has sent 10 people to the hospital and sickened 93 ...

Single gene mutation can sweep through bacterial population, opening the door for the concept of 'species'

04/06/2012
Bacteria are the most populous organisms on the planet. They thrive in almost every known environment, adapting to different habitats by means of genetic variations that provide the capabilities essential for survival. These genetic innovations arise from what scientists believe is a random mutation and exchange of genes and other ...

Policy On High-Risk Biological Research Tightened

03/30/2012
The Obama administration has announced a new policy to handle the risks posed by legitimate biological research that could, in the wrong hands, threaten the public. The move comes in response to a huge debate over recent experiments on bird flu virus that got funding from the National Institutes of Health. ...

The Secret of Weight Loss May Be In 3,000-Year-Old Mummy Poop

03/30/2012
Scientists may have found one of the keys to weight loss hiding in the poop of 3,000-year-old mummies. The bacterial DNA found in their guts is very different from our modern intestinal flora. The reason: chlorinated water and antibiotics. That's the first hypothesis of Dr. Cecil Lewis. According to Lewis—who is leading ...

Expert Panel To Give Controversial Bird Flu Research A Second Look

03/30/2012
Two controversial studies on bird flu will once again be reviewed by an expert committee that advises the government on what to do with biological research that could pose potential dangers. The move is just the latest development in a fierce ongoing debate about genetically altered flu viruses created in laboratories ...

H1N1 Vaccine Tied to Spike in Narcolepsy

03/29/2012
Cases of childhood narcolepsy spiked in Finland in 2010, and researchers there are suggesting the adjuvanted vaccine against the H1N1 pandemic flu might have been a trigger. Two related studies, appearing online in PLoS ONE, found that the incidence of narcolepsy rose markedly in children and adolescents, while remaining unchanged in ...

'Bacterial shock' to recapture essential phosphate

03/27/2012
Bacteria could be exploited to recapture dwindling phosphate reserves from wastewater according to research presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Dublin this week. Phosphorus – in the form of phosphate - is essential for all living things as a component of DNA and RNA and its role ...

Bacteria-killer soon to be declared toxic

03/27/2012
The federal government is set to declare a bacteria killer found in many toothpastes, mouthwashes and anti-bacterial soaps as toxic to the environment, a move which could see the use of the chemical curtailed sharply. Health Canada has been probing the effects of triclosan on the body's endocrine sys-tem and whether ...

Sequencing our gut bacteria: the hype and hope of another big science project

03/26/2012
I regularly write about the microbiome – the trillions of bacteria that share our bodies with us, and the genes that they carry. At the recent International Human Microbiome Congress in Paris, I was immediately struck by two things. First, the field is clearly growing. It’s full of scientists who ...

Arcade Sim Glow Worm Challenges Players to Capture and Transport Bacteria

03/26/2012
AngryOrange Studios today is pleased to announce Glow Worm 1.0 for iOS, their new Sim/Arcade Game that challenges the player to capture and skillfully transport 10 or more bacteria scattered inside a living cell. “Glow Worm is an epic, wildly stylized, microscopic adventure,” stated Roman Turlej of AngryOrange Studios. “There are ...

Space Lab Contest Picks Experiments Featuring Spiders and Bacteria

03/26/2012
A zebra spider spins no webs, but instead catches its prey by leaping onto it. But in space, a zebra spider would zip off in a straight line instead of a trajectory curved by gravity, missing its target. Amr Mohamed, an 18-year-old student from Alexandria, Egypt, wondered if the spider could ...

The time is ripe for Salmonella

03/26/2012
The ripeness of fruit could determine how food-poisoning bacteria grow on them, according to scientists presenting their work at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Dublin this week. Their work could lead to new strategies to improve food safety, bringing many health and economic benefits. A wide range of ...

Whooping Cough Bacteria May Be Changing Their Ways In Australia

03/25/2012
Whooping cough has made a comeback lately, with big outbreaks in California and elsewhere. One factor is spotty vaccination. Now researchers in Australia think they've filled in another piece of the puzzle there. They say the vaccine is better at targeting some strains of the bacterium responsible for whooping cough, Bordetella pertussis, and ...

Washington Post Kids: Ever wondered if there’s good bacteria?

03/25/2012
As a pediatrician, I spend a lot of time looking for bacteria that might be making my patients sick. Some well-known illnesses that are caused by bacteria include strep throat, ear infections, Lyme disease and conjunctivitis (pinkeye). Bacteria are also responsible for acne, cavities and body odor. Bacteria can hurt you ...

Excess Hygiene May Weaken Developing Immune Systems

03/24/2012
New research suggests that childhood exposure to germs may help strengthen the immune system and protect children from developing allergies and asthma in later life. The latest research on mice supports the “hygiene hypothesis,” which states that the lack of early exposure to bacteria increases vulnerability to auto-immune diseases, and contends ...

FDA Told to Move on Antibiotic Use in Livestock

03/24/2012
A federal judge in New York City has ordered the FDA to start proceedings to revoke approvals for the use of antibiotics in livestock, a practice blamed for the spread of antibiotic-resistant "superbug" bacteria. In a case brought by five environmental and consumer advocacy groups, Judge Theodore Katz of the Southern ...

Firefly glow can detect bacteria in foods

03/22/2012
A chemical that causes the glow in fireflies can be used to detect bacterial contamination such as salmonella and E. coli in food, British scientists say. A test developed at Cardiff University can quickly and simply scan for the presence of bacteria, something that usually has to be done in a ...

Alligator cells may lead to human medicine

03/22/2012
Mark Merchant, biochemistry professor at McNeese State University, spoke with Leesville High School students Tuesday to discuss his ongoing research project investigating naturally occurring antibacterial peptides in alligators to uncover a new class of antibiotics. Merchant said he was first interested in this research when he noticed alligators who sustained serious ...

To beat superbug bacteria, look to frog skin

03/22/2012
In search of ways to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, scientists are looking to synthetic anti-microbial skin secretions from frogs. Two species, Australian Green-Eyed and Growling Grass frogs, were selected because peptides secreted from their skin form a defense to a broad spectrum of bacteria including Staphylococcus. Commonly known as superbugs, antibiotic-resistant bacteria ...

Bacteria Gene Leaps Across Species Barrier

03/22/2012
A bacterial gene has somehow lept across the species barrier and landed in the genetic makeup of an insect. While it's a mystery how the gene got there, it's been a big help to the insect. The insect, called the coffee berry borer, is the bane of coffee plantations worldwide. It ...

House Of Natural Fiber's Intelligent Bacteria At The New Museum

03/21/2012
As part of The Ungovernables' exhibition, The New Museum hosted The House of Natural Fiber (HONF), a new media art collective out of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Yogyakarta is the second largest city on Java, a densely-populated island that hosts an active volcano named Mt. Merapi which erupted in 2006, and again ...

Antibiotics Do No Good for Most Sinus Infections – New Guidelines

03/21/2012
Most sinus infections are caused by viruses rather than bacteria and shouldn’t be treated with antibiotics — a common practice that contributes to the development of drug-resistant “superbugs,” according to new guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America. The guidelines, which also include new recommendations for treating bacterial infections, ...

Silk Curtains Can Kill Anthrax, Bacteria

03/20/2012
Who doesn't like silk? It feels great in every temperature and is birthed from the bodies of amazing little worms. It can also kill bacteria like anthrax, according to a new study. Scientists at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory concluded that bleach-soaked silk can wipe out E. coli and anthrax ...

How Bacteria Resist a 'Trojan Horse' Antibiotic

03/20/2012
A new study describes how bacteria use a previously unknown means to defeat an antibiotic. The researchers found that the bacteria have modified a common "housekeeping" enzyme in a way that enables the enzyme to recognize and disarm the antibiotic. The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of ...

Gut Infections Are Growing More Lethal

03/20/2012
Gastrointestinal infections are killing more and more people in the United States and have become a particular threat to the elderly, according to new data released last week. Deaths from the infections more than doubled from 1999 to 2007, from 7,000 a year to more than 17,000 a year, the Centers ...

Neisseria gonorrhoeae

03/20/2012
This photomicrograph is showing Neisseria gonorrhoeae in a cervical smear using the Gram-stain technique. Thanks to the CDC's PHIL for the image.

The Microbial Academy of Sciences: What Bacteria Can Discover That We Can’t

03/19/2012
Other than basic stuff like the Earth rotating around the sun and E=MC2, how much do you know about the universe? Most people would say: not very much. But if you’re a theoretical physicist, you probably know quite a bit more--but still not that much; most of the mysteries of ...

Former Merck Unit Works on First Vaccine for Hepatitis C

03/19/2012
Okairos AG, a biotechnology business that Merck & Co. (MRK) sold to venture capital funds in 2007, is seeking to produce the first preventive vaccine for hepatitis C, challenging makers of treatments for the disease. Okairos has begun a mid-stage study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, of ...

Vaccine Debate Acknowledged, Explained at Global Conference

03/19/2012
In an impassioned talk about vaccines and public opinion during a major conference on disease prevention in Atlanta this week, science journalist Seth Mnookin offered a new perspective on why immunizations continue to be associated with autism, despite scientific evidence that roundly rejects such link. At the International Conference on Emerging ...

From dollar store to microbiology: Student gets his dream job

03/18/2012
A few months ago, Kevin Cox was working at a dollar store. Today he’s a laboratory assistant at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur, Mo. – the first big step of many toward a noble career. “I see myself working at the Centers for Disease Control and ...

C-section babies at higher risk of obesity

03/18/2012
Babies delivered by caesarean are at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese because they are not exposed to protective bacteria in the mother's vagina, international research has found. The research, conducted by the Finnish paediatrician Erika Isolauri and to be presented in Sydney tomorrow, shows that exposure to bacteria ...

H. Pylori Bacteria Linked to Blood Sugar Control in Adult Type II Diabetes

03/18/2012
A new study by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center reveals that the presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria is associated with elevated levels of glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), an important biomarker for blood glucose levels and diabetes. The association was even stronger in obese individuals with a higher Body ...

Australian frogs could stop superbugs

03/18/2012
Australian frogs could help scientists in the global fight against hospital superbugs. Certain species of Australian frogs secrete chemicals which are toxic to different bacteria, including the sometimes-fatal MRSA strain which is resistant to multiple types of antibiotics, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Saturday. Scientists in Sydney and Melbourne are researching the ...

Soft ray looks to save lives by developing rapid, low-cost system for detection of bacteria in blood platelets

03/17/2012
Paul E. Johnson envisions the day when most citizens can have their blood platelets checked quickly for bacteria at a low cost. And he has created the technology that he believes can make a difference in eventually saving lives. Johnson, a University of Wyoming professor of physics since 1981, is venturing ...

Nanopills release drugs directly from the inside of cells

03/17/2012
UAB researchers developed a new vehicle to release proteins with therapeutic effects. The vehicles are known as "bacteria inclusion bodies", stable insoluble nanoparticles which are found normally in recombinant bacteria. Even though these inclusion bodies traditionally have been an obstacle in the industrial production of soluble enzymes and biodrugs, they ...

Antibiotics linked to asthma in mouse study

03/17/2012
A new study conducted on mice suggests that antibiotics taken in childhood could play a part in the development and severity of allergic asthma. The study published Friday in the journal EMBO reports that antibiotics may damage bacteria that live in the gut, disturbing the bacterial community and possibly causing a ...

Bats, Booze, Bugs, Birds, Blood And Bushmeat (ICEID 4)

03/16/2012
Since I started electing to do blog coverage of scientific meetings, I’ve run into an unfortunate reality. On any meeting day, there are one or two presentations that either are strikingly newsworthy or fit into an ongoing topic that I’m already interested in, and that therefore I feel obliged to ...

Bacteria Can 'Breathe' Beneath Polar Glaciers

03/16/2012
The underside of a glacier doesn't sound like the coziest of dwellings, but at least two types of bacteria call it home, a new study finds. Chryseobacterium and Paenisporosarcina may be able to thrive at the base of glaciers in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, scientists determined through lab experiments ...

Social Media Helping to Counter Health Myths

03/16/2012
Researchers have recently used social media to track the spread of diseases such as influenza, and now they are attempting to use such technologies to tackle a different public health issue: the spread of misinformation. There is widespread acknowledgement that myths and bad information about public health won't be going away. ...

No sign of missed H5N1 cases in Bangladesh study

03/14/2012
No signs of H5N1 avian influenza infections were found in more than 400 Bangladeshis who were probably exposed to the virus while working on poultry farms and in markets, according to a study reported in preliminary form today. The findings were presented at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases (ICEID) ...

Acorns And Mice Driving Unusual Lyme Disease Risks

03/14/2012
The northeastern United States faces potentially “the worst year yet” for Lyme disease and other tickborne infections because of the periodic abundance of a little-noticed component of the disease’s complex ecology: acorns. Dr. Richard S. Ostfeld of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, explained during a presentation ...

Antibiotic Stewardship in the U.S. Woefully Weak, Experts At Global Conference Say

03/13/2012
A confluence of factors including an inflexible regulatory enviroment that disourages research and discovery, a paltry research pipeline for drugs for the most serious illnesses, and a tendency for physicians to unnecessarily prescribe antibiotics for routine aches and pains is largely responsible for the rise of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans, ...

Staph In Pigs And Pig Farmers: The Latest Reports (ICEID 1)

03/13/2012
I’m spending the first part of this week at the International Conference for Emerging Infectious Diseases , a biennial scary-disease nerdgasm that is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Society for Microbiology and other worthy organizations, and in this iteration has drawn about 1,600 participants ...

Need to Fight TB with Multiple Weapons

03/13/2012
Two large studies in Africa illustrate the difficulty of getting a handle on the continent's raging tuberculosis (TB) epidemic, researchers said here. One study, which looked at a household-based campaign against TB and HIV, found that it prevented TB incidence and transmission, while apparently increasing HIV testing, reported Peter Godfrey-Faussett, MD, ...

Smartphones more accurate, faster, cheaper for disease surveillance

03/13/2012
Smartphones are showing promise in disease surveillance in the developing world. The Kenya Ministry of Health, along with researchers in Kenya for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that smartphone use was cheaper than traditional paper survey methods to gather disease information, after the initial set–up cost. Survey ...

How World's Smallest DNA Virus Evolved in Rare Parakeets

03/12/2012
A University of Kent-led team of scientists has gained new insight into a rare virus that is threatening to wipe out the Mauritius parakeet -- one of the world's most endangered species of parrot. The Mauritius parakeet was saved from the brink of extinction 30 years ago, thanks to the work ...

Epidemic bacteria can damage mucins to enter and infect a body part

03/12/2012
Scientists from the Schepens Eye Research Institute, a subsidiary of Mass. Eye and Ear and affiliate of Harvard Medical School, have found for the first time that a bacterial pathogen can literally mow down protective molecules, known as mucins, on mucus membranes to enter and infect a part of the ...

Deadly cocktails for killing bacteria

03/12/2012
As a general rule in life there is always a bigger fish – for every predator there is a bigger one lurking that is ready to eat it. However it is also worth remembering that there is usually always a smaller fish as well; for every small irritating parasite there ...

Fat-eating bacteria put in Hull sewers to remove blockages

03/11/2012
Yorkshire Water said it was targeting seven locations across the city where there were build-ups of fat deposits. The firm is deploying organically grown bacillus bacteria, which is commonly found in the human gut, to eat the fat, oils and grease. The blockages are caused by waste cooking oils from homes being ...

Beat Spring Allergies with Bacteria

03/11/2012
It may sound odd that bacteria can actually reduce allergy symptoms. But, certain bacteria can reduce inflammation in the body, improve nutrient absorption, and reduce nasal and sinus symptoms linked to allergies. Of course, not just any bacteria will do. Research by scientists at the Osaka University School of Medicine ...

Group urges speedier approvals for badly needed antibiotics

03/11/2012
Infectious-disease doctors have proposed a speedier, easier approval process for drug companies developing antibiotics against untreatable illnesses. The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) made the proposal today at a hearing of a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce. The hearing focused on reauthorization of ...

Drug Combo Cuts Malaria Risk in HIV Patients

03/09/2012
Treatment with lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) reduced the risk that HIV-infected children would become co-infected with malaria, researchers said here. Compared with treatment based on non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), therapy with the protease inhibitor-based combination resulted in a 41% decrease in the incidence of malaria, said Jane Achan, MD, lecturer in pediatrics ...

CDC says C. difficile infections at “historic high”

03/08/2012
It’s become a sad fact that many people being treated in health-care facilities end up catching a bad -- and potentially deadly -- bug in the very place where they’re supposed to get better. A report on the increased incidence of clostridium difficile infections in hospitals and other health-care settings issued ...

Do Bacteria Have Built-In Cell Death Mechanisms?

03/07/2012
Cell death, also known as apoptosis, is a significant part of normal animal development. However, the question arises whether bacteria, similar to higher organisms, have a built-in mechanism that determines when the cells die. Researchers at the Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel have for the ...

The microbiologist: Tweaking genes to help corals survive climate change

03/05/2012
Kim Ritchie fell into coral research as an undergraduate, got a Ph.D. in genetics and was doing post-doctoral research in Panama when she lost her funding. With the ideal training for biotech, however, she slipped right into a startup. But when the company went bankrupt, she jumped back into research. ...

Hypervirulent Bacteria Strain May Be Next Superbug, Scientists Say

03/04/2012
UB researchers are studying a hypervirulent strain of a common bacterium with the potential to become a superbug that is difficult, if not impossible, to treat. Most antibiotic-resistant bacteria do not infect healthy people. The strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae that UB researchers are investigating could prove an exception. ”In the last 10 ...

Bacteria may lead to HIV vaccine

03/04/2012
Rhizobium radiobacter. Ever heard of it? It's a bug that causes crown gall disease in plants. So what does that have to do with vaccines against HIV? Canadian researchers have found sugars on the surface of the bacterium that are remarkably similar to those on the surface of the virus, ...

Your Appendix Could Save Your Life

03/04/2012
You may have heard that the appendix is a relic of our past, like the hind leg bones of a whale. Bill Parker, a professor of surgery at the Duke University School of Medicine, heard that, too; he just disagrees. Parker thinks the appendix serves as a “nature reserve” for ...

New Infant Formula Ingredients Boost Babies' Immunity by Feeding Their Gut Bacteria

03/03/2012
Adding prebiotic ingredients to infant formula helps colonize the newborn's gut with a stable population of beneficial bacteria, and probiotics enhance immunity in formula-fed infants, two University of Illinois studies report. "The beneficial bacteria that live in a baby's intestine are all-important to an infant's health, growth, and ability to fight ...

New Antibiotics? Solving Mystery of How Sulfa Drugs Kill Bacteria Yields 21st Century Drug Development Target

03/03/2012
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have discovered a key enzyme structure in bacteria, a finding that lays the foundation for a new generation of antibiotics that are safer and less prone to drug resistance. More than 70 years after the first sulfa drugs helped to revolutionize medical care and ...

Bacteria Aids Ants, Could Improve Biofuel Production

03/03/2012
Leafcutter ants, the tiny red dots known for carrying green leaves as they march through tropical forests, are also talented farmers that cultivate gardens of fungi and bacteria. Ants eat fungi from the so-called fungal gardens, but the bacteria's role has been unclear until now. New research shows the bacteria help ...

Dangers of Man-Made Bird Flu Are Exaggerated, Its Creators Say

03/02/2012
Researchers who created a so-called superstrain of H5N1 bird flu say the virus may not be as lethal or as virulent as has been widely suggested. This week, at a meeting of experts attending the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) in Washington, D.C., Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Center who ...

Expert Panel To Give Controversial Bird Flu Research A Second Look

03/01/2012
Two controversial studies on bird flu will once again be reviewed by an expert committee that advises the government on what to do with biological research that could pose potential dangers. The move is just the latest development in a fierce ongoing debate about genetically altered flu viruses created in laboratories ...

How Cells Make the Most of Limited Resources

02/29/2012
The bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae, which causes atypical pneumonia, is helping scientists uncover how cells make the most of limited resources. By measuring all the proteins this bacterium produces, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany, and collaborators, have found that the secret is fine-tuning. Like a mechanic ...

Yes, Antibiotics Used on Livestock Do Breed Drug-Resistant Bacteria That Infect Humans

02/29/2012
The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has got many experts predicting a future in which currently tractable diseases, like tuberculosis, became untreatable again. The popularity of modern antibiotics, ironically, is what is leading to their downfall: antibiotics in consumer products, like soaps, as well as the excessive use of antibiotics by ...

How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy

02/26/2012
NO ONE WOULD accuse Jaroslav Flegr of being a conformist. A self-described “sloppy dresser,” the 63-year-old Czech scientist has the contemplative air of someone habitually lost in thought, and his still-youthful, square-jawed face is framed by frizzy red hair that encircles his head like a ring of fire. Certainly Flegr’s thinking ...

Should Doctors Fire Their Anti-Vaccine Patients?

02/26/2012
The anti-vaccination movement continues to grow, despite the retraction and thorough discrediting of the 1998 scientific study that spurred much of its growth. The stubborn persistence of anti-vaxxers shows how difficult it is to dispel misinformation once that information is out there, even after dozens of new studies and ...

Flesh Eating Bacteria Makes Super Molecular Glue

02/26/2012
The same bacteria that eats flesh can make a super glue used to bind molecules. Dr. Mark Howarth, with his graduate student Bijan Zakeri in Oxford University's department of biochemistry, developed an adhesive that sticks molecules together, nearly inseparably. They used the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, infamous for eating flesh when there is ...

Bacteria-Killing Viruses Wield an Iron Spike

02/25/2012
Forget needles in haystacks. Try finding the tip of a needle in a virus. Scientists have long known that a group of viruses called bacteriophages have a knack for infiltrating bacteria and that some begin their attack with a protein spike. But the tip of this spike is so small ...

Bacterial cheaters do not prosper

02/25/2012
Cheaters never prosper - at least not in the lab. A new finding contradicts the notion that cooperative organisms are vulnerable to freeloaders. Some bacteria send out signals that help a lab culture as a whole adapt to its environment, so other bugs ought to be able to benefit without wasting ...

Flu Activity on Rise but Still Low

02/25/2012
It has been a mild flu season so far, but influenza activity has gradually started to increase in recent weeks, the CDC is reporting. The influenza season is usually regarded as having started when 10% of respiratory samples taken in cases of influenza-like illness test positive for the virus, the agency ...

Mouth bacteria could kill, say scientists

02/24/2012
A type of bacteria found in the mouth has the potential to cause serious illness - even death - if it enters the bloodstream through bleeding gums or mouth ulcers. The Daily Mail reports that scientists have recently identified the bacteria, called Streptococcus tigurinus, and are now trying to establish ...

Space bacteria found in British river could be new power source for the world

02/22/2012
Bacteria usually found orbiting high above the Earth have been found in a British river - and could be a new power source for the world. The mysterious organisms, found in the the mouth of the River Wear, in Sunderland, can generate electricity using a special battery called a microbial fuel ...

How Using Antibiotics In Animal Feed Creates Superbugs

02/21/2012
Researchers have nailed down something scientists, government officials and agribusiness proponents have argued about for years – whether antibiotics in livestock feed give rise to antibiotic-resistant germs that can threaten humans. A study in the journal mBio, published by the American Society for Microbiology, shows how an antibiotic-susceptible Staph germ passed ...

First test-tube hamburger ready this fall: researchers

02/20/2012
The world's first "test-tube" meat, a hamburger made from a cow's stem cells, will be produced this fall, Dutch scientist Mark Post told a major science conference on Sunday. Post's aim is to invent an efficient way to produce skeletal muscle tissue in a laboratory that exactly mimics meat, and eventually ...

Old antibiotic could be a new weapon to fight tuberculosis

02/20/2012
TB kills almost 2 million people a year worldwide, and is increasingly becoming resistant to the antibiotics used to treat it, but there are few new drugs in the pipeline. Doxycycline was introduced in 1967 and is used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections, but until now has ...

Toxic Turnaround With Manganese

02/20/2012
Shiga toxin is a protein produced by certain strains of Shigella and E. coli bacteria. Infections by bacterial strains that carry Shiga toxin can lead to dangerous complications, including severe bloody diarrhea, kidney failure, and even death. New research suggests that manganese, a metal and an essential nutrient, may prevent ...

Rainforest Plant Combats Multidrug-Resistant Bacterial Strains

02/20/2012
Aggressive infections in hospitals are an increasing health problem worldwide. Now, a young Danish scientist has found a natural substance in a Chilean rainforest plant that effectively supports the effect of traditional treatment with antibiotics. Jes Gitz Holler, from the University of Copenhagen, discovered in a research project a compound ...

Scientists Map the World's Microbes

02/20/2012
Microbiologists are starting to make sense of tens of thousands of samples they've collected from around the world, undoubtedly containing legions upon legions of different kinds of microorganisms. How many kinds? That's just the point: Nobody knows. The microbial world is "Earth's dark matter," says Janet Jansson, a senior staff scientist ...

Hospitals 'need friendly bacteria'

02/20/2012
Lessons learned from Florence Nightingale could prevent the spread of harmful bugs by allowing "friendly" bacteria into hospitals, an expert has claimed. Sterile conditions in wards and operating theatres may be doing more harm than good by wiping out organisms that keep dangerous microbes at bay, Dr Jack Gilbert believes. Florence ...

Bacteria disarmer activates fiber formation in Parkinson’s protein

02/19/2012
The same substance that hampers the infection capability of bacteria can hasten the fiber formation of the protein that is involved in the development of Parkinson’s disease. The study shows how important basic research is to our understanding of possible side effects from drug candidates interacting with various target proteins. The study ...

Increased bacterial loads in potable water may have significant health effects on indigenous people

02/19/2012
Increased bacterial loads in potable water could have significant health effects on indigenous people from the Arctic to Uganda, says Vanier scholar Indigenous people around the world are among the most vulnerable to climate change and are increasingly susceptible to the pathogen loads found in potable water after heavy rainfall or ...

Nasty 'Superbug' Emerging? Strikes Otherwise Healthy, Young Patients

02/19/2012
University at Buffalo researchers are expressing concern about a new, under-recognized, much more potent variant of a common bacterium that has surfaced in the U.S. "Historically, in Western countries, classical strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae have caused infections mostly in sick, hospitalized patients whose host defense systems are compromised," says Thomas Russo, ...

Compound Reinvigorates Classic Antibiotics In Fight Against New Superbacteria

02/19/2012
A new drug compound can recharge a class of antibiotics used to fight superbug bacteria, improving the antibiotics’ effectiveness 16-fold. It’s another volley on the part of humans in the ongoing battle between new drugs and bacterial resistance. This new compound doesn’t fight the bacteria itself — it just makes the ...

Extreme biofuels and those heat-seeking X Bugs

02/19/2012
As President’s Day weekend approaches and people flee from the north towards sunnier climates, biofuels researchers are exploring the potential of heat-loving bacteria and fungi found in and around volcano country. It’s two days before February’s long weekend here in the US, and already the airport at the Digest’s home in ...

In the mouth, smoking zaps healthy bacteria, welcomes pathogens

02/19/2012
Despite the daily disturbance of brushing and flossing, the mouth of a healthy person contains a stable ecosystem of healthy bacteria. New research shows that the mouth of a smoker is a much more chaotic, diverse ecosystem—and is much more susceptible to invasion by harmful bacteria. As a group, smokers suffer ...

Glasgow biofuels scientist unfurls ‘electric leaf’

02/18/2012
Scottish scientists have found a more efficient way to make biofuels, using electricity rather than sunlight. Their “electric leaf” is based on photosynthetic bacteria whose biochemistry has been changed through radical genetic engineering to make a liquid hydrocarbon very similar to petrol. The energy input will be electricity generated from renewable ...

New, under-recognized, much more potent variant of common bacterium

02/18/2012
University at Buffalo researchers are expressing concern about a new, under-recognized, much more potent variant of a common bacterium that has surfaced in the U.S. "Historically, in Western countries, classical strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae have caused infections mostly in sick, hospitalized patients whose host defense systems are compromised," says Thomas Russo, ...

A parasitic wasp is no match for a drunken fruit fly

02/16/2012
Fruit flies can apparently out-drink Frank the Tank and not get sick from alcohol poisoning. Now researchers have found this fraternity-party ability may save flies from a gory death. The results showed that drunk fruit-fly larvae turned the tables by killing wasp parasites in their bloodstream, essentially causing the parasite's organs ...

Treatment for TB can be Guided by Patients’ Genetics

02/15/2012
A gene that influences the inflammatory response to infection may also predict the effectiveness of drug treatment for a deadly form of tuberculosis. An international collaboration between researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle, Duke University, Harvard University, the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Vietnam and Kings College London ...

Decision time for researchers of deadly bird

02/14/2012
When 22 bird flu experts meet at the World Health Organization this week, they will be tasked with deciding just how far scientists should go in creating lethal mutant viruses in the name of research. The hurriedly assembled meeting is designed to try to settle an unprecedented row over a call ...

Musings on size: do bacteria want to be bigger?

02/13/2012
We all know that eukaryotes are bigger than prokaryotes. On average. Mostly. Of course our pathetic attempts at generalisation are too often devastated in a counterattack by nature’s awesomest power: variation. There’s variation within species, making it a necessity to ultimately tie biology back to populations from time to time ...

Stanford develops new tool for teaching doctors to treat sepsis

02/13/2012
Jack was sinking fast, his vital signs registering alarming numbers. With every passing second, his doctor, Charles Prober, could see his patient being overwhelmed by sepsis, a deadly complication of infection that plagues hospitals worldwide. “Jack is the hardest patient,” counseled Prober’s colleague, Lisa Shieh, MD, PhD, the medical director of ...

Mummified seals shed light on microbe communities

02/13/2012
Biologists working in Antarctica's dry valleys have been moving mummified seal corpses around, in an effort to try and better our understanding of the microbes that live there. The extreme aridity of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, where katabatic winds mean that almost all moisture evaporates immediately, allows for the natural mummification ...

Acid-blocking drugs linked to C. diff infection

02/12/2012
A class of antacids known as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may increase the risk of severe diarrhea caused by Clostridium difficile bacteria, the FDA has announced. The advisory comes after the agency’s review of 28 observational studies, which found that the rate of C. difficile infection was from 1.4 to ...

How the TB bacteria bursts your cells

02/12/2012
The bacteria that causes Tuberculosis is a nasty little beast. The white blood cells that clear infection in your body work by ingesting bacteria and then breaking them up, and the TB escapes this by letting itself get ingested and then sitting inside your white blood cells. They don’t sit ...

Researchers Examine Consequences of Non-Intervention for Infectious Disease in African Great Apes

02/12/2012
Infectious disease has joined poaching and habitat loss as a major threat to the survival of African great apes as they have become restricted to ever-smaller populations. Despite the work of dedicated conservationists, efforts to save our closest living relatives from ecological extinction are largely failing, and new scientific approaches ...

Superbug: British researchers challenge India's stand

02/11/2012
A new online study on the emergence of the superbug, which British researchers had traced to India in 2010, has said the antibiotic resistant gene was constructed very recently, challenging Indian health authorities' contention that it has existed in the environment forever. Authored by four British researchers including Timothy Walsh of ...

Decoding E. Coli and Cholera

02/11/2012
Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London have discovered the workings behind some of the bacteria that kill hundreds of thousands every year, possibly paving the way for new antibiotics that could treat infections more effectively. With antibiotic resistance on the rise in strains of pathogenic bacteria, innovative strategies are needed ...

At Microsoft's Garage science fair: Simulated bacteria and a mood ring for your mobile

02/11/2012
At Microsoft, even the security team gets in on the science fair. Today, Microsoft held one of its periodic The Garage science fairs and we got to attend. The Garage is Microsoft's program where employees work together on side projects during off hours. The results of those collaborations sometimes make it ...

Micrococcus lutea

02/10/2012
Circular, entire, smooth, yellow colonies of Micrococcus lutea. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Video Microscopy Unveils the Tricks of Nature's Toughest Glue, Oozed By a Bacterium

02/10/2012
A soybean-shaped bacterium called Caulobacter crescentus, found in freshwater and seawater, makes one of the strongest adhesives in the world. Now high-resolution video microscopy is shedding light on how it can carefully use this adhesive, like a super-precise application of superglue, to stick on surfaces in wet environments. C. crescentus is ...

Growing up on a farm directly affects regulation of the immune system

02/08/2012
Immunological diseases, such as eczema and asthma, are on the increase in westernised society and represent a major challenge for 21st century medicine. A new study has shown, for the first time, that growing up on a farm directly affects the regulation of the immune system and causes a reduction ...

Bacillus subtilis colonies

02/07/2012
Irregular, umbonate, opaque Bacillus subtilis colonies on the surface of a nutrient agar plate. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Salmonella cases linked to watermelon

02/06/2012
Watermelons could be the cause of five Scottish cases of salmonella which have been linked to a UK-wide outbreak, health officials have said. Since the beginning of December, there have been 30 cases of the Salmonella Newport infection across the UK. Four of the five infections in Scotland were in children under ...

Vaccine Myths - Doctors Try To Dispel Them

02/05/2012
A Missouri State Medical Association, led by two Saint Louis University pediatricians, aims to raise awareness about the importance of getting children vaccinated and change the way in which doctors respond to parents' fears of vaccines. The campaign is the focus point of Ken Haller, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, ...

Flesh-Eating Strain Of MRSA Reaches UK

02/05/2012
Potentially deadly strains of MRSA that are easily passed between people outside of hospitals are increasing in the UK, experts said today. Extra vigilance was required around MRSA strains, including USA300, which has spread across the US and is now seen in the UK, says Dr Ruth Massey of the Department ...

Bacterial plasmids -- the freeloading and the heavy-lifters -- balance the high price of disease

02/04/2012
Studying self-replicating genetic units, called plasmids, found in one of the world's widest-ranging pathogenic soil bacteria -- the crown-gall-disease-causing microorganism Agrobacterium tumefaciens -- Indiana University biologists are showing how freeloading, mutant derivatives of these plasmids benefit while the virulent, disease-causing plasmids do the heavy-lifting of initiating infection in plant hosts. ...

Corning reveals ultra-thin, flexible, bacteria-killing glass

02/04/2012
It was only last week that we spoke to industrial giant Corning about their reinforced Gorilla Glass 2 for smartphone displays. Now, the company says it’s working on ultra-slim, flexible and bacteria-killing versions of the material, too. The New York-based company announced this morning during its annual investors day that it ...

Live debate airs major divisions in H5N1 research battle

02/04/2012
The controversy over research about potentially dangerous H5N1 viruses heated up last night in a New York City debate that featured some of the leading voices exchanging blunt comments on the alleged risks and benefits of publishing or withholding the full details of the studies. The debate, sponsored by the New ...

Norovirus is the leading cause of infection outbreaks in US hospitals

02/04/2012
Norovirus, a pathogen that often causes food poisoning and gastroenteritis, was responsible for 18.2 percent of all infection outbreaks and 65 percent of ward closures in U.S. hospitals during a two-year period, according to a new study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), ...

Zombie Bacteria - Lag Phase In Salmonella

02/04/2012
Bacteria can multiply rapidly, potentially doubling every 20 minutes in ideal conditions but this exponential growth phase is preceded by a period known as lag phase, where no increase in cell number is seen. Lag phase was first described in the 19th Century, and was assumed to be needed by ...

Cool Plasma Torch Kills Germs on Raw Chicken

02/04/2012
We've seen the plasma beam toothbrush, where a blast of room-temperature plasma destroys plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Now researchers at Drexel University have applied the technology to raw chicken and found that the gentle blue blast of ionized matter effectively removes pathogens on the poultry's surface. When raw chicken ...

The Super-Resistant Bacteria That Has India 'Hell Scared'

02/04/2012
Over 50 percent of bacterial infections in Indian hospitals are resistant to commonly used antibiotics, and surveys show that many widespread bacterial pathogens in India are also resistant to powerful, broad-spectrum antibiotics. In 2010, a team of South Asian and British scientists analyzed bacterial infections in a hospital around New Delhi, ...

Proteus vulgaris

02/01/2012
Circular, smooth, entire, opaque colonies of Proteus vulgaris on a nutrient agar plate. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

NDM-1: The Bacterial Gene That’s Resistant to 15 Different Antibiotics

01/30/2012
Standing as the most densely populated city in the world, New Delhi has plenty of public health issues to deal with on a constant basis. But now health officials have some very urgent matters to deal with: new strains of super-bacteria, the most destructive of which contain the gene dubbed ...

Bacterial disguise evades vaccine

01/30/2012
Some bacteria can evade efforts to vaccinate against them by wearing a new disguise, researchers say. A study, published in Nature Genetics, tracked how pneumococcus bacteria responded to the introduction of a vaccine in the US in 2000. Doctors said the evasion would make some vaccines less successful in the long term. An ...

Sunday Dialogue: Bird Flu Experiments

01/29/2012
Research into the bird flu virus has set off an impassioned scientific debate over its risks and benefits in the New York Times' commentariat. Here is a sampling. To the Editor: Re “Bird Flu Scientists Agree to Delay Virus Research” (news article, Jan. 21): There is great debate in the scientific and public ...

Bacteria colors your poop to diagnose what ails you

01/29/2012
What if diagnosing salmonella or colorectal cancer was as easy as looking in the toilet? Scientists and designers are collaborating to create a new type of bacteria that beautifies your fecal matter while diagnosing your illness. We mentioned E. chromi, the color-coded designer bacteria made from E. coli, back in June. ...

Bacteria Ponder the Heavens

01/28/2012
San Francisco based artist and writer Jonathon Keats is serious about making culture available to all–including insects, plants, and now, bacteria. Mr. Keats has choreographed ballet for honeybees at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts by selectively planting flowers around San Francisco hives. He also created pornography for house plants ...

Bacteria Transplant Effective At Treating Bowel Infection

01/28/2012
Persistent bacterial infections can make a mess of our bowels and the usual treatment method of adding antibiotics usually causes even more disruptions. Researchers, however, are fine tuning a treatment that involves adding a sample of the stool of another which jump-starts the infected patients immune system, reports Kerry Grens ...

Viral attacks on bacteria reveal a secret to evolution

01/28/2012
The arms race between a virus and the bacteria it attacks has helped scientists better understand one of the mysteries of evolution: How new traits evolve. In a series of experiments, the bacteria-infecting viruses repeatedly acquired the ability to attack their host bacteria through a different "doorway," or receptor on the ...

Colonies of Alcaligenes

01/23/2012
Circular, smooth, entire, opaque colonies of Alcaligenes on a nutrient agar plate. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

The Rise of Antibiotic Resistance: Consequences of FDA's Inaction

01/23/2012
Two weeks ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would ban certain off-label uses of cephalosporin antibiotics in animal agriculture, asserting that these uses posed an undue risk of selecting for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Many of us who follow this issue closely recognized FDA's move for what it ...

WHO to lead talks on controversial H5N1 studies

01/23/2012
A World Health Organization (WHO) official said the agency will play a role in leading discussions on issues related to controversial H5N1 avian influenza transmission studies, as more experts called for a further global discussion of the issues. Dr Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general of health security and environment at the WHO, ...

H5N1 Virus Targets Pulmonary Endothelial Cells

01/23/2012
The H5N1 virus has killed roughly 60 percent of humans infected, a mortality rate which is orders of magnitude higher than that of seasonal influenza virus. Many victims of the former fall heir to acute respiratory distress syndrome—the inability to breathe. Now researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and ...

Ulcer-causing bacteria baffled by mucus: Viscoelasticity impact on collective behavior of swimming microorganisms

01/22/2012
Even the tiniest microscopic organisms make waves when they swim. In fact, dealing with these waves is a fact of life for the ulcer-causing bacteria H. pylori. The bacteria are known to change their behavior in order to compensate for the waves created by other bacteria swimming around in the ...

Computer simulation of tuberculosis bacteria could lead to discovery of new ways to fight disease

01/22/2012
A Rutgers–Camden professor is using his expertise in computer science to aid in the development of new methods to fight tuberculosis. Desmond Lun, an associate professor of computer science, has received $36,589 from a Lockheed Martin contract administered by the National Institutes of Health for his work with GRANITE (Genetic Regulatory ...

UNLV scientists isolate rare Death Valley magnetic bacteria

01/22/2012
A University of Nevada, Las Vegas microbiologist says he and his team members have identified and cultivated a type of magnetic bacteria in Death Valley that could one day contribute to the biotech industry. Researcher Dennis Bazylinski says that the bacteria navigate along magnetic field lines because of the mineral produced ...

Nanoparticles for a new vaccine against shigellosis

01/22/2012
A team of researchers from the departments of Microbiology and Pharmaceutical Technology of the Universidad of Navarra worked on the development of a new oral vaccine in order to treat bacterial dysentery, or shigellosis. This pathology causes 1.1 million deaths per year around the world; 61% of deaths occur ...

Salmonella Linked to Labs Infected 109

01/22/2012
Between August 2010 and June 2011, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) counted 109 people in 38 states infected with a commercial strain of Salmonella Typhimurium most commonly found in microbiology laboratories. On Tuesday, the CDC released its final report on the outbreak, which Food Safety News ...

Custom-mutated bacteria converts seaweed to fuel

01/21/2012
A promising new system can convert brown seaweed into biofuel, opening up a new possible source of energy that could help replace fossil fuels, like gasoline, scientists reported today (Jan. 19). The secret: bacteria genetically engineered to break down a previously inaccessible sugar in seaweed, called alginate. The researchers ...

Mineral quashes deadly bacterial poisons

01/21/2012
A simple mineral supplement — manganese — holds promise as the first successful treatment for hemorrhage-inducing infections caused by some food- and waterborne germs. The mineral helps detoxify Shiga toxin, which is produced by a host of bacteria, including the type of E. coli that killed scores and sickened more ...

'Totally' Resistant TB Surfaces in India

01/20/2012
Drug resistance in tuberculosis appears to have reached a peak in several patients in India, who are virtually untreatable with available medications. In a letter to Clinical Infectious Diseases, published online, Mumbai physicians described four patients whose TB was resistant to five front-line drugs and seven second-line medications. They are "totally drug-resistant," ...

Serratia marcescens colonies

01/18/2012
Pigmented and non-pigmented parts of Serratia marcescens colonies. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy

01/18/2012
A new review of the influenza drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) has raised questions about both the efficacy of the medication and the commitment of its maker to supply enough data for claims about the drug to be evaluated by independent experts. It also raises questions about the entire process of systematic review. Researchers ...

Anrtibiotics Breed Drug-Resistant Bacteria In Pigs

01/17/2012
After giving pigs a low-dose of antibiotics for just two weeks, researchers detected a drastic rise in the number of E. coli bacteria in the guts of the animals. And those bacteria showed a large jump in resistance to antibiotics. The particular strain of E. coli detected in the study was ...

Bacteria's Move from Sea to Land May Have Occurred Much Later Than Thought

01/16/2012
Research by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, faculty has discovered that bacteria's move from sea to land may have occurred much later than thought. It also has revealed that the bacteria may be especially useful in bioenergy research. Igor Jouline, UT-Oak Ridge National Laboratory joint faculty professor of microbiology and researcher at ...

Gut bacteria ‘biome’ differs in obese people

01/16/2012
For the first time, the vast array of bacteria in the human gut has been studied as a complex, integrated biological system, rather than a set of separate species. The new approach, which reveals patterns that correspond with body weight, treats the human microbiome as a cohesive “supra-organism,” in which genes ...

Biosecurity Can Help Prevent Spread of EHV-1 Infections

01/16/2012
The neurologic form of the equine herpesevirus-1 (EHV) called equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy (EHM), a potentially fatal disease of horses, can largely be avoided by instituting and maintaining standard biosecurity measures, which are readily available from the American Association of Equine Practitioners. A real-life example is a 6-year-old North Carolina mare that ...

Quantitative imaging application to gut and ear cells

01/16/2012
From tracking activities within bacteria to creating images of molecules that make up human hair, several experiments have already demonstrated the unique abilities of the revolutionary imaging technique called multi-isotope imaging mass spectometry, or MIMS, developed by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH). MIMS can produce high-resolution, quantitative three-dimensional ...

Sick People Smell Bad: Why dogs sniff dogs, humans sniff humans, and dogs sometimes sniff humans

01/15/2012
A man can live many lives. Paul Ehrlich has. Once, he was a butterfly biologist. Another time, he wrote the book called The Population Bomb, a book that triggered global conversations about the fate of humanity. Still another, he described the relationship between plants and the animals that eat them. ...

A Tale of Two Viruses: Why AIDS Was Pinned to HIV, but Chronic Fatigue Remains a Mystery

01/15/2012
The detection of a new virus called XMRV in the blood of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in 2009 raised hope that a long-sought cause of the disease, whose central characteristic is extreme tiredness that lasts for at least six months, had been finally found. But that hypothesis has ...

Life's Most Amazing Invisible Secrets

01/15/2012
One of my heroes, evolutionary microbiologist Lynn Margulis, died this past Thanksgiving. She was an amazing lady who was married to Carl Sagan for many years, and partnered with James Lovelock in discovering that the earth is an interconnected living global ecosystem run largely by microbes. She pioneered the theory ...

Gut bacteria influence the severity of heart attacks in rats

01/14/2012
New research published online in the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) suggests that the types and levels of bacteria in the intestines may be used to predict a person’s likelihood of having a heart attack, and that manipulating these organisms may help reduce heart attack risk. This discovery may lead to new ...

Doctors over-treat urine bacteria: study

01/14/2012
In a new study of patients with bacteria in their urine, doctors prescribed antibiotics to one in three who had no symptoms and no evidence of a urinary tract infection. In those cases, the bacteria probably would have disappeared on their own without causing any problems, researchers said, and treating those ...

India marks a year without recorded cases of polio

01/13/2012
India has gone a full year without recording a new case of polio, a significant benchmark for the South Asian nation and an encouraging development for health professionals fighting to eradicate the stubborn disease worldwide. But experts warned that premature declarations of victory could lead to complacency among Indian parents, who ...

Scientists: UN Soldiers Brought Deadly Superbug to Americas

01/12/2012
Compelling new scientific evidence suggests United Nations peacekeepers have carried a virulent strain of cholera -- a super bug -- into the Western Hemisphere for the first time. The vicious form of cholera has already killed 7,000 people in Haiti, where it surfaced in a remote village in October 2010. Leading ...

Circular, opaque colonies

01/11/2012
Circular, opaque colonies on the surface of a nutrient agar plate. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Animation of Antimicrobial Resistance

01/10/2012
This is a brief scientific simulation displaying our current understanding of how bacteria acquire resistance. It's from the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine website. Thanks to Youtube user DrKPW for posting this!

Irregular, concentric, undulate, opaque colonies

01/10/2012
Irregular, concentric, undulate, opaque colonies on the surface of a nutrient agar plate. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Radio Mycelium Tutorial (fungal hacking workshop in Brussles)

01/09/2012
Radio Mycelium proposes the construction of a series of experimental situations examining a new networked imaginary, the single organism of the fungal mycelium, in relation to pathogenic, electromagnetic communications. Participants will learn how to construct simple measurement devices, and culture shiitake, blue oyster and Enokitake mushrooms, amongst other simple moulds. “A ...

A Public Policy Expert Looks at the Bird Flu Threat

01/09/2012
Responding to experiments in the Netherlands and the United States in which scientists created a highly transmissible form of the potentially deadly H5N1 bird flu virus, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity urged scientific journals not to publish details of the work out of fear that the information could ...

Evolutionary Lessons From Superbugs

01/09/2012
Virulent drug-resistant "superbugs" are back in the news. We have a lot to learn from these small but smart creatures. To the dismay of many in the pubic health field, the FDA just dropped plans to enforce a 1977(!) decision to limit the use of antibiotics in animal feed, which ...

Bacterial avengers

01/09/2012
Columbus taxpayers will spend billions of dollars to stop millions of gallons of sewage from spilling into the Scioto River and other waterways during heavy rains. As the city builds new treatment tanks and interceptor pipes, it could save a lot of money by investing in sand, according to an Ohio ...

Are Vacuum Cleaners Bad for Your Health?

01/07/2012
You vacuum your house religiously to get rid of all the dust, dirt, and bacteria and make sure your indoor air is up to snuff. But new research suggests that some vacuum cleaners may actually be making things worse, not better. Certain vacuum cleaners spit fine dust and bacteria back into the ...

Bacteria on Skin Affects Attractiveness to Mosquitoes

01/07/2012
Having more types of bacteria on your skin might not sound very desirable, but it could save you from a mosquito bite, according to a study published in PLoS ONE on Dec. 28. Human skin is host to a wide range of microorganisms, many of which metabolize components in sweat to ...

Nanotech 'bacteria bloodhounds' developed

01/07/2012
A new bio-nanotechnology developed by Taiwanese researchers may soon help detect bacteria in blood samples quickly, without the need for long culture processes. The new technology can help get much faster and more precise initial test results of infections and reduce the chance of fatalities or complications, Taiwan's Central News ...

Bacteria's slimy biofilm could help humans

01/07/2012
Bacteria and other microbes love living in slimy communities that cling to riverbed rocks and swimming pool walls, contaminate factory equipment and medical implants, and sometimes coat the teeth as plaque. When such microbe gatherings stick to a hard surface, they’re called biofilms. They're also notoriously difficult to clean up, ...

The appearance of circular, entire, opaque colonies on the surface of a nutrient agar plate

01/06/2012
The appearance of circular, entire, opaque colonies on the surface of a nutrient agar plate. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.
01/06/2012
The controversial Andrew Wakefield, MBBS, whose now largely discredited research ignited the vaccine-autism furor, has filed a defamation suit in a Texas court against BMJ, its editor, and an investigative journalist over a series of articles published last January. The articles, by Brian Deer, as well as commentaries by the journal's ...

How Hard Would It Be for Avian Flu to Spread?

01/05/2012
Recent reports that two teams of scientists had genetically altered a deadly flu virus to make it more contagious have provoked fear, even outrage, in some quarters. Biosecurity advisers to the American government, which paid for the research, have urged that full details not be published for fear that terrorists could ...

A deadly balance

01/04/2012
Tempting fate is never wise; tempting a flu pandemic is downright foolish. Yet it is impossible for scientists to understand influenza or create vaccines without at least some risk. The question, then, is what level of risk is acceptable. On December 20th the American authorities said they had asked the world’s ...

DNA Implanted Bacteria To Detect Glucose

01/04/2012
Should a study by a team of students from Missouri University of Science and Technology become reality, individuals suffering with diabetes will be able to monitor their blood sugar levels in a more cost-effective way. Recently, the team of students at the Missouri S&T chapter of iGEM - the International ...

Mold mycelium

01/03/2012
A contaminant (mold mycelium) on a Serratia streak plate. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

The FDA Fast Tracks a Vaccine to Fight Pneumonia in Older Adults

01/02/2012
U.S. health regulators approved the expansion of Pfizer Inc's blockbuster Prevnar vaccine for use in adults 50 and older to fight pneumonia, meningitis, and other diseases cause by pneumococcus bacteria. Prevnar 13 is designed to fight 13 forms of a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus. Pneumonia caused by the pneumococcal ...

Blinking bacteria trained in 'biopixel' displays

01/02/2012
The University of California at San Diego last month detailed the latest advances toward making a lighting system powered by genetically engineered e. coli bacteria. Bioengineers insert a protein that causes the bacteria to fluoresce. Assembled in colonies, these bacteria act as a light source, like the pixel on a screen. ...

CDC, FDA say 4 cases of bacterial infection in babies not related, infant formula not tainted

01/02/2012
Four cases of infants sickened by a rare bacteria sometimes linked to powdered formula, including two who died, are not related and parents can continue using the products to feed their babies, two federal agencies announced Friday. Scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug ...

Trillions of Fat-Eating Bacteria Invade Town

01/02/2012
Water is set to use a new biological weapon to flush away Whitby residents’ festive fat. Over the Christmas period trillions of fat-busting bugs have been deployed in the sewers of Whitby to feast on fat, oils and grease. Over time these substances build up on the inside of sewer pipes, reducing ...

Bird flu strain that killed man won't spread: China

01/02/2012
The strain of bird flu that killed a Chinese bus driver won't spread to other people, a health agency said Monday. The Shenzhen Disease Control Center appealed for calm while officials investigated how the man contracted the H5N1 strain of the virus. The 39-year-old driver, Chen, had developed a fever Dec. ...

Clayoquot Sound bacteria 'communicate' to co-ordinate feeding times, researchers find

01/01/2012
It's perhaps the most fiercely contested ecosystem in Canadian history. And now British Columbia's Clayoquot Sound has proven to have such a rich mix of biological material at the interface of land and sea that it's helped an international team of scientists gain a new understanding of the planet's carbon ...

Student team's glucose sensor uses DNA instead of chemicals

01/01/2012
People with diabetes may one day have a less expensive resource for monitoring their blood glucose levels, if research by a group of Missouri University of Science and Technology students becomes reality. Members of the Missouri S&T chapter of iGEM - the International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation - recently devised a ...

Bacteria can thrive on paper towels, says study

01/01/2012
Here's something to keep in mind the next time you reach for a paper towel in a public washroom. A study by Laval University in Quebec City finds bacteria thrives on the paper products, even unused towels. And, it says some of those germs could be transferred to you after you've washed ...

A Bird Flu Death in China. What it Means — and Doesn’t Mean

01/01/2012
Science and news cycles sometimes converge in unhandy ways. That was the case on on January 1, when word came out of Shenzen, a Chinese city bordering Hong Kong, that a 39-year-old bus driver, surnamed Chen, had died of the H5N1 (or bird flu) virus. The deeply personal tragedy for ...

China bird flu victim dies in Shenzhen city

01/01/2012
A man who had been diagnosed with China's first case of bird flu in more than a year has died in the southern city of Shenzhen, health officials say. The 39-year-old bus driver was admitted to hospital with pneumonia but tested positive for the bird flu virus. The H5N1 bird flu ...

Hand, foot, mouth disease has sickened 110,000 in Vietnam, killed 166 over the past year

12/30/2011
Vietnam says an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease has infected more than 110,000 people this year and killed 166, most of them children under 5 years old. A Health Ministry official said Friday that the infection rate was slowing from a September peak of 3,000 per week to about ...

A close-up of the surface of a streak plate

12/30/2011
A close-up of the surface of a streak plate using a mixed culture of Serratia marcescens and Micrococcus lutea as the inoculum. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

A close-up view of a pour plate using Serratia marcescens as the inoculum.

12/29/2011
bc5 - A close-up view of a pour plate using Serratia marcescens as the inoculum. A variety of colonial shapes can be seen. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Novel Swine Flu Virus Now Reported in 5 States, Says CDC

12/29/2011
The number of reported cases of a novel swine influenza virus has risen to 12 since July, encompassing 5 states, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The virus includes a gene from the human pandemic strain and affects mostly children. The agency is taking the influenza ...

The results of a pour plate using Serratia marcescens as the inoculum

12/28/2011
The results of a pour plate using Serratia marcescens as the inoculum. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Research shows ocean bacteria glow to attract those that would eat them

12/28/2011
In most situations in the wild, animals develop abilities to help them avoid being eaten. The chameleon, for example, can change its color to avoid being seen by predators. What’s less usual, are animals or organisms that develop abilities that do the opposite, i.e. develop traits that encourage predators to ...

OpEd: Bacteria 1, F.D.A. 0

12/28/2011
Earlier this month, the Maine-based grocery chain Hannaford issued a ground beef recall after at least 14 people were infected with an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella. Chances are this is the first you’ve heard of it. After all, it’s not much compared to the 76 illnesses and one death back ...

Debate Persists on Deadly Flu Made Airborne

12/27/2011
The young scientist, normally calm and measured, seemed edgy when he stopped by his boss’s office. “You are not going to believe this one,” he told Ron Fouchier, a virologist at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. “I think we have an airborne H5N1 virus.” The news, delivered one afternoon last July, ...

The results of a pour plate after incubation

12/27/2011
The results of a pour plate after incubation. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

CDC: Hep B Vaccine Needed for Diabetic Adults

12/27/2011
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all unvaccinated adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes aged 19 to 59, say new guidelines from the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The vaccination should be done as soon as possible after adults in this age group are diagnosed with diabetes. Unvaccinated ...

CDC reports two more novel flu infections

12/26/2011
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today confirmed two more novel flu infections, one an H3N2 variant that has been identified in 11 other patients this year and one an H1N1 variant that has never been reported in humans before. The CDC described the latest novel H3N2 case ...

Newest country on track to kill ancient disease

12/26/2011
It isn't often these days that a whole new country comes into being. But that just happened, with the official hiving off of South Sudan from the rest of Sudan on 9 July. Sudan always was an improbably huge result of post-colonial border invention, and the near-permanent civil war between the ...

Ulcer bacteria may protect against diarrhea

12/26/2011
People who harbor ulcer-causing bacteria in their stomachs may be protected against some diarrheal diseases, suggests a new study. The bacterium, called Helicobacter pylori, is especially common throughout the developing world, but only causes symptoms in a minority of those it infects. People with chronic H. pylori infections are known to have ...

Bacteria's favorite hangouts

12/23/2011
It's a given that shopping does damage to your wallet, but experts are now saying that it could also be harmful to your health. Close quarters inside the stores, combined with dry heat, poor hygiene by other shoppers and less-than-ideal cleanliness inside many malls can equal a cold or more severe ...

Pellicle on the surface of a broth medium

12/22/2011
The presence of a pellicle on the surface of a broth medium. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Controversial 'bird flu' edits move ahead

12/22/2011
Top US scientists on Wednesday defended their bid to stop details of a mutant bird flu virus from being published and called for global cooperation to ward off an uncontrollable pandemic. Meanwhile, scientists involved in the experiments said they are cooperating with government officials and the editors of the journals Science ...

Seeing Terror Risk, U.S. Asks Journals to Cut Flu Study Facts

12/21/2011
For the first time ever, a government advisory board is asking scientific journals not to publish details of certain biomedical experiments, for fear that the information could be used by terrorists to create deadly viruses and touch off epidemics. In the experiments, conducted in the United States and the Netherlands, scientists ...

Blood Agar Plate

12/20/2011
The results after incubation of a blood agar plate exposed to a laboratory environment for approximately 2 hrs. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Biofuel Research Boosted by Discovery of How Cyanobacteria Make Energy

12/19/2011
A generally accepted, 44-year-old assumption about how certain kinds of bacteria make energy and synthesize cell materials has been shown to be incorrect by a team of scientists led by Donald Bryant, the Ernest C. Pollard Professor of Biotechnology at Penn State and a research professor in the Department of ...

Human Response to Bacterial Infection and Resolution in Mice, Simulated

12/19/2011
Reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of Jefferson immunologists found that a specialized "human immune system" mouse model closely mimics a person's specific response and resolution of a tick-borne infection known as relapsing fever, caused by the bacteria Borrelia hermsii. The response is so ...

Common Oral Bacteria Open the Door to Allow Other Invaders In

12/18/2011
A common oral bacteria, Fusobacterium nucleatum, acts like a key to open a door in human blood vessels and leads the way for it and other bacteria like Escherichia coli to invade the body through the blood and make people sick, according to dental researchers at Case Western Reserve University. Yiping ...

Researchers Create Living ‘Neon Signs’ Composed of Millions of Glowing Bacteria

12/18/2011
In an example of life imitating art, biologists and bioengineers at UC San Diego have created a living neon sign composed of millions of bacterial cells that periodically fluoresce in unison like blinking light bulbs. Their achievement, detailed in this week’s advance online issue of the journal Nature, involved attaching a ...

Science Diction: The Origin Of The Petri Dish

12/17/2011
From NPR's Science Friday: 'In 1887, Julius Petri invented a simple pair of nesting glass dishes, ideal for keeping specimens of growing bacteria sterile—the 'Petri dish.' Science historian Howard Markel recounts the history of this ubiquitous lab supply, and the serendipitous discovery of the stuff in it, agar.'

Microbes found thriving in Mars-like conditions

12/17/2011
The discovery of microbes in any icy lava tube in Oregon raises hope that similar microorganisms could survive in the very similar conditions to be found on Mars. The microbes are coping with near-freezing temperatures and low levels of oxygen, and can even grow in the absence of organic food. Their ...

Bacteria that could pass as X-men: part 2

12/17/2011
'Second part of my thinly veiled excuse to research X-men and call it work. The first post can be found here. This is only meant to be a two-parter but I’ll see how I feel on Monday, and whether I can find any more X-men that are as amazing as ...

Bacteria that could pass as X-men: part 1

12/17/2011
Great article from Scientific American... click 'source' to see the whole piece... 1) The Blob Like many of the X-men, the Blob has gone through several incarnations of character but the one main continuous feature is that he’s big. That’s pretty much it. The size gives him supernatural strength, the ability ...

Bacteria ‘talk’ and trigger defensive response in crops

12/14/2011
Scientists have discovered a new signal that helps invading bacteria communicate but also helps targeted rice plants coordinate defensive attacks on the disease-causing invaders, a finding that could lead to new methods of combating infection not just in plants, but in humans. Findings from the study, conducted by a team of ...

Attention, citizens!

12/12/2011
As the influenza season splutters into life across the northern hemisphere, millions will head to their computers in search of information, advice and remedies. Since 2008 Google has used these inquiries to track influenza-like illnesses (ILIs)—as symptoms not backed up by a definitive viral test are officially known—among its users ...

Faecal transplants used to cure Clostridium difficile

12/12/2011
Transplanting faecal matter from one person to another - the thought might turn your stomach, but it could be lifesaving. Some doctors are using the procedure to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria, which can become unbalanced in some diseases. Dr Alisdair MacConnachie, who thinks he is the only UK doctor to ...

Hemophilia B - Single Gene Therapy Treatment Offers Significant Improvement

12/11/2011
Patients with hemophilia B experienced considerable improvements and fewer injections with clotting factor to reduce bleeding after receiving just one treatment with gene therapy, researchers from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, USA, and University College London (UCL), England, reported in NEJM (New England Journal of Medicine). The small Phase I ...

Self-propelled microrockets detect dangerous bacteria in food, clinical and environmental samples

12/11/2011
No matter if you are into big, fat hamburgers or eat entirely vegetarian, nibbling on spinach leaves and celery stalks, some food borne pathogens will sooner or later get you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in the United States alone, food borne pathogens cause approximately ...

New Disinfection Technique Could Revolutionize Hospital Room Cleaning

12/11/2011
A Queen's University infectious disease expert has collaborated in the development of a disinfection system that may change the way hospital rooms all over the world are cleaned as well as stop bed bug outbreaks in hotels and apartments. "This is the future, because many hospital deaths are preventable with better ...

Billion-year-old Bacteria Could be Medical Goldmine

12/11/2011
Researchers say the Gulf of Mexico is filled with a hidden treasure — treasure that could help cure deadly diseases. University of Florida scientists are tracking bacteria they say could become medicine's newest secret weapon. In the warm waters off Craig Key, Hendrik Luesch, a UF College of Pharmacy associate professor, is ...

Vaccine may prevent cruise ship virus

12/10/2011
Researchers are working on a vaccine that might one day prevent norovirus, which has made many cruise ship passengers in the United States ill. "It is possible to prevent infection and illness with a vaccine for norovirus," said Dr. Robert Atmar, a professor of medicine and molecular virology at the Baylor ...

Beating Superbugs with a High-Tech Cleanser

12/10/2011
Dr. Udi Qimron of the Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine has developed an efficient and cost-effective liquid solution that can help fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria and keep more patients safe from life-threatening infections. The solution is based on specially designed bacteriophages — ...

Better prepared for an E. coli outbreak

12/10/2011
New methods speed up the process of identifying the subgroup of E. coli bacteria responsible for an outbreak of illness. At the same time, Norwegian researchers are on the trail of a disinfectant that will inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria in food. Escherichia coli bacteria (E. coli) are common to ...

Turning bacteria's shield into a weapon against it

12/10/2011
Scientists in Germany have synthesised the core part of a sugar compound produced by the pathogenic bacteria responsible for meningitis - Neisseria meningitides - which could be used in a vaccine for meningococcal diseases, in particular meningitis B. Pathogenic bacteria produce a polysaccharide layer, forming a capsule to cloak antigenic ...

Microbial Diversity ID’d in Gut of Low Birth Weight Infants

12/10/2011
The gut-associated microbiome of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants has microbial diversity and includes fungal species, bacteria, molds, viruses, parasitic organisms, and roundworms, according to a study published online Dec. 8 in PLoS One. Mariam S. LaTuga, M.D., from the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues investigated ...

Bacteria meets its match in the Meat Science Lab

12/07/2011
Crystal Lopez isn’t squeamish. The animal sciences senior has worked at the UA Animal Sciences Meat Science Laboratory for more than three years. The job requires her to come in close contact with the carcasses of freshly harvested animals. The lab has facilities to slaughter and store cattle as well as other ...

Baseball-Shaped Fossils Show Early Proof of Animals

12/07/2011
Microscopic 570-million-year-old fossils from China may represent the earliest evidence for animal life on Earth, suggests a new study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Previous theories have said that the fossils represented giant bacteria. "One of the proponents of the bacteria theory was a co-author of this paper (Jake ...

New bacterial insecticide in the wings

12/06/2011
A new bacterial insecticide that is deadly against a wide range of insects could be approved within three to four years, say researchers. Structural biologist Dr Michael Landsberg, of the University of Queensland, and colleagues, report their findings on the bacteria Yersinia entomophaga MH96 this week in Proceedings of the National ...

Extreme bacteria named for Otago man

12/06/2011
One of the toughest microorganisms on the planet has just been named after University of Otago microbiologist Prof Greg Cook. "It's a great honour and it means a lot to me," he said yesterday. The bacterial species concerned - Amphibacillus cookii sp. nov.- flourishes in the hot and highly salty environment of ...

Septin proteins take bacterial prisoners

12/06/2011
Cellular proteins called septins might play an important part in the human body’s ability to fight off bacterial infections, according to a study. Septins are found in many organisms, and are best known for building scaffolding to provide structural support during cell division and to rope off parts of the cell. ...

The Berkeley Pit

12/05/2011
“To go to Berkeley Pit Lake, you have to complete a forty-hour Hazmat program—and that’s just to stand next to the water,” advises Andrea Stierle, a research professor at the University of Montana-Missoula, who began studying samples from the Pit sixteen years ago. And when employees of the Montana Bureau ...

CDC confirms similarity of novel H3N2 viruses in Iowa, other states

12/05/2011
Testing by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that the novel H3N2 viruses that recently sickened three Iowa children are similar to swine-origin viruses containing a gene segment from the 2009 H1N1 virus that have been identified in three other states. The CDC, in a statement ...

Animals, antibiotics and resistance

12/04/2011
Livestock growers add almost 25 million pounds of antibiotics and similar medications to livestock feed each year. Feeding tons of antibiotics to healthy animals, a practice under review in the United States and banned in the European Union, might increase the growth of farm animals. In a classic biology textbook example of ...

Our Microbiomes, Ourselves

12/04/2011
Imagine a scientist gently swabs your left nostril with a Q-tip and finds that your nose contains hundreds of species of bacteria. That in itself is no surprise; each of us is home to some 100 trillion microbes. But then she makes an interesting discovery: in your nose is a ...

Bacteria turn drugs to toxins

12/04/2011
While traces of pharmaceutical compounds are commonly present in wastewater, interactions with bacteria during the treatment process could transform them from non-toxic to toxic forms, a new study suggests. Some drugs can occur in two forms, known as enantiomers. While they are chemically very similar, pairs of enantiomers can have drastically ...

A synthetic molecule may help fight disease

12/04/2011
University of Missouri researchers have found that synthetic molecules might prove to be a key in reducing the severity of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, the leading genetic cause of infantile death. The work is led by Chris Lorson, a researcher at the Bond Life Sciences Center and a professor in ...

Highly contagious canine flu outbreak in NY area

12/03/2011
A strain of flu virus that infects dogs has erupted in the New York City area, including northern New Jersey and the lower Hudson Valley. The strain, H3N8, is extremely contagious and is often spread when dogs are kept in confined areas, such as kennels or daycare facilities. For this ...

Glowing bacteria could power 'bio-light'

12/03/2011
This bizarre-looking concoction of glass, liquid and tubes could one day bring a whole new meaning to the idea of natural lighting. The new "bio-light" concept designed by Dutch electronics company Philips creates light in the same way that bioluminescent living organisms like fireflies and glow worms do. The phenomenon of bioluminescence ...

Micrococcus lutea

11/30/2011
Gram-stain of Micrococcus lutea. (approx. 1000 X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Bacterial attachment mimics the just-in-time industrial delivery model

11/30/2011
In the human world of manufacturing, many companies are now applying an on-demand, just-in-time strategy to conserve resources, reduce costs and promote production of goods precisely when and where they are most needed. A recent study from Indiana University Bloomington scientists reveals that bacteria have evolved a similar just-in-time strategy ...

Micrococcus luteus

11/28/2011
Safranin-stained Micrococcus luteus showing sarcinae and other arrangements. (approx. 1000 X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Study finds how starving bacteria beat antibiotics

11/28/2011
Some bacteria fight off antibiotics even as they starve. For years, scientists believed antibiotics failed to work against starving bacteria because the medicines' target spot within the bacteria had slowed or gone dormant. As it turns out, the bacteria's starvation triggers a reaction that coincidentally helps them defeat antibiotics, a University of ...

Could a Mouthwash Do Away With Dental Visits?

11/28/2011
One dental researcher thinks he's found a way to permanently stave off the cavity-causing bacteria that lead to expensive and costly trips to the dentist. Wenyuan Shi of the University of California, Los Angeles, has led efforts to develop a mouthwash with technology that kills Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for ...

Invasive species nibble away at your wallet

11/28/2011
Invasive species aren't just exotic animals, scary snakes or annoying insects. They can also be bacteria and viruses that kill people. Although it's difficult to say what the most harmful invasive species is, "I'd probably point to West Nile virus," says Christopher Dionigi of the federal National Invasive Species Council ...

Human-associated Species Dominate Restroom Bacterial Communities

11/28/2011
The results of a recent study characterizing microbial communities in public restrooms may be enough to change the ways of those who don't already wash their hands after using the toilet. The study found that restrooms are dominated by human-associated bacteria--particularly those from the skin, gut, and urinary tract. Although ...

‘Micro,’ by Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

11/27/2011
Okay, here’s the deal. You and your pals — grad students, hotshot scientists-to-be — are invited to Hawaii to talk about cutting-edge jobs in microbiology. But after you learn that the company’s owner is a crook and a killer, he uses his new technology to shrink you from six feet ...

Cash crisis hits disease battle

11/26/2011
Efforts to tackle diseases which kill millions each year could be badly affected by a severe shortfall in donations to a worldwide funding body. The Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria will make no new grants until 2014, and there is a threat to some existing projects. It asked international ...

Swine Flu Type Virus Reported In Iowa

11/26/2011
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed three mildly ill children with viruses similar to the swine-origin influenza A (H3N2) viruses identified in three other states. These viruses contain the "matrix (M) gene segment" from the 2009 "Swine Flu" pandemic known as H1N1 virus. This combination of genes ...

In proteins, a possible antibiotic revolution

11/26/2011
The problem with antibiotics? We’re running out of them. Over the last half-decade, our arsenal of powerful bacteria-killing medicines has slowly (though in biological time, rapidly) been depleted as nature, through evolution, outwits our efforts to develop chemical tools that can save us from some of the world’s most deadly diseases. San ...

Iowa Reports Novel Influenza Infections in Three Children

11/25/2011
The Iowa Department of Public Health today reported that a “novel strain of the influenza virus has been detected in three children.” All three of the children were reportedly mildly ill and have recovered. Iowa has increased surveillance for influenza-like-illness to detect any additional cases of infection with this novel ...

Watching bacteria evolve into problems

11/25/2011
The rise of antibiotic resistance is old news by now—everyone knows that bacteria evolve in response to their surroundings to maintain, and enhance, their pathogenicity. What's less clear is exactly how this happens. Although we can identify genetic mutations in bacteria, it has been difficult to determine which of those ...

DARPA calls for antibiotic replacement

11/25/2011
Most everyone that has been keeping abreast of world events knows that the clock is ticking on antibiotics; bacteria have been slowly developing a resistance and development of new antibiotics has slowed to a crawl, thus the day will soon come that all of the tools were are currently using ...

Leftover Turkey to the Fridge, Stat

11/24/2011
As we enjoy our most food-oriented holiday tomorrow, nutritionists and food safety experts recommend that particular care be taken to ensure that leftovers -- whether kept for later meals or dispatched home with guests -- don't become a catalyst for the pain, vomiting, and diarrhea that afflicts some 400,000 Americans ...

Bacteria that live on the Atkins Diet

11/24/2011
Bacteria have adapted to live in many niches; from the environmental bacteria that live in the soil and the seas, to the highly specialised intracellular bacteria that rely exclusively on their surrounding host for nutrients. While all bacteria face challenges in adapting their environment to suit them, intracellular bacteria face ...

Public bathroom bacteria uncovered, thanks to gene sequencing

11/24/2011
We all know public bathrooms are lousy with bacteria, but what kind are they, and how did they get there? A study released Wednesday in the journal PLoS ONE uses gene sequencing to find out exactly what germs lurk in public restrooms and where they came from. And after reading ...

Acid-fast rods

11/23/2011
Acid-fast rods. (approx. 1000 X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Non-acid-fast rods

11/22/2011
Non-acid-fast rods. (approx. 1000 X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Salvaging Science from Stricken Mars Moon Probe: A Scientist's View

11/20/2011
Russian engineers are scrambling to save the Phobos-Grunt spacecraft amid ever-bleaker signs the mission may be lost. The probe was launched uneventfully Nov. 8, but soon afterward its thruster failed to fire to send it on a course toward Mars, leaving the spacecraft stranded in Earth orbit. Phobos-Grunt was designed for ...

The first hairy microbes

11/20/2011
Anyone who has taken high school biology has likely come into contact with a ciliate. The much-studied paramecium is one of 7,000 species of ciliates, a vast group of microorganisms that share a common morphology: single-celled blobs covered in tiny hairs, or cilia. These cilia — Greek for “eyelash” — ...

Genome Sequence Sheds New Light On How Plants Evolved Nitrogen-Fixing Symbioses

11/20/2011
The genome of Medicago, a close relative of alfalfa and a long-established model for the study of legume biology, has been sequenced by an international team of scientists, capturing around 94 per cent of its genes. The research gives new insights into the evolution of the Papilionoid subfamily of legumes, which ...

Targeting Bacterial Gas Defenses Allow for Increased Efficacy of Numerous Antibiotics

11/20/2011
Although scientists have known for centuries that many bacteria produce hydrogen sulfide (H2S) it was thought to be simply a toxic by-product of cellular activity. Now, researchers at NYU School of Medicine have discovered H2S in fact plays a major role in protecting bacteria from the effects of numerous different ...

FDA Gives Nod to New Leukemia Treatment‎

11/20/2011
The FDA has approved a new compound for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients who are allergic to asparaginase derived from Escherichia coli. The agency gave the okay to asparaginase Erwinia chrysanthemi (Erwinaze) as a replacement for E. coli-derived asparaginase or pegylated asparaginase (pegaspargase). The compound is already approved in ...

New Clues for Improving Antibiotics for Tolerant Bacteria

11/19/2011
The superbug MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) has provoked fear in doctors and patients alike because it is endowed with genetic characteristics that make it impervious to many antibiotics, and it can be deadly to boot. Less well known, however, is another class of bacteria that also resist antibiotics, but for ...

Bacteria swarms could inspire new generation of smart robots

11/19/2011
Tel Aviv University researchers have developed a computational model that explains how bacteria move in a swarm, which can be applied to man-made technologies, including computers, artificial intelligence, and robotics. Ph.D. student Adi Shklarsh of TAU has discovered how bacteria collectively gather information about their environment and find an optimal path ...

Gram-stained preparation of Bacillus subtilis

11/18/2011
Gram-stained preparation of Bacillus subtilis showing rods, and spores (empty areas). (approx. 1000 X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Scientists to Study Novel Treatment for Antibiotic-Resistant Bacterial Infections

11/17/2011
The bacteria Enterococcus can cause infections that typically target the digestive tract or bowel; if the bacteria spread, an abdominal abscess or urinary infection could result. Enterococcus also can invade the bloodstream, leading to meningitis, pneumonia or endocarditis — an infection of the heart valve. Typically the only people who ...

Europe kickstarts R&D fightback against superbugs

11/17/2011
Europe set out plans to boost research into the neglected area of antibiotics on Thursday by promising to accelerate approval of new drugs, while ensuring adequate prices for their makers and promoting industry-wide R&D. Multi-drug resistant bacteria, or so-called superbugs, are a growing threat across Europe, with rates of drug resistance ...

FDA Panel Votes to Expand Use of Pneumococcal Vaccine to Adults

11/17/2011
An FDA advisory committee has voted 14-1 in favor of expanding the indication for the pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine (Prevnar 13) to include use in adults 50 and older. Currently the Pfizer vaccine is approved only for use in children. The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biologics Advisory Committee voted for accelerated approval, ...

Study: Even the Cleanest Wastewater Contributes to More Super Bacteria

11/16/2011
A new University of Minnesota study reveals that the release of treated municipal wastewater – even wastewater treated by the highest-quality treatment technology – can have a significant effect on the quantities of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, often referred to as "superbacteria," in surface waters. The study also suggests that wastewater treated using ...

Hydra, fruit flies, and stripy colonies of bacteria

11/16/2011
In 1952, two years before his untimely death at the age of 41, the mathematician Alan Turing wrote an influential paper entitled "The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis." The paper tackled the problem of how limbs and other structural patterns arise in plants and animals that begin life as undifferentiated blobs ...

Refuse vaccines and risk dismissal by doctor

11/15/2011
It's not unusual for a patient to change doctors. Doctors retire, families move, insurance changes. And sometimes, patients get fired. "Discharging parents from a practice is never easy," says Thomas Tryon, a pediatrician at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Mo. "I never did it without disappointment that I'd somehow ...

Infection Selection

11/14/2011
Genomic sequencing of samples from multiple patients during a bacterial epidemic has revealed gene mutations that give the bugs a selective advantage. The large-scale sequencing approach, which is reported today (November 13) in Nature Genetics, should help researchers find chinks in the armor of a wide range of human pathogens. “This ...

Bacterial genes tell the tale of an outbreak's evolution

11/13/2011
Researchers at Harvard Medical School and Children's Hospital Boston have retraced the evolution of an unusual bacterial infection as it spread among cystic fibrosis patients by sequencing scores of samples collected during the outbreak, since contained. A significant achievement in genetic pathology, the work also suggests a new way to ...

Potential compounds for new anti-cancer therapies identified

11/13/2011
University of Southern California scientists have identified two new molecules that can kill lymphoma cells in mice, suggesting more effective cancer killers than existing drugs.he peptides, molecules derived from a cancer-causing virus, target an enzyme in cancerous cells that regulates a widely researched tumour suppressor protein known as p53. The peptides ...

Bonnie Bassler chosen North American Laureate for L'OREAL-UNESCO award ‎

11/13/2011
The 2012 Laureate for North America is Professor Bonnie Bassler, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Principal Investigator, Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. Professor Bassler is a world-renowned expert on how bacteria "talk" to each other using a chemical language in order to coordinate their behavior ...

Malaria Finding Points to Possible New Vaccine

11/13/2011
A vaccine or new drugs against malaria could be developed, British scientists said, after they made a critical discovery about the way the most deadly species of malaria parasite invades human red blood cells. Researchers from the Sanger Institute pinpointed a single receptor for a protein that is critical for the ...

Finding E. coli’s Achilles heel

11/13/2011
Thanks to the work of a Simon Fraser University researcher and two of his students, science is closer to finding a new way of combatting infections caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli) and other related bacteria. E. coli bacteria are found naturally in human intestines and perform some important digestive duties. ...

Fish Flu: Genetics Approach May Lead to Treatment

11/12/2011
A research team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has provided the first look* at a genetic structure that may play a critical role in the reproduction of the infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV), more commonly known as the “fish flu.” A scourge in fish farms with ...

Breakthrough against deadly melioidosis scourge: report

11/12/2011
Scientists have made a major breakthrough that could lead to a vaccine against the deadly tropical disease melioidosis, which infects millions of people, a study published on Thursday said. The findings in the journal Science and show how a toxin produced by the bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei kills cells by preventing protein ...

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Raises Risk of Flu Death in Children

11/12/2011
Healthy children infected with the H1N1 influenza virus during the 2009 pandemic were more likely to die if they were also infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to a new study. The risk of dying increased eightfold for otherwise healthy children who had both H1N1 and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), compared with ...

CDC Confirms the 6th and 7th Cases of Swine-Origin Influenza A H3N2 Virus with 2009 H1N1 M Gene

11/11/2011
CDC has confirmed two additional cases of human infection with a swine–origin influenza A (H3N2) virus that carries the M gene from the 2009 H1N1 virus. The cases were reported by Maine and Indiana. There is no evidence at this time of an epidemiological link between these two patients or ...

Gram-negative rods

11/10/2011
Gram-negative rods, possibly E. coli. (approx. 1000 X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Berkeley Lab Researchers Create First of Its Kind Gene Map of Sulfate-reducing Bacterium

11/09/2011
Critical genetic secrets of a bacterium that holds potential for removing toxic and radioactive waste from the environment have been revealed in a study by researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The researchers have provided the first ever map of the genes ...

Millions of kids' antibiotic Rx's unneeded: study

11/09/2011
Pediatricians write more than 10 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions -- for conditions like the flu and asthma -- every year, suggests a new study. Those ailments, and others not caused by bacteria, don't respond to the drugs. But misuse of antibiotics contributes to drug resistance -- so those same medications might ...

Salmonella typhi.

11/09/2011
Flagella stain of Salmonella typhi. (approx. 1000 X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Fight the flu and boost your immune system, one bite at a time

11/08/2011
Flu shot? Check. Immunity-boosting diet? Uh … what? If you don't have good nutrition, you're missing a key weapon against colds and flu. Basics include the famously nutrient-dense leafy greens, berries and nuts. You may be surprised by these six other top immune boosters suggested by Tonia Reinhard, registered dietitian and author ...

Metagenomics Study Tracks Microbial Community During Permafrost Thaw

11/07/2011
In a study appearing online yesterday in Nature, an American research team used metagenomic sequencing to not only look at the microbes, genes, and pathways found in Alaskan permafrost samples, but also to track the changes that occur in these communities once the permafrost thaws. Because the site tested is predicted ...

Gram-negative rods and coccobacilli

11/07/2011
Gram-negative rods and coccobacilli. (Proteus vulgaris) (approx X1000). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Chicken Pox Parties Is "Middle Ages Vigilante Vaccination"

11/07/2011
If you think buying a lollipop contaminated with saliva from senders whose children are infected will protect your kids from chicken pox, think again - because it probably won't. More likely, you will be exposing them to more serious infections, such as hepatitis. A US attorney in Nashville, Jerry Martin, ...

High school students discover bacterium that decolorizes dye wastewater

11/07/2011
A bacterium discovered by two high school students here has the ability to decolorize wastewater created when dyeing textiles, offering the potential for a new, environmentally-friendly decolorizing treatment. Ehime is a top producer of towels and paper, and colored wastewater created by dyeing has presented a problem for these industries. Although ...

Scientists hope animals’ immune systems will fight C. difficile

11/07/2011
Scientists are enlisting two unlikely allies in the fight against C. difficile bacteria. Camels and Llamas are supplying the antibodies for the latest research against the infection, which is frequently transmitted in hospitals and can be fatal. Antibodies from camels and llamas are 10 times smaller than those found in humans, ...

U.S. spots two more human cases of flu with new swine virus but cases not linked

11/06/2011
Two new cases of human infection with a flu virus that has been sporadically jumping to people from pigs have been spotted in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control reported Friday. The new cases, in Maine and Indiana, bring to seven the number seen in the U.S. since July. ...

Chickenpox lollipops? Some moms may be sending in mail‎

11/06/2011
You’ve probably heard of "chickenpox parties," where parents get unvaccinated kids together (in the home of an infected child) in the hopes they'll catch the disease. They think making their kids suffer through the disease will help them develop stronger immunity than immunization would provide. But now the buzz is all ...

Dirt Prevents Allergy, Danish Research Suggests

11/06/2011
If infants encounter a wide range of bacteria they are less at risk of developing allergic disease later in life. This is the conclusion of research from the University of Copenhagen, which suggests completely new factors in many modern lifestyle diseases. Oversensitivity diseases, or allergies, now affect 25 per cent of ...

Common bacteria cause some colon tumors by altering peroxide-producing gene (press release)

11/06/2011
Working with lab cultures and mice, Johns Hopkins scientists have found that a strain of the common gut pathogen Bacteroides fragilis causes colon inflammation and increases activity of a gene called spermine oxidase (SMO) in the intestine. The effect is to expose the gut to hydrogen peroxide – the caustic, ...

Cantaloupe listeria outbreak most deadly since 1924

11/06/2011
With 29 people now confirmed dead, the listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe from one Colorado farm is officially the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in the United States since 1924, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The outbreak comes from Rocky Ford-brand cantaloupes sold by Jensen Farms near Holly, ...

Gram-negative rods

11/03/2011
Gram-negative rods. (approx. 1000 X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

ACG: Refractory Bacteria Respond to Fecal Transplant

11/03/2011
Transplanting fecal matter with healthy bacteria into patients with refractory Clostridium difficile infections can lead to quick relief, researchers said here. Fecal microbiota transplant had a 91% rate of success -- defined as no recurrence within three months -- among 77 patients with refractory C. difficile infection, Mark Mellow, MD, of ...

Vampire bacteria could become the ultimate antibiotic

11/02/2011
A bacterium found in sewage water could revolutionize modern medicine. It's basically the bacterial equivalent of a vampire, spending its time hunting other bacteria and sucking out all their nutrients. This could revolutionize antibotics and stop the rise of "super bugs." The bacterium in question is called Micavibrio aeruginosavorus. Scientists have ...

Half of hospital rooms rife with drug-resistant bug, study finds

11/02/2011
Nearly half of hospital rooms of patients infected with drug-resistant strains of Acinetobacter baumannii are contaminated with the bacteria, a small new survey shows. Surfaces such as bedrails, drawer handles and touchpads are particularly prone to harboring the germ. That could pose big problems for hospital staff and future patients if ...

Bacterium's role in gastric cancer studied

11/02/2011
U.S. researchers say they've discovered how a cancer-causing bacterium attacks a cell's energy infrastructure, ultimately causing the cell to self-destruct. Helicobacter pylori are the only bacteria known to survive in the human stomach and infection with the bacterium is associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer, scientists at the University ...

Treponema pallidum

11/01/2011
Dark-field preparation of Treponema pallidum. (approx X1000). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

In Some Cases, Even Bad Bacteria May Be Good

11/01/2011
Overuse of antibiotics has led to the creation of drug-resistant bacteria — so-called superbugs, like methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus. But now some researchers are exploring an equally unsettling possibility: Antibiotic abuse may also be contributing to the increasing incidence of obesity, as well as allergies, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and gastroesophageal ...

Crystal violet stained cocci

10/31/2011
Crystal violet stained cocci. Tetrads, and diplococcal and staphylococcal arrangements are present. (approx. 1000 X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

IDSA: Cancer Gene Plays Key Role in HIV Infection

10/31/2011
A gene formerly known as a tumor suppressor may play a role in a so-called "functional cure" for HIV, a researcher said here. The gene, dubbed p21, is highly overexpressed in the CD4-positive T cells of "elite controllers" -- people infected with HIV who do not lose immune cells or have ...

Two Cancer Studies Find Bacterial Clue in Colon

10/31/2011
For years, Dr. Robert A. Holt, a genomics researcher at the British Columbia Cancer Agency, wrestled with a question about colon cancer. Might it be caused, or pushed along, by a bacterial infection? Cancers of the liver, stomach and cervix have all been linked to microbes, he knew. And if there ...

Friendly Gut Bacteria May Trigger MS

10/31/2011
In an astonishing new study published in Nature today, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Martinsried in Munich, Germany say they have found evidence that suggests multiple sclerosis (MS) is triggered by natural intestinal flora, the so-called friendly bacteria that reside in the gut. They found genetically ...
10/31/2011
A recent study has found that the bacteria that can cause stomach inflammation and ulcers do not seem to be related to overenlargement of adenoids, despite earlier studies reporting high colonization rates of Helicobacter pylori in adenoids. Researchers from an Australian university examined 93 adenoid biopsy specimens—78 hyperplastic and 15 normal—from ...

No anthrax vaccine testing on children for now

10/29/2011
Should the anthrax vaccine be tested in children? It will be a while longer before the government decides. An advisory board said Friday that ethical issues need to be resolved — but if that can be accomplished the vaccine can be tested in children to be sure it's safe and to ...

On the trail of E. coli outbreak

10/29/2011
Federal health investigators landed in St. Louis Friday to help determine the source and scope of the E. coli outbreak that has so far sickened 23 people across the region. There were no new illnesses reported on Friday. Four scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta arrived ...

Does Probiotic Yogurt Really Affect Digestion? NPR audio report

10/29/2011
Reporting in Science Translational Medicine, researchers write that the bacteria in yogurt affect people's digestion—but not by repopulating gut flora. Microbiologist Jeffrey Gordon talks about these findings and the future of using bacteria as therapy for digestive disorders such as diarrhea.

Safranin stained rods

10/27/2011
Safranin stained rods. (approx. 1000 X). taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Are Gut Bacteria In Charge?

10/27/2011
The bacteria in our gut may be controlling our lives more than we ever realized. In the latest findings, published today in Nature, researchers report a link between gut bacteria and the development of multiple sclerosis in mice. Studies in mice have also examined gut bacteria in relation to obesity, depression ...

Bacilli showing streptobacillus arrangement

10/26/2011
Microscopic view of large numbers of bacilli showing streptobacillus arrangement. (approx. 1000 X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

CDC launches effort to protect cancer patients from infections

10/25/2011
Each year more than one million patients receive cancer treatment in an outpatient oncology clinic. Despite advances in oncology care, infections from both community and health care settings remain a major cause of hospitalization and death among cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. To help protect this vulnerable patient population, ...

Possible study of anthrax vaccine’s effectiveness in children stirs debate

10/25/2011
The Obama administration is wrestling with the thorny question of whether scientists should inject healthy children with the anthrax vaccine to see whether the shots would safely protect them against a bioterrorism attack. The other option is to wait until an attack happens and then try to gather data from children ...

Genetic difference in staph offers clues as to why some patients get infections from cardiac implants

10/24/2011
Patients with implants can develop infections because of a biofilm of persistent bacterial bugs on the surfaces of their devices. Researchers found that some strains of the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, have just a few genetic variants in the proteins on their surfaces that make them more likely to form these ...

Gram stain of mixed culture of cocci and rods

10/24/2011
Gram stain of mixed culture of cocci and rods.Streptobacillus morphological arrangement is shown. (Approx X1000). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Universal flu vaccine may be on horizon

10/24/2011
It's an annual autumn rite for many: trooping to the doctor's office or pharmacy for the jab that might stave off sniffles and aches during the flu season. Scientists would love to make this ritual history, if only they could come up with a flu vaccine that would work for many ...

Colon cancer linked to bacteria: future treatment with antibiotics?

10/24/2011
A significant percentage of colon cancers could be caused by a bacteria and -- if that’s indeed the case -- some tumors eventually may be prevented or treated with antibiotics, suggests a new research finding from the Broad Institute and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Using gene sequencing techniques, the researchers found ...

New adjuvants on horizon for influenza vaccines

10/23/2011
Several influenza vaccine adjuvants that have been used in Europe for many years may be incorporated into US vaccines soon, according to a presenter here at the IDSA 49th Annual Meeting. Martin Friede, PhD, who heads the Technology Transfer Team within the Department on Innovation, Information, Evidence and Research at the ...

CDC investigating case of ‘novel influenza virus of swine origin’ in Maine

10/23/2011
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a human case in Cumberland County of “novel influenza virus of swine origin” — a new strain of flu associated with pigs. State Epidemiologist Stephen Sears said Thursday that a 7-year-old girl from Cumberland County became ill with flu-like symptoms in ...

West Nile Virus Transmission Linked to Land Use Patterns and 'Super-Spreaders'

10/22/2011
After its initial appearance in New York in 1999, West Nile virus spread across the United States in just a few years and is now well established throughout North and South America. Both the mosquitoes that transmit it and the birds that are important hosts for the virus are abundant ...

Bacteria bolster bug broods

10/22/2011
Bacteria infecting parasitic worms that cause river blindness and elephantiasis in people, as well as heart worms in dogs, lead to bigger egg batches in some infected insects. Wolbachia bacteria are widespread parasites, infecting both insects and nematode worms. Infected worms are linked to serious human diseases, but the bacteria ...

New Senate Bill Promotes Antibiotic Development

10/22/2011
The Generating Antibiotics Incentives Now (GAIN) Act, introduced this week by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), aims to "spur development of new antibiotics to combat the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria," according to a press release issued by Sen. Blumenthal. "Superbugs or mutant germs resistant to present antibiotics ...

E. Coli Testing Technology From Yale Engineers Could Save Thousands Of Lives

10/22/2011
Right now, just one in 1000 cows that pass through the deathly gates of an industrial slaughterhouse is tested for harmful pathogens. That's because the current method for testing meat costs $50 and takes 12 hours. The consequences of this languorous process speak for themselves: 5000 Americans die from food-borne ...

Gram-negative rods –Alcaligenes faecalis species

10/21/2011
Gram-negative rods –Alcaligenes faecalis species (approx X1000). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Unvaccinated behind largest U.S. measles outbreak in years

10/21/2011
The largest U.S. outbreak of measles to occur in 15 years -- affecting 214 children so far -- is likely driven by travelers returning from abroad and by too many unvaccinated U.S. children, according to new research. The finding could highlight the dangers of a trend among some U.S. parents to ...

New Evidence for the Oldest Oxygen-Breathing Life On Land

10/21/2011
New University of Alberta research shows the first evidence that the first oxygen-breathing bacteria occupied and thrived on land 100 million years earlier than previously thought. The researchers show that the most primitive form of aerobic-respiring life on land came into existence 2.48 billion years ago. The research team, led by ...

Gram-negative rods – Morganella morganii species

10/20/2011
Gram-negative rods – Morganella morganii species (approx X1000). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Biological computers said a step closer

10/20/2011
British scientists say they used bacteria and DNA to make basic components for digital devices, which could pave the way for biological computing devices. Imperial College London scientists have successfully constructed logic gates -- which process information in devices such as computers and microprocessors -- out of harmless gut bacteria and ...

How Do Giant Pandas Survive on Bamboo?

10/19/2011
A new analysis of panda poop has finally answered an age-old question: How do giant pandas survive on a diet that's 99 percent bamboo when they have the guts of carnivores? Plant-eating animals tend to have longer intestines to aid in digesting fibrous material, a trait the black-and-white bears lack. What's more, ...

Gram-negative rods

10/19/2011
Gram-negative rods –Pseudomonas aeruginosa species (approx X1000). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

NAND gate built from bacteria

10/19/2011
Scientists have taken another step towards biological computing, with the creation of logic gates from gut bacteria and DNA. While something similar's been done before, the team says its logic gates behave more like the standard electronic version. They're also modular, which means that they can be fitted together to make ...

World's First Malaria Vaccine Works in Major Trial

10/19/2011
An experimental vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline halved the risk of African children getting malaria in a major clinical trial, making it likely to become the world's first shot against the deadly disease. Final-stage trial data released on Tuesday showed it gave protection against clinical and severe malaria in 5- to 17-month-olds in ...

Non-acid-fast rods

10/18/2011
Non-acid-fast rods (Corynebacterium species). (approx. X 1000). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on Microbeworld.

Synthetic Biology Delivers Cool Tools but New Therapeutics Are a Ways Off

10/18/2011
What does it take to transform a microbe normally found in the intestinal tract into a cancer-killing machine? These and other questions about the applicability of synthetic biology abound. For cancer research in particular, the field of syn bio could both reveal new insights into the disease and potentially lead ...

Robot biologist solves complex problem from scratch

10/17/2011
First it was chess. Then it was Jeopardy. Now computers are at it again, but this time they are trying to automate the scientific process itself. An interdisciplinary team of scientists at Vanderbilt University, Cornell University, and CFD Research Corporation Inc., has taken a major step toward this goal by demonstrating that ...

Reconstructing Black Death: Why Was Plague Microbe so Deadly? (PBS NewsHour video)

10/16/2011
Researchers announced Wednesday that they've managed to reconstruct the genome of the Black Death, the illness that wiped out around half of Europe's population in just a few years in the mid-1300s. Ray Suarez discusses the developments with geneticist Hendrick Poinar of McMaster University. Click 'source' to watch video.

Microbeworld Gardening Tips: leaf mould

10/16/2011
Most people know that leaf mould is a good thing. But it's not nutritionally rich and is at best a free soil improver and an adequate mulch. Offer people leaf mould or horse manure and they fight over the latter. And yet I have come to think differently over the ...

Lasers May Provide Quicker Bacteria Analysis

10/16/2011
Instead of waiting days to discover what dangerous bacteria a sample of blood, water or food may contain, as Windsor professor has a method he believes will take a minute. "It's just a completely different way of looking at how to identify bacteria," says Steven Rehse, an assistant professor of physics ...

Adjusting to High Temperatures: Researchers Discover Multifunctional Enzyme Active in Metabolism

10/16/2011
Gluconeogenesis is the ability to re-synthesize sugar out of simpler chemical building blocks. It is a central pathway of the metabolism in humans as well as simple bacteria. Researchers have been unable to scientifically analyse this conclusively until now. Together with the research groups led by Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at ...

Bacteria Genetically Engineered to Grow in Stripes

10/15/2011
Scientists from California and Hong Kong genetically engineered bacterial cells so that they spontaneously grow in concentric rings. The number of rings can be controlled by altering expression of a single gene. They say the findings could shed light on the complex patterning that takes place during development. "Natural systems ...

Feedback Loops Keep Gut Bacteria Calibrated

10/15/2011
We tend to get overly focused on bacteria that are trying to kill us (and there’s no shortage of those), but there are large populations of bacteria that live in or on us without causing any problems, and some of them are even helpful. This is especially true in the ...

1 in 6 cellphones have traces of fecal E. coli

10/15/2011
One in six cellphones in Britain may be contaminated with fecal matter that can spread E. coli, likely because so many people don't wash their hands properly after using the toilet, a new study contends. The findings also suggest that many people lie about their hygiene habits, according to the researchers ...

The Wired Atlas of the Human Ecosystem

10/12/2011
If some twisted genius vaporized all 10 trillion cells in your body—along with the hair, the fingernails, and other tissue they create—it would not leave empty space behind. A body-shaped cloud made of bacteria, viruses, and other former stowaways would hover briefly in the air. The cloud would outline your ...

Microbes may play crucial role in human health, researchers discovering

10/12/2011
Consider this: The average person’s body contains about 100 trillion cells, but only maybe one in 10 is human. This isn’t the latest Hollywood horror flick, or some secret genetic engineering experiment run amok. This, it turns out, is nature’s way: The human cells that form our skin, eyes, ears, brain and ...

Social networking the microbiome

10/12/2011
After European researchers reported in April that they had identified three basic combinations of microbiota, known as “enterotypes,” they began receiving e-mails from people hoping to find out which one they had and how that might be affecting their health. Over the summer, the group launched my.microbes — a social network ...

NPR: Listeria Outbreak: Why More Of Us Didn't Get Sick

10/12/2011
I ate a lot of cantaloupe in the weeks before a listeria outbreak led to a recall in September. And probably like many of you out there, I found myself wondering: Is there any chance that I ate some of the contaminated melons? "Probably a lot of people ate this cantaloupe," ...

Time Capsule Housed in 114-Year-Old Human Bacteria

10/12/2011
In 1897, Edward Dunham placed a vial of human bacterial spores into a time capsule for future scientists. Working as a bacteriologist at Bellevue Hospital Medical College in Manhattan, he wrote in a note that "…future generations will let us know how long these spores last," according to a CBS News ...

Chlamydia bacteria may be source of trachoma vaccine

10/12/2011
A weakened strain of the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria could be used as a vaccine against the world's biggest cause of infectious blindness, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health. Trachoma, which affects an estimated 40 million people around the world, could be counteracted by a dose of the ...

Foreign insects, diseases got into US

10/11/2011
Dozens of foreign insects and plant diseases slipped undetected into the United States in the years after 9/11, when authorities were so focused on preventing another attack that they overlooked a pest explosion that threatened the quality of the nation's food supply. At the time, hundreds of agricultural scientists responsible for ...

Staphylococcus aureus

10/11/2011
Gram-stained Staphylococcus aureus. (approx. X 1000). taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Acid-fast rods

10/10/2011
Acid-fast rods. (approx X 1000). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Post oil: Electrofuels are an oil-substitute minus the eons

10/10/2011
Over millions of years, natural processes turned the buried remains of dinosaurs, plants, and ancient fish into crude oil. Pamela Silver and her colleagues aim to compress the oil-forming process to nearly instantaneous, with some carbon dioxide, a dash of electricity, and a lot of help from the diminutive star of ...

New Software Models Immune Responses

10/10/2011
Researchers with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech have released an upgrade to the institute's ENteric Immunity SImulator (ENISI) software, which models immune responses to beneficial and harmful bacteria that enter the gastrointestinal tract of mice, pigs, and humans. ENISI allows users to create enteric systems such as the ...

'100 million Indians could be carrying NDM-1'

10/10/2011
Timothy R Walsh , professor at Cardiff University,UK, and co-author of the controversial " superbug" study published last year in British medical journal 'The Lancet', tells Kounteya Sinha that NDM-1 is now a public health catastrophe. How serious is the NDM1 threat for India and globally? When we published our first paper ...

E. coli and its sometimes deadly result Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome (HUS) - What is it?

10/09/2011
What is Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome? Hemolytic uremic syndrome is a severe, life-threatening complication of an E. coli bacterial infection that was first described in 1955, and is now recognized as the most common cause of acute kidney failure in childhood. E. coli O157:H7 is responsible for over 90% of the cases ...

ICAAC: E. Coli O26 Data Point to a "Low-Virulence Pathogen"

10/09/2011
Escherichia coli O26 does not appear to cause severe disease in children, according to an epidemiologic study of a recent outbreak in an Oregon child care center. In all, 60% of 10 infected children and staff were asymptomatic, and none developed illness more serious than diarrhea, investigators reported at the annual ...

Creating Modern Industrial Microbiology

10/09/2011
While fermentation has been important since prehistoric times, it really took off at the beginning of the 20th century when microorganisms were used to make organic acids. By the 1940s, antibiotic production had become the new application and this moved microbes to the forefront of industrial biology. From the 1940s to ...

Early Detection of Plant Disease

10/09/2011
Each year, plant viruses and fungal attacks lead to crop losses of up to 30 percent. That is why it is important to detect plant disease early on. Yet laboratory tests are expensive and often time-consuming. Researchers are now developing a low-cost quick test for use on site. The farmer casts ...

Key Pathway in the Nitrogen Cycle Uncovered: Bacteria Forge Nitrogen from Nitric Oxide

10/09/2011
The anaerobic oxidation of ammonia (anammox) is an important pathway in the nitrogen cycle that was only discovered in the 1980s. Currently, scientists estimate that about 50 percent of the nitrogen in the atmosphere is forged by this process. A group of specialized bacteria perform the anammox reaction, but so ...

Environmental Microbiology Expert Terry Hazen Named Governor’s Chair

10/08/2011
Terry Hazen, an environmental biologist and authority on bioremediation and bioenergy with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been named the tenth University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair. Hazen will serve as the Governor’s Chair for Environmental Biotechnology. He begins on December 1. Hazen will become a faculty member in the ...

Secure lab tightens restrictions after confusion over shipment of deadly pathogens

10/08/2011
Researchers in Winnipeg's National Microbiology lab must now obtain extra approval before they transport lethal pathogens, after a "miscommunication" three years ago left senior officials scrambling to find out why a shipment of Level 4 viruses was sent out of the secure lab. In the summer of 2008, one of Winnipeg's ...

Death toll in listeriosis outbreak now at 21

10/08/2011
A total of 21 people nationwide have now died in the listeriosis outbreak linked to cantaloupes from a Colorado farm, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. In all, 109 people in 23 states have become sick from the outbreak, and that number could continue to climb, the CDC ...

Stained blood smear preparation showing spiral morphology

10/07/2011
Stained blood smear preparation showing spiral morphology. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Century-old Bacteria Unearthed in New York Hospital

10/07/2011
It was 1897. William McKinley took office as President of the United States. A New York Sun editorial told 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon that, yes, there is a Santa Claus. And someone at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City buried a time capsule full of bacteria in the ...

Trichophyton violaceum

10/05/2011
Magnified 475X, this photomicrograph depicts some of the structural morphology of numerous Trichophyton violaceum fungal organisms. This dermatophyte had been grown in a medium of Sabouraud dextrose agar, and of note are the organism’s mycelia, or branching hyphae, i.e., the vegetative portion of the fungus, and ovoid-shaped, thick-walled chlamydospores. What are ...

Listeria Outbreak -- Bacteria Found in Romaine Lettuce: FDA

10/05/2011
After the cantaloupe-associated listeriosis outbreak linked to a Colorado farm that has left 15 people dead and 84 sick across 19 states, it is romaine lettuce now threatening to spread the infection in North America. A random sample of romaine lettuce from True Leaf Farms of California taken by the U.S. ...

Engineers Build Smart Petri Dish: Device Can Be Used for Medical Diagnostics, Imaging Cell Growth Continuously

10/04/2011
The cameras in our cell phones have dramatically changed the way we share the special moments in our lives, making photographs instantly available to friends and family. Now, the imaging sensor chips that form the heart of these built-in cameras are helping engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) ...

An Addiction Vaccine, Tantalizingly Close

10/03/2011
Imagine a vaccine against smoking: People trying to quit would light up a cigarette and feel nothing. Or a vaccine against cocaine, one that would prevent addicts from enjoying the drug’s high. Though neither is imminent, both are on the drawing board, as are vaccines to combat other addictions. While ...

Tissue specimen showing spirochete

10/03/2011
Tissue specimen showing spirochete (Treponema pallidum) (970X). Taken from the Wistriech Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Pee power: Urine-loving bug churns out space fuel

10/03/2011
Scientists on Sunday said they had gained insights into a remarkable bacterium that lives without oxygen and transforms ammonium, the ingredient of urine, into hydrazine, a rocket fuel. So-called anammox -- for anaerobic ammonium oxidation -- germs caused a sensation when they were first identified in the 1990s, but uncovering their ...

Nobel medicine prize honors work on body's defenses

10/03/2011
Three scientists who unlocked secrets of the body's immune system, opening doors to new vaccines and cancer treatments, won the 2011 Nobel prize for medicine Monday. American Bruce Beutler and French biologist Jules Hoffmann, who studied the first stages of immune responses to attack, share the $1.5 million award with Canadian-born ...

ICAAC: HIV Gene Therapy Safe, Well Tolerated

10/03/2011
A gene-based treatment for HIV was safe and well tolerated in two small clinical trials, and there are hints that the method is at least a first step toward a so-called "functional cure," researchers said here. The method involves genetically modifying a patient's CD4-positive T cells -- the target of HIV ...

Medical: Antibiotic resistance is eons in the making

10/02/2011
It appears that germs are naturally craftier at dodging antibiotics than we've thought. Bacteria, recent research suggests, have a lot more experience at making adjustments to hostile environments than just the 80 years or so that humans have been trying to quash them with manufactured medicines. Scientists know that thousands of bacteria ...

Air Shield Keeps Bacteria Out Of Open Wounds

10/02/2011
This spring, Nimbic Systems, based near Houston, Texas, received FDA clearance for their Air Barrier System, a unique medical device for reducing surgical-incision site contamination by infection-causing microorganisms. The Air Barrier System, or ABS, creates a "cocoon" of highly pure air that surrounds a surgical incision site. The cocoon isolates the ...

Bellybutton bacteria

10/02/2011
Fair warning to germaphobes: This story might cause spontaneous itchiness or an immediate desire for hand sanitizer. Still with us? Read on, brave soul. Human skin and hair are the preferred habitat for hordes of bacteria. There could be thousands of species camped right now on your arms and legs, nestled ...

Soil bacterium helps kill cancers

10/02/2011
A bacterium found in soil is a showing promise as a way of delivering cancer drugs into tumours. Spores of the Clostridium sporogenes bacterium can grow within tumours because there is no oxygen. UK and Dutch scientists have been able to genetically engineer an enzyme into the bacteria to activate a cancer ...

Rare flu-like virus on the rise: US

10/01/2011
A rare virus has killed three people and sickened nearly 100 in Japan, the Philippines, the United States and the Netherlands over the past two years, US health authorities said Friday. The culprit is human enterovirus 68 (HEV68), and its respiratory symptoms can be particularly dangerous to children, the US Centers ...

Editorial: Lessons of the Listeria Outbreak

10/01/2011
The deaths caused by listeria bacteria on cantaloupe is a warning that both the food industry and the government need to do more to protect the public. The outbreak has already sickened more than 70 people in 18 states and killed at least 15 of them, mostly elderly, in eight ...

Roads pave the way for the spread of superbugs

09/30/2011
Antibiotic resistant E. coli was much more prevalent in villages situated along roads than in rural villages located away from roads, which suggests that roads play a major role in the spread or containment of antibiotic resistant bacteria, commonly called superbugs, a new study finds. Many studies on various infectious diseases ...

Gram-positive cocci

09/29/2011
Gram-positive cocci showing staphylococcus arrangement (970X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Self-cleaning cotton breaks down pesticides, bacteria

09/29/2011
University of California, Davis scientists have developed a self-cleaning cotton fabric that can kill bacteria and break down toxic chemicals such as pesticide residues when exposed to light. "The new fabric has potential applications in biological and chemical protective clothing for health care, food processing, and farmworkers, as well as military ...

Listeria outbreak in cantaloupes is deadliest in a decade

09/28/2011
Health officials say as many as 16 people have died from possible listeria illnesses traced to Colorado cantaloupes, the deadliest food outbreak in more than a decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that 72 illnesses, including 13 deaths, are linked to the tainted fruit. State and local ...

HIV Antibody Therapy Ibalizumab Inches Forward

09/28/2011
Long-awaited results from a Phase II study of ibalizumab, an antibody-based therapy that has been in early stage development for several years, were reported at the 51st Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) on September 17 in Chicago. Though the results raise more questions than answers about the ...

Scientists Find H1N1 Flu Virus Prevalent in Animals in Africa

09/27/2011
UCLA life scientists and their colleagues have discovered the first evidence of the H1N1 virus in animals in Africa. In one village in northern Cameroon, a staggering 89 percent of the pigs studied had been exposed to the H1N1 virus, commonly known as the swine flu. "I was amazed that virtually ...

New Compound Combats Drug-Resistant Bacteria

09/27/2011
Yale scientists using bits of material from the human immune system have developed a compound that can neutralize or kill several varieties of drug-resistant and other dangerous bacteria. Drug-resistant bacteria are an increasing risk to the health of the world's population. The new compound's ability to kill bacteria in the ...

Colored Bacteria Can Be Used to Send Secret Spy Messages

09/27/2011
Scientists at Tufts University have refined a method that allows people to send messages using fluorescent strains of Escherichia coli. There's enough color combinations to encode the entire alphabet, the numbers to 9 and a few symbols. The procedure, called steganography by printed arrays of microbes (SPAM), starts in the ...

Radishes May Prove to Be Acne’s Worst Nightmare

09/26/2011
Confession: I positively hate acne. While my face only bears the most subtle of scars, in my mind the red pimply warzone that covered it back in high school is still fresh, clear and just begging to be popped. Clearasil. Face washes. Acidic astringents. Creams. Prescription antibiotics. I tried them all ...

South Africa student science team 'tweets' bacteria

09/26/2011
Social networking sites Facebook and Twitter have inspired five students at the University of the Witwatersrand to take on the world with "tweeting" bacteria that could help fight cancer. The team will compete with its concept, Bio-Tweet, against 180 teams from around the world at the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. The ...

ICAAC: Whooping Cough Vaccine May Lose Power

09/25/2011
Vaccine protection against pertussis may wane sharply for children more than three years after their last booster, potentially leaving some middle-schoolers at risk for the disease, a researcher reported here. Analysis of cases in California's Marin County during last year's whooping cough outbreak found the highest rate of disease among vaccinated ...

ICAAC: Antibody HIV Therapy Has Mixed Results

09/25/2011
An antibody approach to HIV treatment was safe and well tolerated, but reduced viral loads in less than half of treatment-experienced patients, a researcher said here. The compound, dubbed ibalizumab, is a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to CD4-positive T cells and blocks the entry of HIV, according to Stanley Lewis, ...

Bionic Bacteria May be Big Help

09/24/2011
A strain of genetically enhanced bacteria developed by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may pave the way for new synthetic drugs and new ways of manufacturing medicines and biofuels, according to a paper published September 18 in Nature Chemical Biology. For the first time, the scientists were able ...

Mozart Motivates Sewage Microbes, Engineer Says

09/24/2011
The owners of a German sewage treatment plant called on scientists to investigate Wednesday after they claimed playing Mozart motivates the plant's microbes and makes them more productive. Roland Meinusch, manager of the plant in Treuenbrietzen, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) southeast of Berlin, said by playing Mozart's Magic Flute on ...

Traveling exhibit about microbes on display at Gray Fossil Site

09/24/2011
A traveling exhibition about microbes is on display at the Gray Fossil Site. “Microbes: Invisible Invaders ... Amazing Allies” will be exhibited at the East Tennessee State University and General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Visitor Center through May 6.

Stream Water Specimen

09/23/2011
Under a relatively low magnification of 121X, this digitally-colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of an untreated water specimen extracted from a wild stream mainly used to control flooding during inclement weather, revealed the presence of unidentified organisms, which included bacteria, protozoa, and algae. In this particular view, numbers of what ...

Newly Identified Antibodies May Improve Pneumonia Vaccine Design

09/23/2011
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered how a novel type of antibody works against pneumococcal bacteria. The findings, which could improve vaccines against pneumonia, appear in the September/October issue of mBio, the online journal of the American Society for Microbiology. Until recently, scientists thought that ...

Close Up Look at a Microbial Vaccination Program

09/23/2011
A complex of proteins in the bacterium E.coli that plays a critical role in defending the microbe from viruses and other invaders has been discovered to have the shape of a seahorse by researchers with the U.S Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). This discovery holds far ...

Clostridium difficile

09/22/2011
This is an image of Clostridium difficile colonies grown on cycloserine mannitol agar after 48 hours. C. difficile, an anaerobic gram-positive rod, is the most frequently identified cause of Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea (AAC). It accounts for approximately 15-25% of all episodes of AAC. Thanks to the CDC's PHIL for this image.

Bionic Bacteria May Help Make New Drugs, Biofuels: Artificially Enhanced Bacteria Capable of Producing New Kinds of Synthetic Chemicals

09/22/2011
A strain of genetically enhanced bacteria developed by researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may pave the way for new synthetic drugs and new ways of manufacturing medicines and biofuels, according to a paper published September 18 in Nature Chemical Biology. For the first time, the scientists were able ...

Waste Water + Bacteria = Clean Energy

09/21/2011
For the first time, researchers have sustainably produced hydrogen gas, a potential source of clean energy, using only water and bacteria. The challenge now, scientists say, is to scale up the process to provide large amounts of hydrogen for various purposes, such as fueling vehicles or small generators. Hydrogen may be ...

Emerging Issues in Infectious Disease

09/21/2011
Participants discuss various emerging issues in the field of infectious disease including drug-resistant malaria; epidemiology and management of cholera in Haiti and other topics. Guests: Arjen Dondorp, MD, PhD, Mahidol-Oxford, Res. Unit, Bangkok, Thailand Scott Dowell, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

ICAAC Live with Vincent Racaniello of This Week in Microbiology

09/21/2011
Watch a live streamed scientific session at ICAAC hosted by Vincent Racaniello and co-host Michael Schmidt. Audience participation was encouraged so many questions came from MicrobeWorld readers. Guests: Stuart B. Levy, MD,Professor, Tufts Univ. School of Medicine/CSO, Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Tufts Univ. Sch. of Med., Boston, MA. ...

Hot Topics in Pediatric Infectious Disease: The Return of Whooping Cough

09/21/2011
Despite high infant immunization rates, pertussis infection rates are increasing in many countries and pertussis outbreaks have occurred. Recent control strategies for pertussis have focused on immunizing adolescents and adults with pertussis booster vaccines in an effort to provide herd immunity. Participants will discuss these strategies as well as latebreaking ...

Limitless hydrogen from microbes

09/20/2011
US researchers say they have demonstrated how cells fuelled by bacteria can be "self-powered" and produce a limitless supply of hydrogen. Until now, they explained, an external source of electricity was required in order to power the process. However, the team added, the current cost of operating the new technology is too ...

Computer gamers solve problem in AIDS research that puzzled scientists for years

09/19/2011
When scientists struggle with a problem for over a decade, few of them think, “I know! I’ll ask computer gamers to help.” That, however, exactly what Firas Khatib from the University of Washington did. The result: he and his legion of gaming co-authors have cracked a longstanding problem in AIDS ...

ICAAC: PPIs May be Tied to C. diff Diarrhea

09/19/2011
Hospitalized patients on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have an increased risk of diarrhea associated with Clostridium difficile (CDAD), Japanese researchers reported. In a prospective cohort study of nearly 800 patients, those on the stomach acid-lowering medications were more than three times as likely to develop CDAD than those who were not ...

Drug-resistant bacteria top agenda of medical convention

09/19/2011
The emergence of bacteria resistant to antibiotics and efforts by scientists trying to cope with the problem top the agenda at a medical convention under way here this weekend. "The emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria worldwide is clearly the hot topic because one can observe bacteria becoming more resistant everywhere," and more ...

The Rise and Control of Gram-Negative Resistance #ICAAC (Video)

09/18/2011
The launch of new antibiotics in the 1980s led many in the scientific field to believe that fight against bacteria had been won. Since then, at least one group of bacteria known as Gram-negatives (which includes pathogens responsible for hospital-acquired pneumonia and bloodstream infections as well as E. coli and ...

Glowing bandages 'could show infections'

09/18/2011
Scientists are developing a “glowing bandage to treat infection”, The Guardian has today reported. The news is based on a new technique devised by researchers at the University of Sheffield, who are currently developing visual methods for quickly identifying the presence of bacteria that could infect a wound. Their technique involves ...

Flesh-eating bacteria's rise tied to antibiotic cream

09/16/2011
After getting a cut, many Americans will reach for a tube of over-the-counter antibiotic cream to ward off infection. But that widespread habit, a new paper suggests, may be contributing to the rise of one of the most concerning strains of drug-resistant bacteria. Japanese researchers looked at 261 samples of ...

Cantaloupe warning issued after Listeria outbreak

09/14/2011
Health officials have issued a warning for cantaloupes from a revered melon-producing area of the U.S. state of Colorado amid a bacteria outbreak blamed for four deaths in the state and New Mexico, troubling farmers who depend on sales of the fruit. The warning from the Centers for Disease Control and ...

Gram-positive cocci

09/13/2011
Gram-positive cocci showing various morphological arrangements including diplococcus and tetrads. (approx. X970). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

An Immune System Trained to Kill Cancer

09/13/2011
A year ago, when chemotherapy stopped working against his leukemia, William Ludwig signed up to be the first patient treated in a bold experiment at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Ludwig, then 65, a retired corrections officer from Bridgeton, N.J., felt his life draining away and thought he had nothing ...

Gram-positive Listeria monocytogenes

09/12/2011
Microscopic view of gram-positive Listeria monocytogenes (rods) (approx. original X 1,000). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Listeria outbreak probe expands to three states

09/12/2011
An investigation into a listeria outbreak that has killed at least one person has expanded to include three states where possibly tainted cantaloupe was consumed, Colorado health officials said on Friday. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a release that of the nine confirmed cases of the ...

More ground turkey is recalled over salmonella

09/12/2011
The Minnesota food company that recalled 36 million pounds of ground turkey last month linked to a salmonella outbreak is pulling an additional 185,000 pounds of turkey for the same reason. The voluntary recall, announced Sunday by Cargill Inc., comes in the wake of one of the largest meat recalls in ...

Mote Marine research looks to bacteria to save coral reefs

09/11/2011
Scientists cannot stop climate change to save the world's coral reefs, but they might be able to make reefs more resilient to it. Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota is at the forefront of research aimed at figuring out what makes some corals better at fending off disease when temperatures rise. The ...

Chinese Researchers Identify Insect Host Species of a Famous Tibetan Medicinal Fungus

09/11/2011
A team of researchers from the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Xiao-Liang Wang and Yi-Jian Yao), summarized all the available information on the insect species associated with the Tibetan medicinal fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis through an extensive literature survey and analyzed their relationships with the fungus. The study was published ...

Superbug Antibiotic Resistance Caused By Specific Genome Change

09/11/2011
A Research team led by scientists from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) published a paper in the Sept. 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, showing that Antibiotic resistance of a superbug called vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) is being caused by a specific change ...

Influenza vaccine nasal spray more effective in young children

09/11/2011
Both live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) nasal spray and trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) shots protect children aged 6 months to 3 years from influenza and produced similar levels of antibodies, but a recent study found that only the nasal spray induces production of 3 T-cell subtypes that may confer ...

A Remnant From Algae In Malaria Parasite May Prove Its Weakness

09/11/2011
Scientists may have found a critical weakness in Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria. Researchers say the discovery provides a promising target for new malaria therapies. The weakness is related to a structure inside malaria cells called an apicoplast. About a decade ago, molecular biologist Joseph DeRisi of the University ...

Rescue Therapy for Neurological Complications of E coli

09/10/2011
Depleting immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies through immunoadsorption ameliorated neurological complications in 10 of 12 patients with Escherichia coli O104:H4–associated hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a new study suggests. In May 2011, northern Germany experienced an outbreak of Shiga toxin–producing enterohemorrhagic E coli O104:H4 infections. Many of the infected patients developed postenteritis HUS ...

Microbes Travel Through the Air: But How, and Where?

09/10/2011
Preliminary research on Fusarium, a group of fungi that includes devastating pathogens of plants and animals, shows how these microbes travel through the air. Researchers now believe that with improvements on this preliminary research, there will be a better understanding about crop security, disease spread, and climate change. Engineers and biologists ...

A Little Dirt May Be a Good Thing

09/09/2011
Good hygiene has saved millions of lives, protecting people from countless bacterial and viral infections, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But there is growing concern that strict adherence to good hygiene, though a valuable means of protecting health, has left humans open to other forms of ...

Glowing Bacteria Shed Light on Workings of Biological Clocks

09/07/2011
Scientists have long known that animals and plants are governed by a circadian rhythm—a roughly 24-hour cycle guiding biological processes that is linked to alternating periods of light and dark. We know, for instance, that our bodies are entrained, or synchronized, by sunlight. Our cells would drift out of phase ...

Gut instinct

09/07/2011
A good way to make yourself unpopular at dinner parties is to point out that a typical person is, from a microbiologist’s perspective, a walking, talking Petri dish. An extraordinary profusion of microscopic critters inhabit every crack and crevice of the typical human, so many that they probably outnumber the ...

B. subtilis spores

09/06/2011
Simple crystal violet stained preparation mainly consisting of B. subtilis spores with a few scattered rods. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Tick-borne parasite infecting blood supply: CDC

09/06/2011
A tick-borne infection known as Babesiosis, which can cause severe disease and even death, is becoming a growing threat to the U.S. blood supply, government researchers said on Monday. There are currently no diagnostic tests approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that can detect the infection before people donate ...

Sporulation May Have Given Rise to the Bacterial Outer Membrane

09/06/2011
Bacteria can generally be divided into two classes: those with just one membrane and those with two. Now researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have used a powerful imaging technique to find what they believe may be the missing link between the two classes, as well as a ...

HPV vaccination rates low nationwide

09/06/2011
Because most cervical cancer cases and some less common malignancies are caused by human papillomavirus, or HPV, area physicians and public health experts were thrilled when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2006 approved the first vaccine to prevent HPV. But five years later, local pediatricians and family physicians say ...

Soil Bacteria Help Kill Cancer Tumors

09/05/2011
A strain of harmless bacteria that live in soil could soon be helping to kill cancer tumors, thanks to researchers from the University of Nottingham in the UK and the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands who are presenting their work at a conference in York, England, this week. They ...

Promising New TB Vaccine Effective In Mice

09/05/2011
A new candidate vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) was shown to be effective and safe in animal studies. Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in New York report in the 4 September online issue of Nature Medicine how they developed and tested the vaccine in mice. They ...

Protein Necessary for Bacteria to Produce Ulcers

09/04/2011
When it comes to the ability of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori to effectively colonize the stomach and eventually cause ulcers it all comes down to a single protein. H. pylori strains infect half of all humans worldwide and contribute to the development of peptic ulcers and gastric cancer. They cannot survive ...

Antibiotic use has grown along with obesity. Coincidence?

09/04/2011
We’ve all heard that the overuse of antibiotics is making them less effective and fueling the rise of dangerous drug-resistant bacteria. But did you know it may also be fueling the rise of obesity, diabetes, allergies and asthma? So says Dr. Martin Blaser, microbiologist and infectious disease specialist at New York ...

What We Eat Shapes Microbe Societies Inside Us

09/04/2011
Deep inside your intestines, there's a complex microbial ecosystem, which scientists say contains nearly a thousand species of bacteria. A lot of recent research has shown that the community of gut microbes acts almost like another organ in your body — they're that crucial. They exert a pronounced effect on the ...

Glowing, Blinking Bacteria Reveal How Cells Synchronize Biological Clocks

09/04/2011
Biologists have long known that organisms from bacteria to humans use the 24 hour cycle of light and darkness to set their biological clocks. But exactly how these clocks are synchronized at the molecular level to perform the interactions within a population of cells that depend on the precise timing ...

Brain eating amoebas are scary, but water has more common bugs

09/04/2011
The death of Courtney Nash -- the 16-year-old who succumbed to a deadly brain infection last week after going for a dip in a Floridariver -- marks the third case this summer of death after exposure to the waterborne amoeba Naegleria fowleri. Earlier in the season, according to news ...

Military Medicine's Long War Against Malaria

09/04/2011
Army Maj. Jittawadee Murphy peers into a paper bucket full of freshly hatched Anopheles stephanii mosquitoes. She needs to separate out the females — the only ones that bite — so they can be infected with malaria. It turns out that sexing mosquitoes is easy. "We kind of trick them," says Murphy, ...

Will the Bugs Win?

09/04/2011
In this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC scientists reported that inappropriate use of antibiotic drugs in children has decreased since the early 1990s. But prescribing of antibiotics for conditions such as colds and otitis media remains too high worldwide, and the CDC report concluded by saying, "Inappropriate antibiotic ...

Portable Microscope Detects Bacteria Using Holograms

09/03/2011
Engineers at UCLA have developed an inexpensive, portable, lensless microscope. This microscope may find its use in improving health care and sanitation in areas where sophisticated equipment is unavailable or unusable. The details of the microscope were published in the open-source journal Biomedical Optics Express. BBC News reports that the microscope ...

In dark ocean depths, 'twilight bacteria' at work

09/03/2011
In the dark depths of the ocean, mysterious organisms have been converting carbon dioxide into a form useful for life. Now scientists have identified some suspects: "twilight" microbes from 2,625 feet below the ocean surface that are turning inorganic carbon into useable food. The job of capturing carbon, crucial to sustaining ...

Researchers Find Antibiotic Resistance in Ancient DNA

09/02/2011
An analysis of 30,000-year-old bacteria whose DNA has been recovered from the Yukon permafrost shows that they were able to resist antibiotics. Antibiotics, before they became used as drugs, were natural products. The new finding is the first direct evidence that antibiotic resistance is a widespread natural phenomenon that preceded ...

Simple safranin stain of B. subtilis

08/31/2011
Simple safranin stain of B. subtilis and central location of unstained spores. (Approx. original X 1000). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Bird flu deaths in Asia prompt call for scrutiny

08/30/2011
Virologists warned on Tuesday that there was no vaccine against a mutant strain of H5N1 bird flu now spreading in China and Vietnam and called for closer monitoring of the disease in poultry and wild birds to stop it spreading to people. The call came after the U.N. Food and Agriculture ...

Scientists sequence Black Death bacteria DNA, admit they were wrong

08/30/2011
The bacteria behind the Black Death has a very unusual history. Its ancestor is an unassuming soil bacterium and the current strains of Yersinia pestis still infects thousands of people annually, but no longer cause the suite of horrifying symptoms associated with the medieval plagues. The radical differences between the ...

Can life evolve from a different chemical code?

08/29/2011
All life on Earth relies on a standard set of 20 molecules called amino acids to build the proteins that carry out life's essential actions. But did it have to be this way? All living creatures on this planet use the same 20 amino acids, even though there are hundreds available ...

Newspapers to Fuel Cars

08/29/2011
Yesterday's news could be tomorrow's fuel. Tulane University scientists discovered a strain of clostridia bacteria, dubbed "TU-103," that can devour old newspapers to produce butanol, a substitute for gasoline. Old editions of the Times Picayune, New Orleans' daily newspaper, have been successfully used by the researchers to produce butanol from the cellulose ...

Neanderthal sex boosted immunity in modern humans

08/28/2011
Sexual relations between ancient humans and their evolutionary cousins are critical for our modern immune systems, researchers report in Science journal. Mating with Neanderthals and another ancient group called Denisovans introduced genes that help us cope with viruses to this day, they conclude. Previous research had indicated that prehistoric interbreeding led to ...

Vaccine Cleared Again as Autism Culprit

08/28/2011
Yet another panel of scientists has found no evidence that a popular vaccine causes autism. But despite the scientists’ best efforts, their report is unlikely to have any impact on the frustrating debate about the safety of these crucial medicines. “The M.M.R. vaccine doesn’t cause autism, and the evidence is overwhelming ...

1918 influenza virions

08/27/2011
This negative stained transmission electron micrograph (TEM) shows recreated 1918 influenza virions that were collected from supernatants of 1918-infected Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells cultures 18 hours after infection. To separate these virions, the MDCK cells are spun down (centrifugation), and the 1918 virus in the fluid is immediately fixed for ...

Could New Drug Cure Nearly Any Viral Infection? Technology Shows Promise Against Common Cold, Influenza and Other Ailments, Researchers Say

08/27/2011
Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, discovered decades ago. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections, including influenza, the common cold, and deadly hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola. Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at ...

Bending the Rules on Bacteria

08/27/2011
Peppered as we are by government warnings about the potential health hazards of eating and drinking just about everything, it was refreshing (and perplexing) to see a widely respected food writer assert recently that “people are unnecessarily afraid of bacteria” in the kitchen. In April, Michael Ruhlman, author of “Ratio” ...

Antibiotics: Killing Off Beneficial Bacteria… For Good?

08/26/2011
It’s an accepted concept by now that taking antibiotics in order to quell an infection disrupts the personal microbiome, the population of microorganisms that we all carry around in our guts, and which vastly outnumbers the cells that make up our bodies. That recognition supports our understanding of Clostridium difficile ...

Bacillus species

08/25/2011
Simple stained preparation of Bacillus species showing chains of rods and spores. (approx. X 970). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Bacteria stops dengue in tracks

08/25/2011
Australian scientists say they have discovered a cheap and effective method of preventing the transmission of dengue fever. They infected mosquitoes that spread the disease with bacteria that block transmission of the dengue virus. When the resistant insects were released, they successfully interbred with wild mosquitoes and halted their ability to transmit ...

New Factor in HIV Infection Uncovered

08/25/2011
A George Mason University researcher team has revealed the specific process by which the HIV virus infects healthy T cells -- a process previously unknown. The principal investigator, HIV researcher Yuntao Wu, says he hopes this breakthrough will start a new line on inquiry into how researchers can use this ...

Coriander appears to have bacteria fighting capability

08/25/2011
Coriander oil is capable of killing many strains of bacteria in laboratory tests, researchers have found. Coriander, also called cilantro, is an aromatic plant used in cooking. For centuries, oil produced from the seeds has been tied to health benefits, including pain relief, ease of cramps, nausea fighter, aid for digestion ...

Bacillus species

08/24/2011
Simple stained preparation of Bacillus species showing rods and spores. (approx. X 970). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Wind Carried Microbes Across Vast Distances

08/24/2011
The incredible distances that microorganisms may be able to blow between continents has been investigated by researchers from the UK and Switzerland, raising questions about their potential to colonize new land and the possibility of spreading disease. The results were published this month in the Journal of Biogeography by scientists from ...

Lager's mystery ingredient found

08/24/2011
Lager beers got their start in Bavaria, but it was a little South American spice that really kicked things off. Scientists have known for decades that a hybrid species of yeast, Saccharomyces pastorianus, is the microbe that ferments lagers. It’s also well known that one parent of S. pastorianus is the ...

Racial discrimination in science: A black and white answer

08/23/2011
You might expect that science, particularly American science, would be colour-blind. Though fewer people from some of the country’s ethnic minorities are scientists than the proportions of those minorities in the population suggest should be the case, once someone has got bench space in a laboratory, he might reasonably expect ...

Opinion: Reducing Foodborne Illness

08/23/2011
As evidenced by the E. coli outbreak in Europe earlier this year, which claimed dozens of lives and sickened thousands more, bacterial contamination of foods remains a significant problem. This outbreak clearly demonstrated that, despite recent improvements in technologies to detect and trace foodborne outbreaks, it will take continual advances ...

The Long Strange Journey Of Earth’s Traveling Microbes

08/22/2011
Consider the African rain dance. People in tribal costumes stamping the ground to make rain — it’s nonsense, you might say. Except that we now know it could actually work. If you have enough dancers, there may be no better way to make rain, because bugs in the soil and ...

Sulphur-loving microbes might be oldest life

08/22/2011
A microbial bacterial fossil find is being hailed as proof that life existed in the oxygen-free environment of Earth, 3.4 billion years ago. The Strelley Pool Formation in Western Australia was once a beach, but is now more than 100 Km inland near(ish) the town of Marble Bar, and is popular ...

The salmonella outbreak of 2008, deconstructed

08/21/2011
During the salmonella outbreak of 2008 and 2009 nine people died, 166 were hospitalized and more than 700 fell ill. Authorities ultimately traced the contamination of Salmonella Typhimurium back to a particular company producing peanut products. A study released today in the New England Journal of Medicine details that investigation, ...

CDC seeks to sample Virginia waters for deadly amoeba

08/21/2011
Federal authorities are asking for samples of Virginia waterways in an attempt to develop a test for detecting deadly microscopic amoeba. Health officials say two children and a young man nationwide have died this summer from a fatal infection known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis stemming from a brain-eating amoeba that lives ...

Researchers On the Trail of a Treatment for Cancer of the Immune System

08/21/2011
Danish researchers from the University of Copenhagen have become the first in the world to regulate a special receptor or bio-antenna that plays a vital part when the Epstein Barr herpes virus infects us and when this infection appears to be mutating into cancer of the immune system. Using a ...

CDC: Don't skip this year's flu shot

08/21/2011
The 2011-12 flu vaccine protects against seasonal flu and H1N1, just like last year's, but that doesn't mean it's OK to skip your yearly flu shot, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn. "All people aged 6 months and older should be vaccinated," said Dr. Carolyn Bridges, ...

Mosquito resistance to bednets fuels malaria worries

08/20/2011
Mosquitoes can quickly develop resistance to insecticide-treated nets, a study from Senegal shows, raising fears that a leading method of preventing the disease may be less effective than previously thought. Researchers who studied malaria infections in a village in the West African country found that growing resistance to a common type ...

Bacteria from Dog Feces Present in Outdoor Air in Urban Areas

08/20/2011
Bacteria from fecal material -- in particular, dog fecal material -- may constitute the dominant source of airborne bacteria in Cleveland's and Detroit's wintertime air, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study. The CU-Boulder study showed that of the four Midwestern cities in the experiment, two cities had significant quantities ...

Scientists find key to what makes salmonella harmful

08/20/2011
In the constant arms race between humans and harmful bacteria, researchers have homed in on how salmonella makes people sick. According to an update Thursday on the Centers for Disease Control's website, 111 people across 31 states have been sickened by an antibiotic-resistant strain of salmonella found in ground turkey. The key ...

two human cheek cells with surfaces covered by various shaped bacteria

08/19/2011
Simple stain - two human cheek cells with surfaces covered by various shaped bacteria . (approx. X 100). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Contagious Cancer, Beyond the Devils

08/19/2011
Few health issues strike a deeper chord of fear than that of cancer--your own body's tissues being hijacked, turning against you and taking over. An estimated 1,596,670 new cancer cases (not including some types of skin cancer, which are not reported to the same registries as other cancers) will be ...

Germ from Human Feces Makes Deadly Leap to Coral

08/18/2011
A strange new menace has joined the long list of threats to corals, the tiny reef-building animals that create important habitat in our oceans. A bacterium that attacks humans is also killing off a species of coral in the Caribbean, elkhorn coral, according to researchers who proved the link by ...

William A. Gahl, NIH medical sleuth, tackles mysterious maladies

08/18/2011
Imagine a job that demands vigorous detective work seven days a week and most holidays but comes up empty three-quarters of the time. A job that’s infinitely engaging but deals with people who are desperate and in chronic pain. Most will not get better. This is the world inhabited by William ...

Swarm of paramecia

08/18/2011
Swarm of paramecia surrounding an unidentified protozoan. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

‘Brain-eating amoeba’ claims second victim this month

08/17/2011
A parasite known as the "brain-eating amoeba" has claimed its second young American victim this month. Christian Strickland, a 9-year-old from Henrico County in Virginia contracted an infection after visiting a fishing camp in his state. He died of meningitis on August 5. This week, health department officials confirmed that the deadly ...

Microbiologist discovers new super-preservative

08/17/2011
Dr. Dan O'Sullivan, a microbiologist working at the University of Minnesota claims to have found the bacteria killing properties of bisin, while doing basic research on bacteria that live in the intestine. Chemically related to nisin, a preservative already used in cheese, bisin apparently kills E. coli, salmonella and listeria so ...

Cheek cell with bacteria

08/16/2011
Simple stain- single human cheek cell with bacteria covering its surface (approx. X 100). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively in MicrobeWorld.

Poultry Farms That Stop Antibiotics See Resistance Fall (podcast)

08/16/2011
Conventional poultry farms use antibiotics extensively, which contributes to the rise of antibiotic-resistant pathogens. But farms that turn to organic practices, including a ban on antibiotics, can greatly reduce antibiotic-resistant bacteria within only the first year of the change. That’s according to a new study in the journal Environmental Health ...

Israel Sewage-Eating Bacteria Lure GE Cash to Save Energy

08/16/2011
Israel's water industry is attracting funds from General Electric Co. and ConocoPhillips as the country develops energy-saving technology to treat sewage, part of a $5 billion program to clean up water supplies by 2016. Emefcy Ltd., building a fuel cell that uses bacteria to break down waste in water, has raised ...

Bacteria Kamikazes

08/16/2011
Researchers have constructed a new synthetic bacterium that detects Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common microbe and a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections, and explodes, releasing antimicrobials that kill the invaders. The results, published today (August 16) in Molecular Systems Biology, suggest that the engineered bacteria might eventually be used to prevent ...
08/15/2011
4 BILLION years before present: the surface of a newly formed planet around a medium-sized star is beginning to cool down. It's a violent place, bombarded by meteorites and riven by volcanic eruptions, with an atmosphere full of toxic gases. But almost as soon as water begins to form pools ...

Yeast cells (Saccharomyces) and bacterial rods (Bacillus subtilis)

08/15/2011
Unstained, temporary wet mount showing size relationship between yeast cells (Saccharomyces) and bacterial rods (Bacillus subtilis). (approx. X 100). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Workshop Announced on Next-Generation Smallpox Vaccines

08/15/2011
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will host a public workshop Sept. 16 about the development and evaluation of next-generation smallpox vaccines. It will take place at the Hilton Washington DC North/Gaithersburg in Gaithersburg, Md., ...

Baker's yeast prevents deadly infections: Study

08/15/2011
Yeast may be good for more than just baking. Researchers have found baker's yeast protects against deadly fungal infections, in a new study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology. After injecting mice with the yeast, researchers found it prevents aspergillosis -- a leading fungal killer among people with weak immune systems ...

Where the Sun Don't Shine, Mussels Munch on Hydrogen

08/14/2011
Deep-sea mussels use on-board bacterial "fuel cells" to harness energy from hydrogen spewing out of hydrothermal vents, according to research indicating that the use of this alternative fuel may be widespread in the communities at these vents. This is the first identified deep-sea organism to use hydrogen as fuel. Hydrothermal vents ...

The Ultimate Symbiosis: Mealybugs have bacteria living inside their bacteria

08/14/2011
Lots of organisms rely on symbiotic relationships, in which two species rely on each other for survival and one lives inside the other. But citrus mealybugs enjoy a triply symbiotic relationship unlike any we've ever seen...with one absolutely crucial exception. Microbiologist John McCutcheon of the University of Montana and biologist Carol ...

U.S. researchers test new candidate vaccine against chikungunya virus

08/14/2011
U.S. researchers have developed a new candidate vaccine to counter the chikungunya virus, a mosquito-borne pathogen that produces an intensely painful and often chronic arthritic disease that has stricken millions of people in India, Southeast Asia and Africa. A single dose of the experimental vaccine protected lab mice from infection with ...

Tattoos Linked to Hard-to-Treat Bacterial Infection

08/13/2011
A rare but difficult-to-treat bacterial infection that usually strikes people with impaired immune systems is showing up for the first time in healthy individuals getting tattoos, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday. Two cases of skin infections caused by this bacterium, called Mycobacterium haemophilum, have occurred in individuals ...

Hacked Fat-Burning Cycle Makes Bacteria Pump Biofuel

08/13/2011
The majority of plant matter we have available to produce biofuels comes in the form of cellulose, a long polymer of sugars. It’s easiest to convert this material to ethanol, but that creates its own problems: Ethanol is less energy dense than petroleum-based fuels, and most vehicles on the road ...

Cholera Outbreaks Spread Across Somalia, U.N. Says

08/13/2011
A cholera epidemic is sweeping across Somalia, the United Nations said on Friday, as thousands of starving people flee famine zones and pack into crowded camps in the capital, Mogadishu. According to the United Nations World Health Organization, 181 people have died from suspected cholera cases in a single hospital ...

Engineers Reverse E. Coli Metabolism for Quick Production of Fuels, Chemicals

08/11/2011
In a biotechnological tour de force, Rice University engineering researchers this week unveiled a new method for rapidly converting simple glucose into biofuels and petrochemical substitutes. In a paper published online in Nature, Rice's team described how it reversed one of the most efficient of all metabolic pathways -- the ...

Yeast Get By on Almost No Oxygen

08/10/2011
Thin air is no problem for the hardy yeast. Researchers have found that the tiny, oxygen-dependent fungi can churn out some of their most basic building blocks using only trace amounts of the gas. The finding may hint at how organisms living billions of years ago eked out an existence ...

Euglena species

08/09/2011
Microscopic view of a swarm of Euglena species. (approx. X 100). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Spermless mosquitoes hold promise to stop malaria

08/09/2011
Scientists have created spermless mosquitoes in an effort to curb the spread of malaria. Experts say that this is an important first step toward releasing sterile males into the wild to reduce the size of mosquito populations. Malaria kills around one million people worldwide every year, and in Africa alone, accounts for ...

Spirogyra and Oscillatoria

08/08/2011
A microscopic view of Spirogyra (eukaryote) and Oscillatoria (prokaryote). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Geobacter Nanowires Can Be Tuned To Act As Transistors

08/08/2011
Meet the world's oldest electrician. A bacterium called Geobacter sulfurreducens transmits electricity through filaments known as bacterial nanowires as efficiently as manmade nanostructures, and can be made to act as transistors, according to a new paper published online today in Nature Nanotechnology. The conductivity can also be "tuned" by regulating gene ...

FluView: 2010-2011 Influenza Season Week 30 ending July 30, 2011

08/08/2011
The CDC's weekly FluView report highlights U.S. Virologic Surveillance for influenza.

Seasonal Flu: International Situation Update

08/08/2011
The following summary of key influenza-related updates is based upon regional World Health Organization (WHO) reports, country reports, CDC field staff updates and other sources. Updates are listed by region. Reporting weeks may vary by country.

New idea could disable bug that causes ulcers, cancer

08/07/2011
If you were the size of a bacterium, the lining of a stomach would seem like a rugged, hilly landscape filled with acid-spewing geysers, said Manuel Amieva, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics and of microbiology and immunology. Stomach-dwelling bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, the cause of ulcers and some gastric ...

Medical community confronts vaccine fears

08/07/2011
No matter how many times the medical community reassures parents that vaccines are safe and necessary to prevent life-threatening diseases, some people remain unconvinced. "I believe that herd immunity is a complete myth," says J.B. Handley, co-founder of an autism advocacy organization called Generation Rescue that is critical of the way ...

Scientists a step closer to Hepatitis C vaccine

08/07/2011
European scientists say they have successfully tested in animals a vaccine for hepatitis C, a contagious and debilitating virus that can cause liver failure and cancer. Currently, there is no human vaccine for hepatitis C (HCV), which is spread through contaminated blood and kills some 350,000 people worldwide each year, according ...

Did Past Climate Change Encourage Tree-Killing Fungi?

08/06/2011
The demise of the world's forests some 250 million years ago likely was accelerated by aggressive tree-killing fungi triggered by global climate change, according to a new study by a University of California, Berkeley, scientist and her Dutch and British colleagues. The researchers do not rule out the possibility that today's ...

New edition of Manual of Clinical Microbiology offers digital access

08/06/2011
ASM Press announces the availability of the newest edition of its authoritative reference for clinical laboratory professionals. The Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th edition, is available in both print and, for the first time, a digital edition. "The 10th edition of the Manual of Clinical Microbiology marks a significant milestone in ...

Bacteria binged on BP oil but didn't grow

08/06/2011
When the Deepwater Horizon accident spewed millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico last year, surface bacteria launched into a feeding frenzy, a new study finds. But microbes that gobbled up the surface oil did so without increasing their numbers or gaining weight. Waters in much of the ...

'Blood lake' a product of drought

08/05/2011
A Texas reservoir has turned a deep red, prompting a pastor to speculate it's a sign of the coming Apocalypse. But the Texas Department of Fish and Wildlife says it's just an indication of how bad the current drought is. About 99% of Texas is under drought conditions, according to the ...

Spirogyra filament

08/05/2011
A clear view of a Spirogyra filament showing the spiral chloroplast. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire discovers new strain of bacteria

08/05/2011
The chart looked unusual to Mayo Health Systems lab technician Carol Werner, who had just run a routine test for bacterium at the Eau Claire laboratory. “There was an unexpected ‘peak,’” she said. “The peak was in an unusual spot – and it piqued my curiosity.” Werner’s observation back in 2009 led ...

Spirogyra filaments

08/03/2011
Microscopic view of a large numbers of Spirogyra filaments. (approx 100X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively in MicrobeWorld.

First Death In Mysterious Salmonella Outbreak Tied To Ground Turkey

08/03/2011
Seventy-seven people have gotten sick and one has died in a salmonella outbreak that's appears to be caused by tainted ground turkey, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. And the bacterial strain investigators are closing in on — Salmonella Heidelberg — is potentially quite bad because it's resistant to ...

Bacteria down the drain to unclog pipes

08/02/2011
As the kids at the Academy to Success wash their juice-stained hands, they sing. “Wash, wash, wash your hands, wash them every day,” goes the first verse. “Scrub the front and scrub the back.” Then the big finish. The 4-year-old germ-o-phobs shout: "Wash the germs away!" The U.S.A. is obsessed with killing bacteria ...

Spirogyra filament

08/01/2011
Microscopic view of the green algae Spirogyra filament and a number of primitive worms known as rotifers. (approx. 100X). Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Beer-barrel bacteria breathe toxic brew

08/01/2011
University of New South Wales researchers have shown that they can safely destroy hazardous industrial toxins in groundwater arising from PVC plastic production by injecting naturally occurring bacteria into a contaminated Sydney aquifer – an Australian first that raises hope of cleaning up this and similarly polluted sites around the ...

Rapid, cheap HIV test finds success as first of its kind tested in the field

08/01/2011
The first field trial for a “lab on a chip” accurately detected both HIV and syphilis among a Rwandan population, researchers reported Sunday. Blood samples injected into the clear plastic, credit card-shaped device produced results within 20 minutes. This kind of test could offer a faster, cheaper and easier way to ...

Oral Interferon May Prevent and Control Avian Influenza Virus Infection

08/01/2011
Avian influenza virus is a threat to the commercial chicken industry and, with its recent rapid spread across China, has also shown the ability for transmission from chickens to humans and other mammals. In an article in Journal of Interferon & Cytokine Research, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann ...
08/01/2011
FIFTEEN years before the doctor said to him: “Go home and get your affairs in order because there is nothing further we can do for you”, John was already aware that a problem existed. Blood had started showing up, infrequently and in small amounts in his stools. “I’d kept this information ...

Triple-Drug Regimen Preferable for Treating H. Pylori

08/01/2011
he standard 14-day triple-drug regimen is more effective for treating Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection in Latin America than newer four-drug regimens, according to a study published online July 20 in The Lancet. E. Robert Greenberg, M.D., of the Southwest Oncology Group Statistical Center -- Cancer Research and Biostatistics in Seattle, ...

Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics: The More They Resist, the More They Divide

07/31/2011
The number of multiresistant strains of bacteria in hospitals is increasing. Bacteria acquire resistance to antibiotics through mutations in their chromosomes and by incorporating new genes, either from the surrounding environment or from other bacteria. Now, a research team at the Portuguese CBA research (University of Lisbon) and the Instituto ...

Germany declares end to E. coli outbreak

07/31/2011
Germany's federal disease control institute declared on Tuesday that an E. coli outbreak which killed more than 50 people is now over and no cases have been reported in the past three weeks. More than 4,400 people in Europe and North America were infected in two outbreaks of E. coli infection ...

Universal Influenza Vaccine In Reach Targeting Key Common Proteins

07/31/2011
Almost a quarter million people are hospitalized with the flu every year, and an estimated 3,000 to 49,000 die, making the flu one of the chief causes of preventable death in the USA. However, a universal flu vaccine that protects against all strains may be within reach in the next ...

It's Alive! Probiotics Are Growing for Food Processors

07/30/2011
You need bugs. Specifically, your body needs the friendly microbes that perform a number of symbiotic functions, without which you'd be dead. Having taken on the less off-putting epithet of "probiotics" -- versus "microbes," "friendly bacteria" or "beneficial micro-organisms" -- the critters under this modern sobriquet number in the scores ...

Exploding Bacteria, Self-Fertilizing Bugs and Other Cool Critters

07/30/2011
No matter how jaded you become, there is always room to be awed by the little shimmers of magic nature deals us on a regular basis. There's something just plain cool about a world that offers up coral shaped like organ pipes, peppermint shrimp, and monkeys feasting on fermented leaves. ...

NASA’s Microgravity Salmonella Vaccine Investigation Revolutionizes Space Microbiology

07/29/2011
Two Arizona State University research teams have partnered with NASA's Johnson Space Center to strengthen the realms of space microbiology. The combined team has launched a Recombinant Attenuated Salmonella Vaccine or RASV investigation to the International Space Station aboard the STS-135. The resultant samples of this spaceflight cultured RASV strain has ...

Rockweed algae

07/29/2011
Rockweed algae on rocks in cold ocean water. From the Wistreich Collecction, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Flu "super antibody" may bring universal shot closer

07/29/2011
Scientists have found a flu "super antibody" called FI6 that can fight all types of influenza A viruses that cause disease in humans and animals and say their discovery may be a turning point in the development of new flu treatments. Researchers from Britain and Switzerland used a new method aimed ...

Paralyzing infection sickens 24 on U.S.-Mexico border

07/28/2011
A rare condition that can cause paralysis has sickened two dozen people in a small area straddling the Arizona-Mexico border, authorities said on Tuesday, The Arizona Department of Health Services reported a cluster of 24 cases of the rare Guillain-Barre Syndrome in Yuma County in far western Arizona and neighboring San ...

Mixed lichens

07/28/2011
A mixture of lichens. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Late? Or never? A plan to wipe out polio by the end of next year is in trouble

07/27/2011
Hubris is always dangerous. In 1977 smallpox was eradicated and—an accidental infection in a British laboratory a year later aside—that claim has stood the test of time. Having eliminated one viral disease, the authorities decided they ought to be able to get rid of another: polio. That, though, proved a ...

Fruticose lichen

07/27/2011
A fruticose (leaflike) lichen. Taken from the Wistreich Collection, appearing exclusively on MicrobeWorld.

Scientists Study Bacteria in Space for Long-Duration Missions

07/26/2011
With NASA's space shuttle program officially at an end, the agency is making preparations to benefit the future of spaceflight, which includes ambitious plans for long-duration human missions to Mars or an asteroid. But to make these big missions happen, researchers are thinking small. So small, in fact, that they're focusing ...

Antibiotics beat cranberries at fighting urinary tract infections

07/26/2011
Many women swear by cranberry juice or capsules for the treatment and prevention of urinary tract infections, but new Dutch research indicates that antibiotics may be more effective even if they contribute to a greater risk for antibiotic resistance. "Cranberries are less effective in the prevention, but do not result in ...

Researcher claims world-first E. coli testing method

07/25/2011
A researcher on Queensland's Sunshine Coast has developed a revolutionary new enzyme-based method of testing waterways for E.coli. Unitywater microbiologist Dr Tracey Wohlsen says the method will allow contaminated waterways to be treated more quickly than the usual 48 hours. Dr Wohlsen says the new test has halved the time it takes ...

Orange pigmented crustose lichens

07/25/2011
Orange pigmented crustose lichens. From the Wistreich Collection.

Haiti again caught in cholera's grip

07/25/2011
Instead of the commuters typically packed into the bright blue and red "tap tap" pickup truck weaving through Haiti's capital, a man, shrunken, dehydrated, dressed in a diaper and attached to an IV, lay on the floor. As the ad-hoc ambulance in Port-au-Prince attested, cholera refuses to leave the country. The bacterial ...

Gut bacteria may contribute to autism

07/25/2011
(note - old news, but still interesting) Children with autism appear to have a characteristic chemical signature in their urine which might form the basis of an early diagnostic test for the condition. The finding also adds weight the hypothesis that substances released by gut bacteria are contributing to the onset of ...

Battle of the Microbes: Pseudomonas Breaches Cell Walls of Rival Bacteria Without Hurting Itself

07/24/2011
Microbiologists have uncovered a sneaky trick by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa to oust rivals. It deploys a toxin delivery machine to breach cell walls of competitors without hurting itself. Its means of attack helps it survive in the outside environment and may even help it cause infection. P. aeruginosa is a ...

Marine mystery solved: 'Rare' bacteria in the ocean ain't necessarily so

07/24/2011
A teaspoon of seawater contains thousands of naturally occurring bacteria. Scientists previously believed that less than half of these ocean microbes are actively taking up organic compounds, while the remainder -- a mix of rare species -- lie dormant. Not so, according to researchers from the University of Delaware and the ...

Fingerprinting Fugitive Dust: Tracking Soil Microbes Back to Their Source

07/24/2011
Each community of soil microbes has a unique fingerprint that can potentially be used to track soil back to its source, right down to whether it came from dust from a rural road or from a farm field, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) soil scientist. Ann Kennedy, at ...

Newly designed molecule blocks chlamydia bacteria

07/24/2011
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have discovered a way to block the damaging actions of chlamydia, the bacteria responsible for the largest number of sexually transmitted infections in the United States. The team, which included Duke University microbiologists and chemists, designed a molecule that takes away the bacteria's self-defense mechanisms. The ...

Potentially valuable new microbe found in Nevada hot springs

07/23/2011
Proving that everything in Nevada is able to withstand stupefying levels of heat, a newly-discovered microbe from the state is not only able to survive temperatures above boiling, but is also one of the only microbes who can digest cellulose at high temperatures. Researchers discovered the hyperthermophilic microbes, called archaea, in ...

An algal bloom in a stream bordering land plants

07/22/2011
An algal bloom in a stream bordering land plants. From the Wistreich Collection

How The Shuttle Helped Salmonella, MRSA Research

07/22/2011
Space Shuttle Atlantis is set to take off Friday, July 8, as NASA’s 135th and final space shuttle mission, bringing a 30-year shuttle program to a close. Although the program is being retired, scientific experiments will continue in space aboard the International Space Station, which serves as a unique platform for ...

Hospital Bacteria Outbreak Linked to Nasal Spray

07/22/2011
Infection control researchers investigating a rare bacterial outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia complex (Bcc) identified contaminated nasal spray as the root cause of the infections, leading to a national recall of the product. An article in the August issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for ...

How 'Hot Tub Rash' Bacteria Kills the Competition

07/21/2011
A common bacterium fights off competitors by injecting them with toxic proteins a using needle-like puncturing device, scientists have found. This mechanism gives the bacterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an advantage in its environment and helps it in its quest to infect humans by eliminating other bacteria, including ones helpful for human health, ...

Algal Bloom

07/21/2011
The appearance of an algal bloom in Griffith Park, Los Angeles. From the Wistreich Collection

Thermo Fisher Scientific Purchases Trek Diagnostic Systems

07/21/2011
Thermo Fisher Scientific is taking over Trek Diagnostic Systems from Magellan Biosciences. Trek provides microbiology solutions including blood culture, microorganism identification, and antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) products. “The range of products manufactured by Trek ideally complements our existing portfolio of microbiological testing technologies,” remarks Marc N. Casper, president and CEO of ...

Green Algae

07/20/2011
The presence of green algae colonizing the air space. From the Wistreich Collection.

Euglena species in Euglena broth media

07/20/2011
Euglena species in Euglena broth media. From the Wistreich Collection

CDC Guidelines for Infection Prevention in Outpatients

07/20/2011
Each outpatient practice should identify an infection prevention leader, according to a new concise guide and checklist issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and reported online July 13. The new recommendations, which aim to protect patients by informing clinicians about minimal expectations of safe care, ...

Euglena species

07/19/2011
Microscopic view of Euglena species (approx X 100)

FDA Okays New Flu Vaccine

07/19/2011
The FDA has approved the influenza vaccine formulation for the 2011 to 2012 flu season. The vaccine protects against the three most common strains of the virus based on disease surveillance. The strains selected for the 2011-2012 influenza season are: A/California/7/09 (H1N1)-like virus A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like ...

Common Infection Increases Risk of Transmitting HIV

07/19/2011
A common bacterial infection that affects many females may increase their risk of transmitting HIV to their partners. A study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was presented at the International Aids Conference this week in Rome, Italy which examined the role of infection in women with HIV ...

A single Vorticella species.

07/18/2011
A single Vorticella species. From the Wistreich collection.

Boosting oil production with bacteria

07/18/2011
In the days of rising oil prices and fears of dwindling supplies, it makes sense to get as much crude as possible out of any given well. After a well is drilled its natural pressure gradually subsides, eventually making it too costly to pump out the remaining crude. Although a well ...

Legionnaires' outbreak reported at Las Vegas resort

07/18/2011
A luxury resort on the Las Vegas strip has been linked to cases of the sometimes deadly Legionnaires' disease that has sickened a handful of guests since 2009, health officials and the hotel said on Friday. Elevated levels of the bacteria that causes the disease were found at the Aria Resort ...

Tracking a moving target

07/17/2011
A family tree of the 2009 pandemic influenza viruses in Japan reveals a high rate of viral evolution The influenza pandemic that began in Mexico in April 2009 rapidly spread throughout the world and arrived in Japan one month later. Now, a research team led by Toshihisa Ishikawa at the RIKEN ...

Little Risk of Guillain-Barré With H1N1 Flu Vaccine

07/17/2011
A new study affirms that the 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine, developed to counter the flu pandemic, does not substantially put people at increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a disorder in which a person's immune system damages nerves, causing weakness and in some cases paralysis. The study, conducted at ...

Scientists Closer to Developing Meningitis Vaccine

07/17/2011
Scientists may be on track to develop a vaccine for the most common strain of meningitis, which has so far resisted an effective vaccine. Meningitis is a serious disease caused by an inflammation of the lining that protects the brain and spinal cord. Vaccines exist for most varieties of the bacteria ...

Spread of Fungus-Farming Beetles Is Bad News for Trees

07/17/2011
North Carolina State University researchers have found that a subset of fungus-farming ambrosia beetles may be in the early stages of a global epidemic threatening a number of economically important trees, including avocados, poplars and oaks. "Only about 12 species of ambrosia beetle are creating problems so far, but there are ...

Scientists unveil tools for rewriting the code of life

07/16/2011
MIT and Harvard researchers have developed technologies that could be used to rewrite the genetic code of a living cell, allowing them to make large-scale edits to the cell’s genome. Such technology could enable scientists to design cells that build proteins not found in nature, or engineer bacteria that are ...

Genome-wide DNA editing performed in live bacteria

07/15/2011
So far, there have been two primary routes to reengineering an organism's genome. The first is to start with an existing form of life and tweak it a bit, eliminating a few genes and adding in some others. The second is to start from scratch, building a new genome up ...

Several paramecia showing internal structures

07/15/2011
Several paramecia showing internal structures. From the Wistreich Collection.

Swarm of paramecia surrounding an unidentified protozoan

07/14/2011
Swarm of paramecia surrounding an unidentified protozoan. From the Wistreich Collection.

Drugs May Prevent HIV Spread Among Heterosexuals

07/14/2011
Giving antiretroviral drugs to heterosexuals at high risk of HIV infection can significantly reduce the chance they will develop the AIDS-causing virus, two new studies suggest. "This is an extremely exciting finding for the field of HIV prevention," said Dr. Jared Baeten, co-chair of one study and a University of Washington ...

Pediatricians turn away kids who aren't vaccinated

07/13/2011
When an investigation proved early this year that research linking autism and vaccines was fraudulent, it seemed the debate over when or whether to immunize children might quiet down. But new voices have piped up in the vaccine controversy, and this time, they belong to pediatricians. While most parents do choose ...

Purdue biologists identify new strategy used by bacteria during infection

07/13/2011
Purdue University biologists identified a new way in which bacteria hijack healthy cells during infection, which could provide a target for new antibiotics. Zhao-Qing Luo, the associate professor of biological sciences who led the study, said the team discovered a new enzyme used by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila - which causes ...

US ran fake vaccine project in hunt for bin Laden: report

07/12/2011
US intelligence launched a fake vaccination drive in the Pakistan town where it believed Osama bin Laden was hiding in an effort to gather DNA from members of his family, the Guardian reported Tuesday. CIA officials recruited a senior local doctor to organise the campaign after it tracked down a bin ...

Bacteria resists the aroma of caffeine

07/12/2011
Tea and coffee may be linked to reducing antibiotic-resistant bacteria that healthy people carry in their noses. People who drank tea and coffee carried the bug, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, only half as often as those who didn't, said a study of 5000 people released yesterday in the Annals of Family Medicine. MRSA ...

Clue to What Makes Lyme Bacteria Tick

07/12/2011
Laboratory mice infected with the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, exhibited an unusual immune response that may explain why Lyme disease recurs in some people, researchers at the University of California, Davis, said. In the study, published in PLoS Pathogens, Lyme disease was induced in mice by tick bites or injections. ...

Super Gonorrhea: Scientists Discover Antibiotic-Resistant STD

07/11/2011
Scientists have discovered a new strain of gonorrhea-causing bacteria in Japan that is resistant to available treatments. Since the 1940s, the sexually transmitted disease known as "the clap" has been easily treated with antibiotics. But the new strain of Neisseria gonorrhoeae has genetically mutated to evade cephalosporins -- the only antibiotics ...

Salt-Loving Microbe Provides New Enzymes for the Production of Next-Generation Biofuels

07/11/2011
In order to realize the full potential of advanced biofuels that are derived from non-food sources of lignocellulosic biomass -- e.g., agricultural, forestry, and municipal waste, and crops such as poplar, switchgrass and miscanthus -- new technologies that can efficiently and cost-effectively break down this biomass into simple sugars are ...

Arizona death linked to Europe's E coli outbreak

07/10/2011
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today confirmed that the death of an Arizona resident who had traveled to Germany is linked to Europe's sprout-related Escherichia coli O104:H4 outbreak. The CDC had previously said it was investigating if the fatality was related to the outbreak. In today's ...

New Salmonella-Based 'Clean Vaccines' Aid the Fight Against Infectious Disease

07/10/2011
A powerful new class of therapeutics, known as recombinant attenuated Salmonella vaccines (RASV), holds great potential in the fight against fatal diseases including hepatitis B, tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid fever, AIDS and pneumonia. Now, Qingke Kong and his colleagues at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University, have developed a technique to ...

Universal flu vaccine a step closer

07/09/2011
A universal flu vaccine, capable of working against all strains, would save lives and money by eliminating the need for the annual jab. Researchers in California and the Netherlands believe they are now a "step closer" to meeting this objective. By putting the new antibody together with one they ...

Engineering better antibiotics, with help from the cloud

07/09/2011
The race to find the next weapons against disease continues. Researchers from Swiss science and technology university ETH Zurich are working with high-performance cloud computing company CloudBroker to develop new antibiotics to fight disease. The Institute of Molecular Systems Biology researchers used almost 250,000 computing hours on 1,000 parallel CPUs to conduct ...

Do Microbes Help Hyenas Communicate?

07/08/2011
I had to laugh out loud this morning as I watched three of my students searching for hyena scent marks. They were wandering about, bent over at the waist, sniffing the tips of tall grass stalks at the far edge of the territory of our largest study clan. They inched ...

Satellite Data Aids in Predicting Cholera Outbreaks

07/08/2011
The world has seen seven global cholera outbreaks since 1817, and the current one seems to have come to stay. Rising temperatures and a stubbornly persistent, toxic bacteria strain appear to have given the disease the upper hand. Public health officials are working on vaccines, struggling to improve sanitation in impoverished ...

Parasites May Have Given Birth to Sex

07/08/2011
Say a thank you to the pathogens and parasites of the world: Without them, there might be no such thing as sex. A new study finds that in organisms that can reproduce alone or with a partner, sexual reproduction is the result of a deadly arms race between host and pathogen. ...

Getting to know bacteria with 'multiple personalities'

07/08/2011
"Scientists have long considered cyanobacteria to have 'multiple personalities,' as it were," said Andrzej Joachimiak, who directs the Structural Biology Center (SBC) at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. "They are unique creatures in that they form key components of so many different ecological processes." Joachimiak and his colleagues ...

Sneaky Salmonella: Common, Costly and Preventable

07/07/2011
Each year, roughly 1 in 6 people in the United States gets sick from eating contaminated food. Each of those illnesses represents something that went wrong somewhere along the pathway from a farm to our table. Behind these illnesses are familiar culprits (like Salmonella) and causes (like poor food safety ...

Supergerms, On Board the Final Shuttle: Studying Why Bacteria Thrive in Space

07/06/2011
When the Starship Enterprise went roaming through the galaxy, the captain and crew had to be vigilant. There might be Klingons, Romulans, disembodied intelligences composed of pure energy. What they never seemed to worry about was the threat of festering scum underneath the toilets or behind the sinks. But maybe ...
07/06/2011
The U.S. Navy has enlisted some very tiny sailors to fuel their latest research vessel. Microorganisms are descending into the sea, enabling unmanned pods to gather data beneath the surface. Weeks later, (perhaps even years researchers say), the craft could emerge via power it had generated on board. No batteries ...

Probiotics In Future May Be Prescribed For Your Neurological Well-Being

07/06/2011
Good bacteria, also known as 'Probiotics' are known for their favorable effects in maintaining gastrointestinal health, but can they encourage psychological health too? New research conducted at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center has explored the new world of neurological probiotics and the scientists have put forward novel ideas ...

Large Study Reaffirms H1N1, Seasonal Flu Vaccine Safety

07/05/2011
Back in spring 2009, the H1N1 influenza virus crossed the U.S. border and raised concerns that it might cause a full-scale epidemic in the fall. The Food and Drug Administration worked with other Health and Human Services agencies and vaccine manufacturers to quickly develop, license and distribute a vaccine to ...

Laser a fast friend of food safety

07/05/2011
Researchers are developing new technologies that combine a laser and electric fields to manipulate fluids and tiny particles such as bacteria, viruses and DNA for a range of potential applications, from drug manufacturing to food safety. The technologies could bring innovative sensors and analytical devices for "lab-on-a-chip" applications, or miniature instruments ...

Professor hoping Google catches virus trend

07/04/2011
A leading infectious disease expert has called on Google to expand its flu trends application to other viruses because of its success tracking the spread of the illness in Australia. Infectious Diseases and Australian National University microbiology professor Peter Collignon has asked Google to include norovirus, rotavirus and respiratory syncytial virus ...

U.S. Plague Fatality ‘Isolated’ Lab Incident, New Report Confirms

07/04/2011
In 2009, a 60-year-old American lab researcher was mysteriously, and fatally, infected with the black plague while conducting experiments using a weakened, non-virulent strain of the microbe. Now, a follow-up investigation has confirmed that the researcher died because of a genetic predisposition that made him vulnerable to the hazards of such ...

Analysis: Socks, bedpans among copper's growth markets

07/04/2011
As Chile struggled for two months to rescue 33 miners trapped deep underground last year, it turned to an unlikely tool to help keep them healthy: copper socks. Chile has built its economy on the world's biggest deposits of copper, a metal known for versatility in a wide range of industrial ...

Naming Names in EU E. coli Outbreak: Fair Game?

07/03/2011
The investigation into the European E. coli crisis linked to sprouts has been closing in on Egyptian fenugreek seeds. But the name of a possible importer of those seeds mysteriously disappeared from an official report on the outbreak Wednesday -- 9 hours after it was published. The original document, released ...

Crudites in Bordeaux Bring E. Coli Sleuths Closer to Diarrhea Bug Source

07/03/2011
Crudites eaten at a children’s center in the French city of Bordeaux are helping doctors in their two- month hunt for the source of the world’s deadliest E. coli outbreak. The bacterium that began sickening thousands of people in Germany in early May is the same as one that gave more ...

Swine flu vaccine safe in pregnancy: study

07/03/2011
The swine flu shot appears to be safe for pregnant women, according to a new government report that tallies health problems occurring after the vaccinations. During the 2009-2010 flu season, millions of pregnant women received the vaccine against swine flu, or H1N1 influenza, yet but less than 300 possible complications were ...

Newborn Saliva Can Help Detect Potential for Hearing Loss

07/02/2011
Swabbing a newborn’s mouth for saliva is one way to quickly and effectively screen for cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection, a major cause of hearing loss in children. Researchers in a recent national study found that saliva enabled them to correctly identify every baby born with the infection when the saliva sample was ...

Interventions Against MRSA and VRE Colonization or Infection

07/02/2011
Study Summary: Intensive care units (ICU) are high-risk settings for the transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) infections.[1,2] The authors sought to determine whether surveillance for MRSA and VRE with expanded use of barrier precautions would reduce the incidence of MRSA or VRE colonization or infection in ...

Gastric Bacterium Helicobacter Pylori Protects Against Asthma

07/02/2011
Infection with the gastric bacterium Helicobacter pylori provides reliable protection against allergy-induced asthma, immunologists from the University of Zurich have demonstrated in an animal model together with allergy specialists from the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. Their results published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation confirm ...

Beach bacteria cause many illnesses but often aren't blamed

07/01/2011
Many of America’s beaches are still contaminated by sewage water and are teeming with bacteria, but many sickened swimmers don’t realize they’ve caught a disease from the ocean. That’s the rather filthy picture of America’s coastal areas from the Natural Resources Defense Council in its annual report on the state ...

Is Drug Resistance in Humans Coming From Chickens?

06/30/2011
There’s a new paper out in the CDC’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases that makes a provocative claim: There is enough similarity between drug-resistance genes in E. coli carried by chickens and E. coli infecting humans that the chickens may be the source of it. If it is correct — ...

Bacteria From Dutch Poultry Linked to Superbugs in People, Scientists Find

06/30/2011
Bacteria on raw poultry meat in the Netherlands may be a source of superbugs in people, according to a study that suggests the use of antibiotics in food animals is causing life-saving drugs to lose their potency. Multidrug-resistant bacteria were found in 80 percent of raw chicken bought from grocery stores ...
06/30/2011
Red duct tape can save healthcare workers time and hospitals money by defining a "red box" just inside patient rooms in which healthcare workers can communicate with patients who are isolated with infections without stopping to don a gown and gloves. The approach extends the "safe zone" and reduces the ...

E.coli seen spawning biofuel in five years

06/29/2011
The bacteria behind food poisoning worldwide, the mighty e.coli, could be turned into a commercially available biofuel in five years, a U.S. scientist told technology industry and government leaders on Tuesday. Several companies are working on the technology, which has been proven in laboratories but is not yet yielding enough fuel ...

500 Million-Year-Old Symbiosis

06/29/2011
Marine shallow water sandy bottoms on the surface appear desert-like and empty, but in the interstitial space between the sand grains, a diverse fauna flourishes. In addition to bacteria and protozoa, numerous animal phyla have been found here - some found only here. One of the strangest members of this ...

Penn State-led Team Publishes Tasmanian Devil Genome Study

06/29/2011
In a study appearing online last night in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Pennsylvania State University and elsewhere describe how they used whole nuclear and mitochondrial genome sequencing and genotyping to characterize genetic diversity and population structure in Tasmanian devils — information that they hope ...

Mutated Bacteria Drives Scarlet Fever Outbreak

06/28/2011
A mutated strain of bacteria is apparently behind an outbreak of scarlet fever in Hong Kong that has killed two children and sickened more than 600 people so far this year. Over the past decade, Hong Kong has typically recorded 100 to 200 cases annually with no deaths. Young adults, ...

Social Amoebae Rely On Genetic 'Lock and Key' to Identify Kin

06/28/2011
The ability to identify self and non-self enables cells in more sophisticated animals to ward off invading infections, but it is critical to even simpler organisms such as the social amoebae Dictyostelium discoideum. Dictyostelium exists as a single cell when times are good, but when starved, the cells aggregate and become ...

E. coli in France Linked to Deadly German Outbreak

06/28/2011
The outbreak of E. coli affecting more than a dozen victims in Bordeaux, France is now almost conclusively linked to the ongoing epidemic of E. coli O104:H4 in Germany that has claimed the lives of 48 Europeans so far. Doctors say they are 99 percent sure that the French outbreak, ...

Rotavirus Vaccine Reduces Gastroenteritis Hospitalizations

06/27/2011
Use of rotavirus vaccine was associated with greatly reduced gastroenteritis hospitalizations in children, according to the results of a population-based surveillance study in 3 US counties from 2006 to 2009, reported online June 24 in Clinical Infectious Disease. "Rotavirus is the major cause of severe acute gastroenteritis (AGE) in children," write ...

Unusual Traits Blended in Germany E. Coli Strain

06/27/2011
The E. coli bacteria that killed dozens of people in Germany over the past month have a highly unusual combination of two traits and that may be what made the outbreak among the deadliest in recent history, scientists there are reporting. One trait was a toxin, called Shiga, that causes ...

Microbiologists Discover How Cavity-Causing Microbes Invade Heart

06/27/2011
Scientists have discovered the tool that bacteria normally found in our mouths use to invade heart tissue, causing a dangerous and sometimes lethal infection of the heart known as endocarditis. The work raises the possibility of creating a screening tool – perhaps a swab of the cheek, or a spit ...

The Rise of Backyard Biotech

06/27/2011
If FerroKin BioSciences has a headquarters, it’s the attic of the farmhouse-style home of Dr. Hugh Young Rienhoff Jr., in San Carlos, California. Clearing papers off chairs, Rienhoff seems an unlikely pharma CEO. “Sorry,” he says, “I work in piles.” The attic is decorated with maps, medical-science posters, vacation pictures, ...

Engineer To Launch Bacteria Into Space Aboard the Final Mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis

06/24/2011
There will be some very interesting passengers on the final mission of the NASA Space Shuttle Atlantis scheduled to launch July 8, 2011: thousands of bacteria. Cynthia Collins, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Rensselaer, is leading a series of experiments called Micro-2A that will be aboard the shuttle ...

German E. coli strain combines deadly properties of two pathogens

06/23/2011
The E. coli strain that infected thousands in Germany, killing more than three dozen, has now been scrutinized by researchers who say the bug might have been so deadly because it combines the powers of two other types of E.coli — enabling it both to stick fast to the inside ...

Healthline Scarlet Fever Outbreak: Should We Worry?

06/23/2011
Scarlet fever—the much-feared scourge of the past—is back, with an outbreak in Hong Kong that has killed two children and sickened hundreds. More than 21,000 cases have also been reported in China so far this year, nearly quadruple the rate for the same period in 2010, while infections have tripled ...

‘Cat Scratch’ bacteria test gets SBIR grant

06/22/2011
Medical technology company Galaxy Diagnostics has been awarded a $188,000 federal grant for its research on a detection technology for the bacteria that causes Cat Scratch Disease. The SBIR grant comes from the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes for Health. Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based ...

Study Finds Pillows are Breeding Ground for Infectious Superbugs

06/22/2011
Pillows at home and in hospitals have been overlooked as breeding grounds for infectious germs -- including superbugs -- according to a UK study, cited by The (London) Times on Wednesday. The study revealed that after two years of use, more than than one third of a pillow's weight is made ...

Evolving bacteria through a game of rock-paper-scissors

06/21/2011
"Imagine a nontransitive community in which, for convenience, we call the players Rock, Paper, and Scissors." It's a rather unusual line to find in a scientific paper, but the study it comes from is part of a special edition of PNAS on the evolution of social behavior. And rock-paper-scissors is ...

Blinged-Out Bacteria Put to Work in Fuel Cells

06/21/2011
The boffins at Carnegie Mellon have done it again! This time they've devised a biological fuel cell that harvests the metabolic energy of bacteria using gold plates.

Arctic Snow Can Harbor Deadly Assassin: Killer Fungal Strains

06/21/2011
Heavy and prolonged snowfall can bring about unexpected conditions that encourage fungal growth, leading to the death of plants in the Arctic, according to experts. A new international study confirms that while snow has an insulating effect which helps plants to grow bigger, heavy and prolonged snow can, in certain circumstances, ...

The Rise of 'Superbugs': Time to End a Decades-Long Problem

06/20/2011
For decades, livestock producers have given antibiotics to healthy farm animals to promote growth and compensate for unsanitary living conditions. But for the past 34 years, the Food and Drug Administration has known this practice creates drug-resistant bacteria that can pose a threat to human health, yet it has done ...

A shot in the arm: The world’s market for vaccines is being turned upside down

06/20/2011
Global-health experts are often a glum lot, but a few billion dollars should be enough to perk anybody up. Over the past decade the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), founded with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has become the world’s main advocate of immunization. ...

CDC considering meningitis vaccine for infants

06/20/2011
Federal health officials, trying to determine whether to recommend that young children be vaccinated for the rare but often deadly bacterial meningitis, heard Wednesday from parents both for and against the vaccine. The public meeting in New Hampshire was the first of four the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is ...

Novel Vaccine Cures Prostate Cancer in Mice

06/20/2011
Animal studies of a new human prostate cancer vaccine show that repeated intravenous injections can destroy well-established prostate tumors in mice, without adjuvant chemotherapy or radiation and with no apparent adverse effects. The proof-of-concept study by American and British researchers was published online June 19 in Nature Medicine. The authors write ...

Nitrogen-Fixing Bacterial Symbiont Promises Trove of Natural Products

06/19/2011
Soil-dwelling bacteria of the genus Frankia have the potential to produce a multitude of natural products, including antibiotics, herbicides, pigments, anticancer agents, and other useful products, according to Bradley S. Moore of the Scripps Oceanographic Institute, La Jolla, and his collaborators in an article in the June 2011 issue of ...

The Difference Engine: Gut feeling

06/19/2011
The bean sprouts contaminated with a particularly nasty strain of Escherichia coli, a bug that normally lives quietly in the gut of humans and other animals, have now sickened over 3,250 people in Germany and caused 37 deaths. Since the outbreak began in May, a quarter of those infected have ...

O104:H4: A New Disease with Old Preventions

06/19/2011
"I watched my friends get sick, just melt away, and die in hours." A senior, returning to our college from Nepal in 1968, after participating in a 5 year program allowing students a year abroad. His education included what we now would describe as post traumatic stress. Many readers will ...

Influenza Virion

06/18/2011
On a lavender background, this illustration provides a 3D graphical representation of a generic influenza virion’s ultrastructure, and is not specific to a seasonal, avian or 2009 H1N1 virus. There are three types of influenza viruses: A, B and C. Human influenza A and B viruses cause seasonal epidemics of ...

E. Coli Bacteria Are Found in a Brook in Frankfurt, DPA Reports

06/18/2011
The aggressive 0104:H4 E. coli bacteria strain has been found in a brook in Frankfurt, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported, citing an unidentified spokesman from the Hesse state Environment Ministry. The brook is not connected to the drinking water supply so there is no danger of contamination, DPA said.

Thirty Years of Fighting AIDS: A Progress Report

06/18/2011
In June 1981, I was a medical virologist developing the first antiviral medication to treat genital herpes. One morning over coffee, I picked up the Centers for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report and read about a new disease that was likely sexually transmitted, likely caused by an unknown ...

Scientists Develop a Fatty 'Kryptonite' to Defeat Multidrug-Resistant 'Super Bugs'

06/18/2011
"Super bugs," which can cause wide-spread disease and may be resistant to most, if not all, conventional antibiotics, still have their weaknesses. A team of Canadian scientists discovered that specific mixtures of antimicrobial agents presented in lipid (fatty) mixtures can significantly boost the effectiveness of those agents to kill the ...

HPV Vaccine: Early Evidence of Impact

06/17/2011
Health officials in Australia are reporting what may prove to be the first evidence that the vaccine targeting the human papillomavirus (HPV) could prevent cervical cancer in a large population. The incidence of lesions that lead to cervical cancer dropped dramatically among Australian teen girls after a nationwide, school-based HPV vaccination ...

Docs Find Rise in Measles Cases a 'Tragedy'

06/17/2011
For many doctors, reports by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing the largest increase in measles cases in almost 20 years is troubling but not surprising. "This is a tragedy," said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventative medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Only six months into the calendar ...

Scientists uncover how immune system responds to invading anthrax bacteria

06/17/2011
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have uncovered how the body's immune system launches its survival response to the notorious and deadly bacterium anthrax. The findings, reported online today and published in the June 22 issue of ...

New Lyme disease test for horses and dogs will help improve treatment

06/17/2011
Romping through summer fields seems like a harmless pleasure for dogs, horses and humans alike. But just one bite from the wrong tick can rob an animal of that pastime. The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi catch rides with certain species of ticks and can cause Lyme disease in animals the ticks ...

Working at a Major Research Institution, Part 5: On Track for Tenure

06/16/2011
Speaking at the American Society for Microbiology annual meeting this month, Ohio State University's Michael Ibba said that one of the most anti-climactic moments of an academic career occurs "when the tenure clock stops ticking." Most academic faculty, he said, tend to think that "'If I just get tenure it's ...

Working at a Major Research Institution, Part 4: On Being Junior Faculty

06/16/2011
In academia, as in national defense, Michael Ibba told American Society for Microbiology annual meeting attendees that "there are ... unknown unknowns" — that is, things "we don't know we don't know," he said, quoting the former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. During a special session on career preparation, ...

Working at a Major Research Institution, Part 3: The Interviews

06/16/2011
When interviewing at a major research institution, Ohio State University's Michael Ibba told attendees of the American Society for Microbiology's annual meeting held in New Orleans, La., that faculty candidates will meet many people — all of whom have, to some an extent, a say in the final hiring decision ...

Working at a Major Research Institution, Part 2: The Application

06/16/2011
Ohio State University's Michael Ibba told attendees of the American Society for Microbiology's annual meeting held in New Orleans, La., this week that, when applying to faculty positions at major research institutions, "you've got to realize ... it's a fairly random process." Because of the stochastic nature of faculty hiring ...

Working at a Major Research Institution, Part 1: Reflections

06/16/2011
Professorships at major research institutions are high-risk careers with a matched potential for payoffs, according to Ohio State University's Michael Ibba. "In academic research, the more successful you are, actually the more control you'll have over your own career. And it's a challenge, but I think it's a big payoff ...

'SpongeBob' Mushroom Discovered in the Forests of Borneo

06/16/2011
Sing it with us: What lives in the rainforest, under a tree? Spongiforma squarepantsii, a new species of mushroom almost as strange as its cartoon namesake. Its discovery in the forests of Borneo, says San Francisco State University researcher Dennis Desjardin, suggests that even some of the most charismatic characters in ...

Bad Breath? How Probiotics Can Help

06/16/2011
If you're staying on top of the world of health products, you already know about probiotics. Different from antibiotics, probiotics are a natural way to help your body defend against outside predators. May sound a bit militaristic, but actually probiotics are about trumping bad bacteria with the good. If you've ...

Sugar-Binding Protein May Play A Role In HIV Infection

06/16/2011
Specific types of "helper" T cells that are crucial to maintaining functioning immune systems contain an enzyme called PDI (protein disulfide isomerase). This enzyme affects how proteins fold into specific shapes, which in turn influences how the T cells behave. PDI also plays a role in HIV infection by helping ...

A Simple Test Spots Bacteria

06/15/2011
In the developing world, drinking water contaminated with bacteria kills millions of people each year. Most methods to test drinking water for pathogens require expensive lab equipment and expert training, two resources many communities lack. To offer a cheap, simple alternative, researchers now demonstrate a test strip that changes color ...

Why Bacteria, But Not Humans, Can Live on Caffeine

06/15/2011
When scientists discovered a new bacterium that can live on caffeine last month, it sparked many tongue-in-cheek headlines and ledes. "Bacteria survives on caffeine (like me)." "If you can’t live without a cup of coffee…" "Think you live on caffeine?" But after everyone had a good laugh about the extent ...

Army funds infection genomics

06/14/2011
A Texas university is receiving $4.6 million from the U.S. Army to support microbiology research on infectious organisms threatening the military. The 5-year funding, from the Defense's Army Research Office, will be used by the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases at The University of Texas at San Antonio to ...

The bacteria (or virus or parasite) made me do it

06/14/2011
Those who believe in free will might be troubled to learn a few secrets about viruses, bacteria and parasites. While it may sound like science fiction, science hints at the potential for microbes to influence our minds, or at least our behavior. Granted, with very limited exceptions, there’s no conclusive proof ...

One nasty evolver

06/13/2011
Today, our most fearsome natural enemies aren't big, fierce animals. They're microscopic invaders, with names like O104:H4. Their weapon is evolution. O104:H4 is the label given to the strain of E. coli responsible for the food-borne outbreak currently sweeping through Europe. The organism is so good at infecting us that a ...

Hospital: Girl survives rabies without vaccination

06/13/2011
An 8-year-old girl who contracted rabies — likely from a feral cat — is a rare survivor of the infection without having received the life-saving vaccine, hospital officials said Sunday. Precious Reynolds of Willow Creek, Calif., was treated by pediatricians at the University of California Davis Children's Hospital in coordination with ...

Food safety remains a constant challenge, says WHO

06/13/2011
The enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) outbreak in Germany has been the most serious ever recorded in the WHO European Region. Thirty-five people have died, and hundreds are still ill: this is the outbreak’s sad toll on human health so far. The economic impact of this outbreak is still emerging. It ...

Cells turned into living lasers with fluorescent protein

06/13/2011
With a little help from a fluorescent protein, mammalian cells have been transformed into living lasers. This discovery could help improve imaging of living cells, enabling researchers to explore what's going on inside. Laser stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, where amplification is usually achieved using dyes or ...

When Food Kills

06/12/2011
The deaths of 31 people in Europe from a little-known strain of E. coli have raised alarms worldwide, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Our food often betrays us. Just a few days ago, a 2-year-old girl in Dryden, Va., died in a hospital after suffering bloody diarrhea linked to another strain ...

Study: Too many asthmatic kids being given antibiotics

06/12/2011
Antibiotics aren’t a recommended treatment for asthma, yet doctors are prescribing them to roughly one in six children with asthma who shouldn’t be getting them, according to new research. That amounts to nearly 1 million prescriptions for antibiotics each year that aren’t in accordance with national treatment guideline