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Team discovers how microbes build a powerful antibiotic

Researchers have made a breakthrough in understanding how a powerful antibiotic agent is made in nature. Their discovery solves a decades-old mystery, and opens up new avenues of research into thousands of similar molecules, many of which are likely to be medically useful.

Click "source" to r... Read More

Supportive care may help American Ebola patients survive

Nurse Amber Vinson's discharge from the hospital Tuesday brings to seven the number of American patients who have survived Ebola, leading many people to wonder what has allowed them to beat the odds.

In West Africa, about 70% of patients die from the Ebola virus, according to the World Health... Read More

GW Researcher Adapting Breakthrough Technologies to Combat Parasitic Worm Infections

Recent breakthroughs may pave the way for vaccines and new drugs for those infected by parasitic helminths. These flatworms, including tapeworms that cause hydatid diseases and neurocysticercosis, liver flukes, and blood flukes (schistosomes), infect more than 300 million people and cause approx... Read More

How Cells Know Which Way To Go

Two new studies shed light on how cells sense and respond to chemical trails. Amoebas aren’t the only cells that crawl: Movement is crucial to development, wound healing and immune response in animals, not to mention cancer metastasis. In two new studies from Johns Hopkins, researchers answer lo... Read More

Using microscopic bugs to save the bees

For decades, honeybees have been battling a deadly disease that kills off their babies (larvae) and leads to hive collapse. It’s called American Foulbrood and its effects are so devastating and infectious, it often requires infected hives to be burned to the ground.

Treating Foulbrood is comp... Read More

Fecal Transplanters Fish Out Key Ingredient

These days, antibiotics are no silver bullet. In fact, if you get them in the hospital, you may end up with an additional infection. Like the bug Clostridium difficile, or C. diff — which infects more than 300,000 Americans a year and kills some 14,000. C. diff flourishes in the post-antibiotic,... Read More

Airborne Environmental Isolate/Fungal view 1

An unknown airborne environmental isolate on Bile Esculin Agar (BEA) exhibiting a single circular colony. White hyphal growth with no spore formation. Clear to brownish exudate can be seen throughout the colony. This sample grew at refrigerated temperatures for several months. The agar surroun... Read More

Ebola Gorilla Vaccine Could Prevent Human Outbreaks

Humans are not the only primates ravaged by the deadly Ebola virus. Chimps and gorillas are also susceptible to the disease. The current Ebola epidemic, the biggest in human history, may have started with the butchering of an infected fruit bat. But it just as easily could have come from a chimp... Read More

BacterioFiles 188 - Rat Residents Relieve Resin Roughness

This episode: Gut bacteria in Mojave desert woodrats help them detoxify and eat toxic creosote bushes!


(10 MB, 10.8 minutes)


Show notes: 
News item/ Read More

Bacteria Allow Woodrats to Eat Poison

This article was first published in 2013 on the website for the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Many plants do not want to be eaten. They avoid this fate by producing deadly toxins and carcinogenic poisons, such as those associated with the aptly named poison ivy, poison sumac... Read More

Crowdsourcing To Solve Microbe Mysteries

Scientists hope to unlock the secrets of millions of marine microbes from waters as far apart as Sydney’s Botany Bay and the Amazon River in Brazil, with the help of an international team of volunteers sharing their spare computer capacity to create a research “supercomputer”.

The project, co... Read More

Ancient Viruses Lurk In Frozen Caribou Poo

A careful examination of frozen caribou poop has turned up two never-before-seen viruses.

The viruses are hundreds of years old: One of them probably infected plants the caribous ate. The other may have infected insects that buzzed around the animals.

The findings prove viruses can survive... Read More

More scary than Halloween: this month in germophobia microbophobia

From microBEnet, by Jonathan Eisen

It seems that any time a holiday comes around in the US, the press starts to ramp up the writing of stories about evil microbes that are lurking all around us. And Halloween appears to be no exception. I am now planning on referring to this attitude as “micr... Read More

How Did Nigeria Quash Its Ebola Outbreak So Quickly?

On July 20 a man who was ill flew on commercial planes from the heart of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria's largest city. That man became Nigeria's first Ebola case—the index patient. In a matter of weeks some 19 people across two states were diagnosed with the disease (with one a... Read More

Rotavirus-Infected Cell

Rotavirus-infected cell revealing numerous viral factories in the cytoplasm.

Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Click "source" to view image. Read More

Could copper prevent spread of Ebola?

Research from the University of Southampton has indicated that copper could help to prevent the spread of Ebola.

Hand washing, disinfectants and quarantine procedures alone have been found to be insufficient to contain the spread of the virus. Research by Professor Bill Keevil at the Universi... Read More

Microbial ‘Vaccine’ Helps Keep Mosquitoes Disease-Free

Mosquitoes that harbor a soil microbe called Chromobacterium Csp_P have a harder time catching dengue virus and the malarial parasite. Christopher Intagliata reports.

The human microbiome is the community of tiny organisms that live on us and inside us. These critters play vital roles in our ... Read More

Viral Switches Share a Shape

A hinge in the RNA genome of the virus that causes hepatitis C works like a switch that can be flipped to prevent it from replicating in infected cells. Scientists have discovered that this shape is shared by several other viruses—among them one that kills cancer cells.

That’s Seneca Valley v... Read More

Ebola and the Vast Viral Universe

Behind the hellish Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa lies an agent that fittingly embodies the mad contradictions of a nightmare. It is alive yet dead, simple yet complex, mindless yet prophetic, seemingly able to anticipate our every move.

For scientists who study the evolution and behavio... Read More

More attention to measles, vaccine experts urge

Doctors and public health authorities need to renew their attention to measles, researchers from Emory Vaccine Center urge in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Because of its high level of contagiousness, measles is the indicator disease for weaknesses of an immunization p... Read More
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