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This Little Amoeba Committed Grand Theft

About 100 million years ago, a lowly amoeba pulled off a stunning heist, grabbing genes from an unsuspecting bacterium to replace those it had lost.

Now Rutgers and other scientists have solved the mystery of how the little amoeba, Paulinella, committed the theft. It engulfed the bacterium, k... Read More

New Discovery Offers Hope for Crohn’s Disease

Exciting new research in the medical journal MBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, offers hope for sufferers of the debilitating illness known as Crohn’s Disease.

Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that involves inflammation of the lining of the bowels and th... Read More

Morel mushrooms pop up, cluster together after wildfires

Avid mushroom hunters will tell you that fire is essential for finding morels. These fungi, distinguishable for their dark, honeycomblike caps, pop out of the ground by the bushel in spring after a large wildfire.

This ecological knowledge is mostly anecdotal, shared among morel enthusiasts f... Read More

Scientists uncover new facets of Zika-related birth defects

In the new study, the scientists observed the virus's effects in animal models at two different points -- during early postnatal development, when the brain is growing rapidly, and at weaning, when the brain has largely reached adult size.

"In early postnatal Zika-infected models some brain a... Read More

Culex mosquitoes do not transmit Zika virus, Kansas State University study finds

A Biosecurity Research Institute study has found important results in the fight against Zika virus: Culex mosquitoes do not appear to transmit Zika virus.

Researchers at Kansas State University's Biosecurity Research Institute studied Culex species mosquitoes from across the country, includin... Read More

BacterioFiles 270 - Bacteria Block Bug Babies

This episode: Insect gut microbes can be engineered to act as birth control, population control, or disease control for bugs!

(13.3 MB, 14.5 minutes)

Show notes: 

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Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan Wins Nobel Prize in Medicine

Yoshinori Ohsumi, a Japanese cell biologist and ASM member, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday for his discoveries on how cells recycle their content, a process known as autophagy.

In a series of experiments in the early 1990s, Dr. Ohsumi used baker’s yeast to ide... Read More

New research offers insights into managing agricultural runoff and coastal dead zones

A study published today in Ecology Letters adds to a growing body of work examining the relationship between harmful algal blooms in the Gulf of Mexico and agricultural runoff. The article focuses on water chemistry, specifically the ratio of dissolved silica to dissolved inorganic nitrogen in 1... Read More

TWiM 137 Letters

Daniel writes:

Long time listener, first time writer. It has been far too long for me to offer my sincere gratitude for the podcasts. Some years ago I was a welder working a very boring job and I managed to get through my day by listening to podcasts and l... Read More

Breaking a bacterial-made magnet apart

Currently, it is well established that prokaryotes possess cytoskeleton and organelles. This image depicts how magnetic organelles, magnetosomes, are properly partitioned and segregated by a mechanism that relies on the treadmilling of a dedicated cytoskeletal structure, the actin-like MamK fila... Read More

MWV 107 - The Necrobiome: Microbial Life After Death

What happens to us after we die?  A decomposing corpse becomes its own mini-ecosystem, hosting insects, scavengers and multitudes of microbes.  Microbes from the environment, the corpse, as well as the insects and scavengers are blended together and work to recycle tissues back to t... Read More

Experiment in monkeys raises hopes of "functional cure" for HIV

A new drug combination helped stave off a monkey version of HIV for nearly two years after stopping all treatments, raising hopes for a functional cure for HIV, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

The treatment involved standard HIV drugs, known as antiretroviral therapy or ART, plus an experi... Read More

BacterioFiles 273 - Bottle-Biting Bacteria

This episode: Newly discovered bacteria can break down especially long-lived type of plastic!

(6.4 MB, 7 minutes)

Show notes: 

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Frederick C. Neidhardt (1931 − 2016) An Obituary

A towering figure in microbiology, our friend Fred Neidhardt died on October 7, 2016 at his re­tire­ment home, the Academy Village near Tucson AZ. He made fundamental and abiding con­tri­bu­tions to research, teaching, academic administration, and social issues. In each, he left deep-root­ed mar... Read More

Happy couple

Happy bacteria couple drawn on TSA plate using a MRSA culture.
This picture illustrates how happy bacteria can become when people don't take all the antibiotic treatment correctly. Antibiotic resistance is a big problem nowadays. Read More

Bacteria on Device Said to Infect at Least 12 Patients in Pennsylvania

A device used during open-heart surgery that infected at least 12 patients at a Pennsylvania hospital last year was probably tainted at the plant in Germany where it was made, a federal investigation has found.

The device, called a heater-cooler machine, uses water to regulate the temperature... Read More

Cyanophages: Maximizing the Photo– and Redirecting the –Synthesis

Daniel Haeusser, an Assistant Professor in the Biology De­part­ment of Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, discusses the misconception of assuming that photosynthesis exists as single process of strict coupling between energy conversion and carbohydrate production. Read More

Oxidase Test

The oxidase test is performed using a reducing agent to detect bacteria’s ability to produce cytochrome c oxidase, an enzyme in the electron transport chain. The reducing agent (N,N,N′,N′-tetramethyl-p-phenylenediamine (TMPD)) changes or produces a purple color as it become oxidized. Pseudom... Read More

Generation Zika

U.S. public health officials are bracing for a wave of babies with severe Zika-related birth defects. The latest official numbers suggest 808 pregnant women in the U.S. appear to have been infected with Zika. Yet doctors are also steeling themselves for the possibility of birth abnormalities in ... Read More

Antarctica is practically defined by ice: What happens when it melts?

A single season of intense melting buffeted Antarctica in 2001-2002. It yielded changes that ranged from speeding up microbial food webs to shifting penguin populations. A special section in the October issue of BioScience examines the impacts on two very different Antarctic ecosystems.

...... Read More
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