This is the time of the year of increased physical activity when we pay special attention to certain parts of the body, including the armpit. As is usually the case, our microbiota is involved because the odor associated with sweating is produced by microbial activity. The main culprits are skin... Read More
The joys of anaerobic digestion
One U.K. grocery store plans to power itself using biogas harvested from its own unsold, rotting produce. Yum.
A Sainsbury's store in Cannock in central England is getting access to anaerobic digesters. The store plans to use electricity solely from the dige... Read More
Scientists in the United States and India have successfully modified the precursor to one of the drugs used to treat tuberculosis, an important first step toward new drugs that can transcend antibiotic resistance issues that experts consider a serious threat to global health.
The findings, re... Read More
A few years back Rogan Brown moved from London to a remote region of France. “It was an overwhelming experience,” he says, “and as an artist I was looking for a way to come to terms with my new environment.” Landscape painting seemed too staid, so he started trying to recreate bits of the teemin... Read More
Urea is a small molecule formed as proteins are broken down. It’s excreted in urine, but isn’t particularly toxic at low levels so it’s found in cells throughout the body. The molecular structure of urea is below, and as it contains nitrogen (N) several pathogens have adapted to use it as a nitr... Read More
A former student dropped by my lab this morning, and brought me a gift: a knit bacteriophage! Many times, as educators, we hear what we haven't done well, or could do better. Sometimes, like today, we get a priceless "thank you" from a former student. Read More
A probiotic that prevents obesity could be on the horizon.
Bacteria that produce a therapeutic compound in the gut inhibit weight gain, insulin resistance and other adverse effects of a high-fat diet in mice, Vanderbilt University investigators have discovered.
“Of course it’s hard to spec... Read More
One of the Wellcome Trust’s areas of focus for research funding is combatting infectious disease. We have recently agreed a strategic award of over £7.5 million to continue development of an effective and sustainable approach to reducing the transmission of dengue fever. The research is an inte... Read More
A new test for HPV has been cleared as way to screen for cervical cancer, but doctors are concerned that it doesn't do enough to protect younger women.
By its name alone, the Pap smear sounds like an uncomfortable procedure. Say it aloud: Pap smear. And it’s not too pretty to experience eithe... Read More
Hello TWiM team,
Recently, the American Academy of Microbiology released a new report, Viruses Throughout Life & Time: Friends, Foes, Change Agents that delves into the origin of viruses, the overlooked biological and microbial ecological role of viruses, and how these live forms have contributed to evolution. T... Read More
When it comes to infecting humans and animals, bacteria need a helping hand.
Kansas State University biochemists have found the helping hand: groups of tiny protein loops on the surface of cells. These loops are similar to the fingers of a hand, and by observing seven individual loops on the ... Read More
A third of the global population is infected with the bacterial pathogen that causes tuberculosis. Most carriers control the infection and are asymptomatic, but severe forms of the disease kill over a million people every year. A new article now identifies a factor made by the host that exacerba... Read More
Soil deep in a crater dating to some 3.7 billion years ago contains evidence that Mars was once much warmer and wetter, says University of Oregon geologist Gregory Retallack, based on images and data captured by the rover Curiosity.
NASA rovers have shown Martian landscapes littered with loos... Read More
In the search for a renewable energy source, systems using algae look like a good bet. Algae can grow quickly and in high concentrations in areas unsuitable for agriculture; and as they grow, they accumulate large quantities of lipids, carbon-containing molecules that can be extracted and conver... Read More
A new combination drug therapy cures chronic hepatitis C in most patients also infected with HIV—and without the side effects of current treatments.
The advance is important, researchers say, because about a third of HIV patients in the United States also have hepatitis C. There are an estima... Read More
The armed guards at Mali's Bamako Senou International Airport had never seen a German shepherd before. The only dogs they were familiar with were the small, scrappy mixed breeds that are common in West Africa. So when Dana, a wolf-like purebred from California, stepped off a plane and into the a... Read More
Microbiota buffs repeat it often these days, proudly reminding the public that the microbial cells associated with humans outnumber their host cells by a ratio of ten-to-one. In his letter in the February 2014 Microbe, however, Judah L. Rosner of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) makes a s... Read More
A special class of tiny gold particles can easily slip through cell membranes, making them good candidates to deliver drugs directly to target cells.
A new study from MIT materials scientists reveals that these nanoparticles enter cells by taking advantage of a route normally used in vesicle-... Read More
Disappointed federal officials today announced that the “Mississippi baby,” thought to have been cured of HIV with an aggressive treatment regimen, now has detectable levels of virus. The sad news, upsetting for the family of the 46-month-old girl, also dashed the hopes of clinicians who believe... Read More