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Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires

Physicists report that they've used a new imaging technique, electrostatic force microscopy, to resolve the biological debate with evidence from physics, showing that electric charges do indeed propagate along microbial nanowires just as they do in carbon nanotubes, a highly conductive human-mad... Read More

Superbugs should scare you more than Ebola in US

The first case of Ebola in the United States was announced today, with a patient in Dallas who traveled to the US from Liberia. The resultant hysteria and xenophobia prompts this reminder. There is NO need to panic.

Ebola is NOT transmitted before a patient develops symptoms. Ebola is transmi... Read More

Amphibian communities collapse in wake of viral outbreak

Two closely related viruses that have been introduced to northern Spain in recent years have already led to the collapse of three different species of amphibian -- the common midwife toad, the common toad, and the alpine newt -- in the protected area of Picos de Europa National Park. In all, six... Read More

'Breath test' shows promise for diagnosing fungal pneumonia

Many different microbes can cause pneumonia, and treatment may be delayed or off target if doctors cannot tell which bug is the culprit. A novel approach—analyzing a patient's breath for key chemical compounds made by the infecting microbe—may help detect invasive aspergillosis, a fungal infecti... Read More

Tick protein does the trick to fight infection

A protein in ticks that protects them against the cold could inspire a new class of antibiotics for humans, according to a Yale University study.

Scientists discovered that IAFGP, an antifreeze protein in ticks that kicks in during winter, also fights infection. Synthesizing such a protein ma... Read More

Plants prepackage beneficial microbes in their seeds

Plants have a symbiotic relationship with certain bacteria. These 'commensal' bacteria help the plants extract nutrients and defend against invaders -- an important step in preventing pathogens from contaminating fruits and vegetables. Now, scientists have discovered that plants may package thei... Read More

First Ebola Case Diagnosed in the U.S.

Federal officials today announced the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S. The male patient was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and placed in strict isolation on September 28 after flying from Liberia to visit family in north Texas. The patient left Liberia on Septembe... 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

Bacteria may have ability to reduce impact of diazepam on UK river environments

The natural photo degradation of diazepam (valium) and similar medicines – followed by bacterial breakdown – may reduce their potentially harmful impact on the UK’s freshwater environment, a team of researchers has said.

Diazepam – used to treat anxiety and other similar conditions – has been... Read More

Lessons from the ‘Spanish Flu,’ Nearly 100 Years Later

Just in time for flu season, a new Michigan State University study of “the mother of all pandemics” could offer insight into infection control measures for the flu and other epidemic diseases.

Siddharth Chandra, director of MSU’s Asian Studies Center and professor in MSU’s James Madison Colle... Read More

Flu viruses disguised as waste

Viruses cannot multiply without cellular machinery. Although extensive research into how pathogens invade cells has been conducted for a number of viruses, we do not fully understand how the shell of a virus is cracked open during the onset of infection thus releasing the viral genome. An ETH Zu... Read More

Viral-research moratorium called too broad

Us government ban on research into enhanced pathogens also affects flu surveillance and vaccine work.

US researchers are worried that a temporary government ban on 'gain-of-function' experiments that boost the infectious properties of dangerous viruses may also cover less-extreme forms of the... Read More

Ebola’s evolutionary roots more ancient than previously thought, study finds

A new study is helping to rewrite Ebola’s family history.

The research shows that filoviruses — a family to which Ebola and its similarly lethal relative, Marburg, belong — are at least 16-23 million years old.

Filoviruses likely existed in the Miocene Epoch, and at that time, the evolutio... Read More

Without swift influx of substantial aid, Ebola epidemic in Africa poised to explode

The Ebola virus disease epidemic already devastating swaths of West Africa will likely get far worse in the coming weeks and months unless international commitments are significantly and immediately increased, new research led by Yale researchers predicts.

The findings are published in the Oc... 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

On the trail of the truffle flavour

German an French Scientists found out: Soil bacteria contribute to the taste and smell of white truffles.

Truffles, along with caviar, are among the most expensive foods in the world. Because they grow underground, people use trained dogs or pigs to find them. But the distinctive smell of tru... Read More

Two More Questions about CRISPRs

Over the past eight years, step-by-step, researchers have established a basic understanding of the CRISPR defenses against foreign DNA so widely used by both bacteria and archaea. We related the early story on STC in 2008 and commented on six additional questions in 2011. Still, questions remain... 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

Mineralization of sand particles boosts microbial water filtration

Mineral coatings on sand particles actually encourage microbial activity in the rapid sand filters that are used to treat groundwater for drinking, according to a paper published ahead of print in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. These findings resoundingly refute, for the first time, the... Read More
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