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X-rays reveal how soil bacteria carry out surprising chemistry

03/04/2012
Their result, reported today in Nature (DOI: 10.1038/nature10865), details how a soil bacterium, Streptomyces lasaliensis, is able to convert an epoxide into a six-membered cyclic ether during synthesis of lasalocid, a natural polyether antibiotic. The fact that bacteria can perform such chemistry has puzzled chemists and biologists for decades because ...

phytoplankton seem from space

01/15/2012
In this Envisat image, a phytoplankton bloom swirls a figure-of-8 in the South Atlantic Ocean about 600 km east of the Falkland Islands. During this period in the southern hemisphere, the ocean becomes rich in minerals from the mixing of surface waters with deeper waters. Phytoplankton depend on these minerals, ...

Bacteria on Old-Growth Trees May Help Forests Grow

06/10/2011
Biology researchers discover that bacteria living in mosses on tree branches twice as effective at 'fixing' nitrogen as those on the ground. A new study by Dr. Zoë Lindo, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at McGill University, and Jonathan Whiteley, a doctoral student in the same department, ...

halorhodopsin microbial protein restores vision blind animals

06/29/2010
Scientists from the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI)say they have restored vision in retinitis pigmentosa using an archaebacterial protein, halorhodopsin. Introducing light-sensitive halorhodopsin into the remaining but nonfunctional cone photoreceptors of the retina of mice not only reactivates the cone cells’ ability to interact with the rest ...

Deep ocean yeilds promising results for microbiologists

06/21/2010
Research by a small group of microbiologists is revealing how marine microbes live in a mysterious area of the Earth: the realm just beneath the deep ocean floor. The ocean crust may be the largest biological reservoir on our planet. "I think this research is exciting because it offers us a ...

Machines and microbes will clean up oil

05/02/2010
There's no way to stop oily water from reaching land along the Gulf Coast, but experts will use tools both massive and microscopic to clean it up. Oil-soaked sand on beaches in the eastern Gulf Coast can be scooped up with heavy equipment, but the grassy marshes in the Mississippi Delta ...

Bacterial 'Conversations' Have Impact on Climate

03/18/2010
It’s wondrous how the vast and the infinitesimal combine to make our planet work. Scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have found that bacteria in the ocean, gathering in sort of “microbial block parties,” communicate and cooperate with each other to have a significant impact on how carbon dioxide ...

Mineral studies advance antibacterial alternatives

03/17/2010
The Haydel-Summers collaborative has added clarity to these distinctly muddy waters by screening more than 50 mineral mixtures (and aqueous extractions from them, known as leachates) marketed as health and cosmetic products using pathogens Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Only ...

Natural Selection acts on gene networks

02/18/2010
Natural selection – the force that drives evolution – acts not only on whole organisms and individual genes, but also on gene networks, according to a new study appearing in Nature this week.The finding suggests that natural selection is both more powerful and more complex than scientists recognized. Researchers found ...

Stopping Bacterial Infections Without Antibiotics

01/28/2010
New research at the A. James Clark School of Engineering could prevent bacterial infections using tiny biochemical machines nanofactories that can confuse bacteria and stop them from spreading, without the use of antibiotics.

Biofilms: Researchers Discover New Ways to Treat Chronic Infections

12/19/2009
Researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York, have identified three key regulators required for the formation and development of biofilms. The discovery could lead to new ways of treating chronic infections. Article: http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1000668

Leprosy susceptibility genes reported

12/17/2009
"Though leprosy is not common, the discoveries have significant ramifications for chronic infectious disorders and for host-pathogen interactions in other more prevalent mycobacterial diseases such as tuberculosis, said Edison Liu, M.D., Executive Director of GIS, one of the research institutes sponsored by Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "This ...

Puzzling 'Dance' of Electricity-Producing Bacteria Near Energy Sources

12/16/2009
The metal-metabolizing Shewanella oneidensis microbe does not just cling to metal in its environment, as previously thought. Instead, it harvests electrochemical energy obtained upon contact with the metal and swims furiously for a few minutes before landing again. Electrokinesis is more than a curiosity. Laboratory director and co-author Kenneth Nealson, the ...

Mineral Crusts pictures

11/21/2009
Photos of the mineral crust created by microbes.

Lava Cave Minerals Actually Microbe Poop

11/21/2009
Colorful cave deposits long thought to be ordinary minerals are actually mats of waste excreted by previously unknown types of microbes, scientists say. The microbes were found on the walls of lava tubes in Hawaii, New Mexico, and the Portuguese Azores islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean

New genomic model defines microbes by diet

09/09/2009
'The model we describe is useful in studying whole marine microbial communities, or metagenomes, to better understand how communities in specific locations are evolving,' said senior author Rick Cavicchioli of the University of New South Wales. 'In essence, by analysing and comparing the strategies of the dominant organisms we should ...

Biotransformed Blueberry Juice Fights Fat And Diabetes

09/02/2009
Biotransformation of the blueberry juice was achieved with a new strain of bacteria isolated from the blueberry flora, specifically called Serratia vaccinii, which increases the fruit's antioxidant effects. "The identification of the active compounds in biotransformed blueberry juice may result in the discovery of promising new antiobesity and antidiabetic molecules," ...

New 'Biofactories' Produce Rare Healing Substances

08/18/2009
One group of scientists reported a major advance toward that goal at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). They described the first successful method of producing the active ingredients in Devil's claw — ingredients that have made the Devil's claw a sensation in alternative medicine in ...

New Microbe Strain Makes More Electricity, Faster

08/03/2009
In their most recent experiments with Geobacter, the sediment-loving microbe whose hairlike filaments help it to produce electric current from mud and wastewater, Derek Lovley and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst supervised the evolution of a new strain that dramatically increases power output per cell and overall bulk ...

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