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Pictures Considered #18. Pictures of Shigella by Shiga

The journal Zentralblatt für Bakteriologie, Parasitenkunde u. Infektionskrankheiten was one of the leading publication in the early days of Microbiology. Many of the great discoveries of microbial pathogens were published therein. An example is the 1898 Japanese microbiologist Kiyoshi Shiga acco... Read More

‘Tis the Season to be Sweating

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

Calcium makes for an environmentally friendly pickle

George Washington had a collection of 476 kinds of pickles. To prevent scurvy, Christopher Columbus stocked pickles on the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Julius Caesar, believing pickles to be invigorating, added them to the Roman legions' diet. In 5000 BCE, the Babylonians were known for picklin... Read More

New analysis of 'swine flu' pandemic conflicts with accepted views on how diseases spread

The most detailed analysis to date of the spread of the H1N1 2009 pandemic influenza virus, known informally as ‘swine flu’, has found that short-range travel was likely the primary driver for the 2009 pandemic in the United States, in contrast with popularly accepted views on the way diseases s... Read More

New material improves wound healing, keeps bacteria from sticking

As many patients know, treating wounds has become far more sophisticated than sewing stitches and applying gauze, but dressings still have shortcomings. Now scientists are reporting the next step in the evolution of wound treatment with a material that leads to faster healing than existing comme... Read More

Choosing cheese: Research identifies microbial communities in cheese

After studying 137 varieties of cheese collected in 10 different countries, researchers have been able to identify three general types of microbial communities that live on cheese, opening the door to using each as a 'model' community for the study of whether and how various microbes and fungi c... Read More

Mollusk parasite culturing methods drive research

Researchers at Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences dug into the last 70 years of peer-reviewed publications about protozoan parasites that infest bivalve mollusks and found that when an organism can be cultured in the laboratory, more papers and greater understanding result. Senior Research S... Read More

GW Researcher Unlocks Next Step in Creating HIV-1 Immunotherapy Using Fossil Virus

The road to finding a cure for HIV-1 is not without obstacles. However, thanks to cutting-edge research by Douglas Nixon, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues, performed at the George Washington University (GW), Oregon Health & Science University, the University of Rochester, and UC San Francisco, the sc... Read More

Virus kills triple negative breast cancer cells, tumor cells in mice

A virus not known to cause disease kills triple-negative breast cancer cells and killed tumors grown from these cells in mice, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers. Understanding how the virus kills cancer may lead to new treatments for breast cancer.

Adeno-associated virus... Read More

Microbe, Enzyme or Mineral? A Riddle in the Soil

When most people look at soil, they just see dirt. When I look at soil, I see billions of microorganisms crawling atop one another, consuming the dead in a feasting frenzy that stops for nothing save a deep freeze. I see microbes and their enzymes, the digestive juices that break down, transform... Read More

Brewing yeasts reveal secrets of chromosomal warfare and dysfunction

Using two yeasts that have been used to brew tea and beer for centuries, researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have revealed how reproductive barriers might rapidly arise to create species boundaries. Schizosaccharomyces pombe has been used to brew beer in Africa, whereas its clo... Read More

Oregon geologist says Curiosity's images show Earth-like soils on Mars

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

Natural History is Dying, and We Are All the Losers

A few weeks ago, I came across a new paper in BioScience called “Natural History’s Place in Science and Society” that contained the following graph.

On the right axis and indicated by the line surrounded by dots is the proportion of introductory biology texts devoted to natural history since ... Read More

Bacteria: A day in the life

MIT study finds ocean bacteria follow predictable patterns of daily activity.

We are all creatures of habit, and a new MIT study finds ocean bacteria are no exception.

In a paper published this week in Science, researchers from MIT and elsewhere report that microbes in the open ocean follo... Read More

When the Microbe Hits the Metal

Some heavy metals share a long history with microbes. Many of the metabolic processes that sustain life are believed to have originated from spontaneous reactions involving metals present in the early Earth. Our microbial ancestors figured out quickly how to use those metal catalysts to generate... Read More

ULTRASMALL BACTERIA FROM ANTARCTIC LAKE RAISE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE LIMITS OF LIFE

Imagine you were forced to live in perpetually subzero temperatures, with no oxygen, no light, and way more salt than your system could handle. How would you manage? One way might be to get extremely small. At least, that seems to be what’s happening in a frozen Antarctic lake that’s cut off fro... Read More

Molecular Computer Detects Ebola and Marburg Viruses

Material from deadly pathogens triggers alerts directly, and could speed detection. Early detection is key to slowing outbreaks of Ebola, such as the one currently spreading across west Africa that is estimated to have infected almost 1000 people, according to the latest World Health Organizatio... Read More

TWiP 75 letters


David writes (re lice and iron):


All I remember that I know is that one time I let my cat endure a heavy flea infestation for an unconscionably long time. I redeemed myself, if at all, by the knowledge that I slept with her a lot, and so endured a share myself (b... Read More

Smallpox Virus Found In Unsecured NIH Lab

Scientists cleaning out an old laboratory on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Md., last week came across a startling discovery: vials labeled "variola" — in other words, smallpox.

Under international convention, there are supposed to be only two stashes of this deadly vir... Read More

Urease: an anti-microbial target in bacteria and fungi

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
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