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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

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

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

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: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zika infects neural cells related to skull formation, affecting their function

Cranial neural crest cells--which give rise to the bones and cartilage of the skull--are vulnerable to Zika virus, report Stanford University School of Medicine researchers September 29 in Cell Host & Microbe. The discovery, made by infecting in vitro cultures of human cells, offers a potential ... 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

Soil microbes flourish with reduced tillage

For the past several decades, farmers have been abandoning their plows in favor of a practice known as no-till agriculture. Today, about one-third of U.S. farmers are no longer tilling their fields, and still more are practicing conservation tillage—using equipment that only disturbs the soil to... Read More

A New Zika Zone in Miami, but No Reason to Panic, Scientists Say

Florida announced a new Zika transmission zone on Thursday, saying that the virus had popped up in a mile-square patch of northern Miami and that five people had been infected.

The area, around the Little Haiti neighborhood, goes from NW 79th Street in the north to NW 63rd Street in the south... Read More

Potentially life-threatening fungus found in water distribution systems of five French hospitals

A specific strain of the fungus, Fusarium oxysporum, circulates in the water distribution systems of five French hospitals, in two widely separated cities. This microbe is potentially a life-threatening risk to immunocompromised patients. The research is published September 23, 2016 in Applied a... Read More

The Five-second Rule Debunked

In a very interesting development, a latest study has debunked the belief that it was safe to eat food fallen on the floor if picked up within “five seconds”.
Professor Donald W Schaffner, a food microbiologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said a two-year study he led concluded that no ... Read More

Bacteria: Third RNA binding protein identified

Small regulatory RNA molecules are vital for salmonella and other bacteria potentially harmful to humans: This RNA type controls gene activity and allows bacteria to quickly adjust to changing conditions of living and stress as are typical during an infection, for example, when entering the bloo... Read More
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