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Soil bacterium causes biofuel breakdown

Biofuels made from plant materials—also known as lignocellulosic biofuels—have promise as a source of sustainable alternative fuels thanks to soil bacterium known as Enterobacter lignolyticus SCF1. SCF1 degrades lignin and decomposes plant cell walls, allowing access to the cellulose sugars that... Read More

Staph Germs Hide Out In The Hidden Recesses Of Your Nose

Otherwise innocuous bacteria can cause deadly infections when people have surgery or fall ill. To prevent trouble, patients sometimes have their bodies scrubbed clean of Staphylococcus aureus. But it doesn't always work.

That may because the germs thrive in upper recesses of the nose, far fro... Read More

Warmer temperatures push malaria to higher elevations

Researchers have debated for more than two decades the likely impacts, if any, of global warming on the worldwide incidence of malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that infects more than 300 million people each year. University of Michigan ecologists and their colleagues are reporting the first har... Read More

Researchers open door to new HIV therapy

BERKELEY — People infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can stave off the symptoms of AIDS thanks to drug cocktails that mainly target three enzymes produced by the virus, but resistant strains pop up periodically that threaten to thwart these drug combos. Researchers at the Unive... 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

E. coli Keeps Its Powder Dry

Whether inhabiting soil, fresh water, or marine ecosystems, bacteria are constantly facing the threat of numerous and effective predators such as protists, nematodes, or phages. To defend against such predation, bacteria have evolved a number of strategies, including getting larger in size, movi... Read More

Engineers design ‘living materials’ - Hybrid materials combine bacterial cells with nonliving elements that can conduct electricity or emit light

Inspired by natural materials such as bone — a matrix of minerals and other substances, including living cells — MIT engineers have coaxed bacterial cells to produce biofilms that can incorporate nonliving materials, such as gold nanoparticles and quantum dots.

These “living materials” combin... Read More

MDR Infection Risk Rises With Each Hospital Day

Extended stays in hospital appeared to increase the risk of infection with a multidrug-resistant Gram-negative pathogen, researchers said.

In a single-center study, the risk of such infection rose by 1% for every day in hospital, according to Tonya Smith, PharmD, of the University of Utah.

... Read More

Scientists Convert Bacteria from Free-living to Nitrogen Fixing

If you pull up a soybean or bean plant and shake off the dirt, you might see odd swellings or bumps, like rheumatic finger joints, on its roots. Inside the cool, soil-covered bumps are bacteria that are making nitrogen with the help of an enzyme, something chemical factories can do only with the... Read More

Bacteria show surprising number of genetic paths to survival

A boy with cystic fibrosis develops a chronic and potentially deadly Burkholderia dolosa infection in his lungs. Varieties of genetic mutations allow some strains of the bacteria to survive the dual assaults from his immune system and antibiotics, while others perish. Eventually, the strongest m... Read More

WHO warns against 'post-antibiotic' era

The 'post-antibiotic' era is near, according to a report released today by the World Health Organization (WHO). The decreasing effectiveness of antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents is a global problem, and a surveillance system should be established to monitor it, the group says. There is ... Read More

Florida citrus growers worry that deadly bacteria will mean end of orange juice

The sprawling citrus orchard that Victor Story toured recently sure looked like a steal at $11,000 an acre. The investors who owned it were going to lose money, and potential buyers such as Story might have stood to reap a handsome reward.

But as he bumped along the 40 acres of groves in a la... Read More

Self-Assembly For Me

I have the grating feeling that the subject of self-assembly of complex biological structures may not always amass the level of respect it deserves. I reckon that its importance is generally appreciated but, as topics go, it tends at times to be set aside. Yet, this is one of the most magnificen... 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

Recalling the Good in the Good Old Days

In its early days, ca. 1945-1965, molecular biology was a particularly collegial undertaking, characterized by free sharing of research data and a relative lack of egotistical behavior. The reason for this marvel may well have been that there was so much to discover—so many low hanging fruits—th... Read More

Of Terms in Biology: Metagenomic Binning

Summer's almost gone. Imagine you're strolling along the shores of a lake enjoying nature's colors during sunset. Sparkle catches your eyes where the lake languidly laps against the shore. You start pondering whether microbes — and if so which ones, and how many different — cause these glistenin... Read More

One Dose of Flu Drug Shortens Fever

A single dose of an investigational influenza drug was able to reduce the duration of fever and viral shedding, researchers said here.

In a combined analysis of two randomized placebo-controlled trials, the neuraminidase inhibitor peramivir (Rapivab), given by injection within 48 hours of sym... Read More

Herpes infected humans before they were human

Researchers have identified the evolutionary origins of human herpes simplex virus (HSV) -1 and -2, reporting that the former infected hominids before their evolutionary split from chimpanzees 6 million years ago while the latter jumped from ancient chimpanzees to ancestors of modern humans -- H... Read More

Family Tree Of Pertussis Traced, Could Lead To Better Vaccine

Whooping cough was once one of the leading killers of babies around the world. Now that it's largely controlled with a vaccine, scientists have had a chance to figure out how the disease came into being in the first place. That story is told in a study published online this week in the journal m... Read More

Microbiome in gut, mouth, and skin of low birth weight infants differentiate over first weeks after birth

Low birth weight infants are host to numerous microorganisms immediately after birth, and the microbiomes of their mouths and gut start out very similar but differentiate significantly by day 15 according to a study in mBio this week. Researchers from Stanford University and the University of Pi... Read More

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