From Swiss to cheddar, cheeses depend on the action of microbes for their flavor and aroma. But it's far from clear how these teams of microbes work together to ripen cheese.
To a cheese-maker, that's just the beauty of the art. To a scientist, it sounds like an experiment waiting to happen.
... Read More
The seafloor off the coast of Chile is carpeted with bacterial mats of gigantic proportions. They cover an area as large as that of the state of Alabama. Their total weight is of the order of 100 million tons, which probably makes this the largest single species microbiome on Earth. The mats con... Read More
Designer Wei Lei poses a challenging, and fascinating question: Would you lick a delicious treat that resembles a prickly cactus or a deadly E. coli bacterium?
The Chinese designer’s collection of sweets, Dangerous Popsicles, transforms frozen sugar water into colorful spiny treats inspired b... Read More
Scientists who unlocked the genetic code of bacteria grown from a soldier who died of dysentery say it revealed a superbug that was resistant to antibiotics decades before those drugs were in common use.
The discovery sheds light on the history of antibiotic resistance, which has become a glo... Read More
A music video making the rounds on YouTube entitled “One Truth,” is dedicated to all of the brave researchers, healthcare workers, and others who have put their lives on the line to save people during the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease. Pardis Sabeti, MD, DPhil, an NIH-funded New Innovat... Read More
Many factors, both genetic and environmental, have been blamed for increasing the risk of a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Some, such as a family history of schizophrenia, are widely accepted. Others, such as infection with Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite transmitted by soil, undercooked meat and cat... Read More
A deadly disease that is wiping out salamanders in parts of Europe will inevitably reach the U.S. through the international wildlife trade unless steps are taken to halt its spread, says University of Maryland amphibian expert Karen Lips.
The recently described fungus, Batrachochytrium salama... Read More
The Foraminifera ("forams") are among the largest and most abundant of all unicellular organisms. They can reach 20 cm in length and 18 cm in width, and the shells surrounding them are even bigger, up to 30 cm in length. They have existed in prodigious numbers that the remnants of their shells h... Read More
This is our first ever recommendation of an article published outside the usual scientific venues, but after all the hype we have heard about the human microbiome we were delighted to finally read a balanced account of what the research tells us and what it does not tell us. Plus, this article w... Read More
Saudi scientists have found gene fragments of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in air from a barn housing an infected camel and say this suggests the disease may be transmitted through the air.
MERS, a serious respiratory illness caused by a virus known as a coronaviru... Read More
Genetic factors could play an important role in whether people survive the Ebola virus, say US scientists.
A study of mice infected with the virus found they showed a number of different symptoms, with 19% remaining unaffected by the disease.
This could explain why some people recover from... Read More
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
The enzymes and compounds produced by fungi are of great interest to the pharmaceutical, textile, paper and food industries. These organisms are capable of secreting, their nutritional needs are low and have high growth rate. A group of researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexi... Read More
Intracellular pathogens face many daunting problems, among them how to obtain enough energy and nutrients for active growth while, preferably, keeping the host cell alive for as long as possible. This issue is especially acute for pathogens that grow at a fast rate and reach large numbers. When ... Read More
As will be argued below the present definition of a prokaryote is highly unsatisfactory. To give an example: a prokaryote is "a cell or organism lacking a nucleus and other membrane-enclose organelles, usually having its DNA in a single circular molecule" (Brock, Biology of Microorganisms, 10th ... Read More
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
While Hollywood loves to imagine humans encountering all manner of horrific monsters in the depths of space, the greatest threat to a long-term, manned space mission may not come with tentacles, or extra mouths, or an insatiable love for human flesh. It may, in fact, be the invisible microbes t... Read More
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced plans on October 24 to produce millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines by the end of 2015.
Hundreds of thousands of doses should be available to help affected countries before the end of June, the WHO said at the conclusion of a meeti... Read More
"... These results, gained with a novel method for blotting (E. M. Southern, manuscript in preparation), have also led to the identification of the Bam Hl recognition sequence". It is rather unusual to find unpublished work referred to in the abstract of a paper, to put it mildly. But this was e... Read More
Researchers have made great progress in recent years in the design and creation of biological circuits — systems that, like electronic circuits, can take a number of different inputs and deliver a particular kind of output. But while individual components of such biological circuits can have pre... Read More