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Land of the bacteria-eaters

For hospital workers an outbreak of harmful bacteria in the wards is a nightmare, but what gives bacteria nightmares?

Perhaps the prospect of being eaten alive by a kind of viral parasite called a bacteriophage (bacteria eater): unlike antibiotics, which some bacteria have evolved a resistanc... Read More

Viral relics show cancer's 'footprint' on our evolution

Cancer has left its 'footprint' on our evolution, according to a study which examined how the relics of ancient viruses are preserved in the genomes of 38 mammal species.

Viral relics are evidence of the ancient battles our genes have fought against infection. Occasionally the retroviruses th... Read More

Study examines therapeutic bacteria’s ability to prevent obesity

A probiotic that prevents obesity could be on the horizon.

Bacteria that produce a therapeutic compound in the gut inhibit weight gain, insulin resistance and other adverse effects of a high-fat diet in mice, Vanderbilt University investigators have discovered.

“Of course it’s hard to spec... Read More

Untapped Plant Microbiome Could Help Feed Billions

The Human Microbiome Project revealed tens of trillions of microbes residing in and on humans. Now scientists are taking a census of plant microbes—and not just the hundreds of billions found in soils. Distinct microbial communities live inside roots, on leaves and within flowers, and all in all... Read More

Researchers Find New Way to Kick Out HIV From Infected Cells

The technique addresses the problem of hidden reservoirs of HIV in the body, and could herald a new way of battling the viral infection.

Once HIV invades the body, it doesn’t want to leave. Every strategy that scientists have developed or are developing so far to fight the virus – from powerf... Read More

U.K. Supermarket To Run On Electricity Made From Its Own Rotting Food

The joys of anaerobic digestion

One U.K. grocery store plans to power itself using biogas harvested from its own unsold, rotting produce. Yum.

A Sainsbury's store in Cannock in central England is getting access to anaerobic digesters. The store plans to use electricity solely from the dige... Read More

HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis: Success of the Millennium shown in most comprehensive study to date

Accelerated progress against the global burden of HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis (TB) has been made since 2000 when governments worldwide adopted Millennium Development Goal 6 to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB. New estimates from a major new analysis show that worldwide, the number of people l... Read More

More than glitter: Scientists explain how gold nanoparticles easily penetrate cells, making them useful for delivering drugs

A special class of tiny gold particles can easily slip through cell membranes, making them good candidates to deliver drugs directly to target cells.

A new study from MIT materials scientists reveals that these nanoparticles enter cells by taking advantage of a route normally used in vesicle-... Read More

Report on Viruses Looks Beyond Disease

Recently, the American Academy of Microbiology released a new report, Viruses Throughout Life & Time: Friends, Foes, Change Agents that delves into the origin of viruses, the overlooked biological and microbial ecological role of viruses, and how these live forms have contributed to evolution. T... Read More

MERS virus detected in air samples from Saudi camel barn

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

TWiP 75: Parasite wonders with Bobbi Pritt

Bobbi Pritt joins Vincent and Dickson to talk about directing a clinical parasitology laboratory and her weekly case reports at Creepy Dreadful Wonderful Parasites.


Hosts: Vincent Racaniello and  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

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

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

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

BacterioFiles 175 - Bacteria Build Better Biofilms

This episode: Engineered bacteria can be made to produce many different useful kinds of biofilm!


(10.5 MB, 11.5 minutes)


Show notes: 
News item 1/ Read More

TWiV 294: Smallpox and anthrax and flu, oh my!

The TWiV team reviews the discovery of old vials of smallpox virus at NIH, anthrax and influenza mishaps at CDC, the baby who was not cured of HIV, Cambridge Working Group, and sacking of NSABB members.


Hosts:  Read More

First local case of tropical disease chikungunya debuts in the U.S.

The day we knew would come is finally here. The first locally acquired case of the tropical disease chikungunya was reported in the U.S. today.

The mosquito-borne viral disease first debuted in the Western Hemisphere last year and has since sprawled across the Caribbean, with cases in Puerto ... Read More

Poor Oversight Catches Up with High-Security Infectious Agent and Disease Labs

The Centers for Disease Control plans to take measures to better protect lab workers and the rest of us from dangerous biological samples.

Twenty-one dead lab chickens piled up this spring at a government facility before its researchers could pinpoint why. The team had requested and received ... 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

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