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Fine Reading: Exploring the Microbial Dark Matter

We live in a world run by microbes, the vast majority of which we have yet to identify or name. We can only refer to them collectively as the microbial dark matter (MDM). However you define a prokaryotic species, and however you tally them once identified, there is a huge gap between the 12,000 ... Read More

The grim trail of bacteria left by flies in hot weather is revealed

The current hot spell of weather has seen increased activities by flies whether in the kitchen or across picnic food and barbecues.

It may make grim reading but every fly leaves a calling card in the form of bacterial deposits.

These deposits come not only from their legs, but also from th... Read More

Pictures Considered #10. The Origin of Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis

In May 1984, readers of an article by Schwartz and Cantor in the prestigious journal Cell were to stumble upon pictures of DNA agarose gels that were among the lousiest of such ever published after the method was introduced in the early 70s. Why did the editors of Cell risk their reputation? Or ... Read More

Dengue Fever Makes Inroads into the U.S.

The mosquito-borne infection is cropping up in Florida, but mysteriously not in similar regions in the nation.

Most Americans lose little sleep over dengue fever. The mosquito-borne infection is a leading killer in the tropics and subtropics, but it’s been a long-held belief that ubiquitous a... Read More

Oddly Microbial: Giant Viruses

Viruses are supposed to be small and simple—not even alive, just mobile genetic material after all. So what do we make of giant double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses, one of which—the newly discovered Pandoravirus salinus—has an even larger genome than a hunky parasitic eukaryote called Encephalit... Read More

Bacteria May Allow Animals to Send Quick Voluminous Messages

Twitter clips human thoughts to a mere 140 characters. Animals’ scent posts may be equally as short, relatively speaking, yet they convey an encyclopedia of information about the animals that left them.

In the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a Michigan St... Read More

5 Things We Didn't Know About the Fungal Outbreak Last Year

Health officials are still learning from the fungal outbreak tied to tainted steroid pain injections made at the now-shuttered New England Compounding Company.

Researchers now know that most patients' immune systems didn't try to fight off the deadly fungi as it burrowed into their spinal col... Read More

Lyme bacteria show that evolvability is evolvable

Natural selection favours those with a greater capacity to generate genetic variation.

Some gamblers succeed by spiriting cards up their sleeves, giving them a wider range of hands to play. So do some bacteria, whose great capacity for genetic variability helps them evolve and adapt to rapidl... Read More

"Microbe-Powered Jobs: How Microbiologists Can Help Build the Bioeconomy" Infographic

The American Academy of Microbiology has just released a new report, "Microbe-Powered Jobs: How Microbiologists Can Help Build the Bioeconomy," and along with it, an infographic, that summarizes the main points of the report. The full report can be found here: http://bit.ly/1lk346I, and a link t... Read More

On Finding Jewels in the Junk

In prokaryotes, it only takes a small jazz band to get the music grooving: piano and a rhythm section suffice. The promoter region of a gene is a tiny stage on which RNA polymerase (p) and few transcription factors (dr, b) improvise on a tune, i.e. they initiate or skip transcription. By contras... Read More

Dracula’s children may lead to novel drug design

Vampire bat venom could hold the key to new treatments for stroke and high blood pressure.

An international team of scientists led by UQ's Associate Professor Bryan Fry from the School of Biological Sciences has discovered that vampire bat venom contains molecules capable of evading the vict... Read More

Bacterial Competition In Lab Shows Evolution Never Stops

Evolution is relentless process that seems to keep going and going, even when creatures live in a stable, unchanging world.

That's the latest surprise from a unique experiment that's been underway for more than a quarter-century.

Evolution is so important for biology, medicine and a genera... Read More

Cancer virus discovery helped by delayed flight

Bad weather and a delayed flight might be a recipe for misery - but in one instance 50 years ago it led to a discovery that has saved countless thousands of lives.

The discovery of the Epstein Barr virus - named after British doctor Anthony Epstein - resulted from his specialist knowledge of ... Read More

Bacteria and hand washing Pragmatic to school children in rural Nepal

Hand washing is thought to be effective for the prevention of transmission of
Diarrhea pathogens. However it is not conclusive that hand washing with soap is more
Effective at reducing contamination with bacteria associated with diarrhea than using water only. Read More

Pig-manure fertilizer linked to human MRSA infections

People living near pig farms or agricultural fields fertilized with pig manure are more likely to become infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, according to a paper published today in JAMA Internal Medicine1.

Previous research has found that livestock worke... Read More

Turning Food Waste Into Fuel Takes Gumption And Trillions Of Bacteria

Every year, Americans send millions of tons of food to the landfill. What if you could use all of those pizza crusts and rotten vegetables to heat your home? That's already happening in one unlikely laboratory: the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn.

Click on 'source' for fu... Read More

What Happens to Bacteria in Space?

In the otherwise barren space 220 miles above Earth's surface, a capsule of life-sustaining oxygen and water orbits at 17,000 miles per hour. You might know this capsule as the International Space Station (ISS), currently home to six humans—and untold billions of bacteria. Microbes have always f... Read More

In India, test a billion people for HIV

Testing every person in India’s billion-plus population every five years for HIV would not only be cost-effective but also could save millions of lives for decades to come, a new study suggests.

In India most people who are HIV positive don’t know it—even though testing and treatment are rela... Read More

Salt-Tolerant Bacteria Improve Crop Yields

Uzbek microbiologist Dilfuza Egamberdieva hopes to apply her new agricultural technique soon in Uzbekistan to boost the yield of economically important crops such as wheat, cotton, tomato and cucumber. She presented her work at this year's TWAS General Meeting.

Egamberdieva, group leader at t... Read More

Using tobacco to thwart West Nile virus

An international research group led by Arizona State University professor Qiang "Shawn" Chen has developed a new generation of potentially safer and more cost-effective therapeutics against West Nile virus, and other pathogens. The therapeutics, known as monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) and their de... Read More

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