In the deepest sea, where not a single photon of sunlight ever penetrates, life persists in eternal darkness, crowded around chemical- and lava-spewing fissures in the ocean’s floor. Life around these hydrothermal vents includes shrimp, crabs, and tall, slender tubeworms.... Read More
Fungi can be found in rising bread, moldy bread, and old food in the refrigerator, and on forest floors. Most decompose non-living things, but some damage crops and plants. A few cause problems in people, such as Candida, which causes yeast infections.... Read More
Lichens: When Fungi and Algae (or Cyanobacteria) Merged
Fungi feed themselves quite ably, absorbing nutrients from organic materials. Algae and cyanobacteria are also adept at providing for their own nutritional needs by turning sunlight into energy through photosynthesis.
Y... Read More
Ant Farmers and Their Gardens of Fungi
It’s not clear precisely how and why some ancestral species of ant first took up fungus farming, but scientists have determined by genetic testing that it happened about 50 million years ago.
Microbiologists perform a wide range of jobs and activities, and the tools they use are just as diverse. The instruments and techniques that microbiologists use range from the simplest to the most complex.
Ages ago, as land plants were evolving, they ran into a few impediments. Soil can sometimes prove a nutrient-poor and inhospitable environment. In order to grow and thrive, plants need nitrogen to make proteins, but they lack the chemistry set to convert f... Read More
Some fungi are quite useful to us. We've tapped several kinds to make antibiotics to fight bacterial infections. These antibiotics are based on natural compounds the fungi produce to compete against bacteria for nutrients and space. We use Saccharomyces cerevisiae (sack-air-oh-my... Read More
Nature sure has created some tiny monsters when it comes to microbes—bugs that make us throw up, ooze pus, bleed out of our eyes and cough up blood. But which take top honors (or dishonors) for being the most lethal of all?
In the fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty went to sleep for 100 years in a castle protected by giant thorns and then was revived by the kiss of a prince. In 2000, scientists told a microbial version of this fairy tale, announcing that they had revived bacteria that had lain in suspended animation fo... Read More
One of the reasons microbes have survived and flourished for billions of years is the different ways they reproduce and how fast they do it.
Bacteria usually reproduce by simply dividing in two. Each new bacterium is a clone of the original—they ... Read More
There are three main types of archaea: the crenarchaeota (kren-are-key-oh-ta), which are characterized by their ability to tolerate extremes in temperature and acidity. The euryarchaeota (you-ree-are-key-oh-ta), which include methane-producers and salt-lovers; and the korarchaeota (core-are-key-... Read More
There are three main types of archaea: the crenarchaeota (kren-are-key-oh-ta), which are characterized by their ability to tolerate extremes in temperature and acidity. The euryarchaeota (you-ree-are-key-oh-ta), which include methane-producers and salt-lovers; and the korarchaeota (core-are-k... Read More