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Obesity and the Microbiome
A large body of evidence is emerging showing that the microbiome has a role in obesity and I cover some...
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The very real danger of alfatoxins
Food products, especially harvested grains, need to be stored carefully. Proper management means storing...
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The 6th Edition of Through the Microscope is now available
The website, eBooks, and hard copy of Through the Microscope are now available. To purchase website access,...
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The stringent response can influence antibiotic resistance
Cancer is a horrible disease, killing over half a million people in the United States every year and...
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Gut disbiosys hinders the healing of spinal cord injuries
There has been a growing body of evidence that the microorganisms that live with us on our bodies deeply...
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Insight on the Side-Effects of Antibiotics

  Ever wondered why it's so important to take your entire antibiotic regimen? Or whether you should be worried about the plethora of medication you may be asking for, or your doctor may be prescribing? New studies show there may be more side-effects than originally anticipated.                 The dangers of anti-biotic resistance have been somewhat understood for the last twenty years. Initial concern was raised with the selective properties of...

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Creating a vaccine for malaria using chemically attenuated parasites

  Malaria is a parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes that causes an estimated 1 million deaths per year.  Four different types of Plasmodium parasites can cause malaria and in many regions of the world these parasites have developed resistance to a variety of the medicines used to treat malaria.  It is believed that the development of a vaccine will be the most effective way to decrease the amount of deaths caused by this disease.  In the past, vaccine development for mal...

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Novel Strategies for Safer Long-Term Antibiotic Usage

              Scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have gained new insight into the dangers associated with long-term antibiotic usage.  The scientists, led by Jim Collins, Ph.D., have discovered the cause behind hazardous side effects resulting from long-term usage of antibiotic drugs and have proposed two solutions to prevent and reduce these negative effects.          &nbs...

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Life Still Goes on in Even the Most Extreme Conditions

  Dr. Scott Rodger has just published his fourth paper on his findings on Lake Vostak in Antarctica which are summarized in the article “In subglacial lake, surprising life goes on”.  Dr. Rodgers has discovered life in Lake Vostak, once thought to be free from any form of life and considered sterile by many scientists. Many even considered Lake Vostak as a possible model for other planets.  Lake Vostak is the fourth deepest lake on earth and is the largest lake in Antarc...

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Intestinal Bacteria May Fuel Inflammation and Worsen HIV Disease

  Surprisingly, the human body consists of more bacterial cells than human cells. An important region where bacteria reside is the intestinal tract. The bacterial community present plays an important role not only in food absorption, but also in the body’s immune response. The bacterial community is dynamic and adapts as its environment, the human body, changes. As the title suggests, researchers hypothesized that HIV infection would have a significant impact the int...

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Bugs provide new insights into relationships between animals and bacteria

  A unique three-tiered symbiotic relationship is now being studied in order to better understand how organisms transfer and share genes in mutualistic interactions. Surprisingly, this gene transfer is not analogous to how mitochondria and chloroplasts have evolved with their host genome. 

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Microbial Exposure During Early Life Has Persistent Effects on Natural Killer T Cell Function

  In early life, one is exposed to thousands upon thousands of microorganisms. The most affected organs are naturally the gastrointestinal tract and the lungs, as they are constantly exposed to the outside world. How one is affected via microbial exposure during this early stage of life could have an effect on them throughout their life. This article discusses the benefits of these early exposures to microorganisms in the way of preventing diseases later on.

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Effect of Packaging Type on Microbial Growth and Sensory Characteristics in Lamb Shoulders

  Food safety is of utmost importance to the satisfaction and health of consumers, and control of microbial growth is a key factor to preventing food spoilage.   An Australian study, performed by the Food Safety and Innovation Research and Development Institute took a look at the effects of various types of packaging techniques on the longevity of storage in lamb shoulders. 

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Novel chemistry for a new class of antibiotic

  A novel class of antibiotic being explored at the University of Adelaide has shown potential in the fight against bacterial antibiotic resistance.  Professor Andrew Abell and his colleagues have engineered antibiotic compounds that target a key metabolic enzyme, biotin protein ligase, instead of the cell membrane, which is a common target of some existing antibiotics.  By changing the target of the antibiotic, it is hoped that a broad range of antibiotic resistant bacteria wi...

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Invasive Ladybird has Biological Weapon

  The harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis, one of the world’s most invasive insects, has become an invader of Europe and North America. Initially introduced for biological pest control, the harlequin ladybird, native to Asia, is now harming indigenous ladybird species, specifically the seven-spotted ladybird Coccinella septempunctata. Previously, some scientists believed the harlequin’s success was due to a harmonine, a toxic antibacterial chemical found in its blood. However, entomol...

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