Latest News

Obesity and the Microbiome
A large body of evidence is emerging showing that the microbiome has a role in obesity and I cover some...
Read more
The very real danger of alfatoxins
Food products, especially harvested grains, need to be stored carefully. Proper management means storing...
Read more
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,...
Read more
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...
Read more
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...
Read more
News

News

Messages list

Back to paginated view

The very real danger of alfatoxins

  Food products, especially harvested grains, need to be stored carefully. Proper management means storing them in conditions that are cool and dry. If conditions become too hot or moist, it promotes the growth of molds, and many of them can produce mycotoxins. These harmful compounds can lead to death at high concentrations, but even at low levels have serious health effects such as cancer, liver problems, and immunosuppression. Jae-Hyuk Yu, a professor in the Bacteriology Department at the Uni...

Read more of The very real danger of alfatoxins

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, follow the directions on the Buy This Book page. When you buy website access, you get free access to the kindle and ePub electronic books. These can be downloaded from the download page. Make sure you are logged in before you click on it. If you want a hard copy of the book, click on the lulu button below:

Read more of The 6th Edition of Through the Microscope is now available

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 is the leading, or second cause of death in most states. It is especially horrific when it affects children. Great strides have been made in cancer therapy in children, increasing rates of 5 year survival for some cancers above 80%. Some treatments, especially when treating leukemia, require the killing of all white blood cells, which can leave the patient open to infection. Work by Honsa et al...

Read more of The stringent response can influence antibiotic resistance

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 influence our health and well being. It has been known for many years that the gut microbiota help to digest food, but it is now becoming clear the relationship goes far beyond that. Over 70% of immune cells are in gut-associated lymphoid tissue. Yes, almost 3/4 of your immune system is in your gut! What are they doing? It turns out lots of things…

Read more of Gut disbiosys hinders the healing of spinal cord injuries

A new avenue of attack against drug resistance pathogens

  Some pathogens are becoming resistant to many of the treatments we have for them. It is serious enough that the World Health Organization has declared antimicrobial resistance worthy of attention rivaling that of climate change. Strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Neisseria Gonorrhoeae are feared to be close to escaping treatment with antimicrobials. Researchers around the world are racing to discover new treatments for these multi-drug resistant pathogens. Shu Lam, a 25-year-old PhD student at...

Read more of A new avenue of attack against drug resistance pathogens

The epigenetic clock

  Have you ever noticed that some people seem to age faster than other people? I am not talking about individuals with Progeria. Instead, I mean just in your regular group of friends, how some seem to age faster than others. Many will chalk this up to poor nutrition, too much drinking, bad habits like smoking, and a lack of exercise. However, even if you factor all those things out, it seems like some people just age faster than others. Enter professor Steven Horvath of UCLA. Dr. Horvath works on...

Read more of The epigenetic clock

Evolution of bacteria and drug resistance

  This frightening experiment demonstrates how important it is that we manage our antibiotics carefully and avoid overuse. A giant bacterial growth chamber was created. The bottom layer was solid medium, and the top was a semi-solid medium that bacteria could swim through. The edges of the chamber had no antibiotics, while an area adjacent has a dose that would normally kill a typical strain of E. coli. Next to that area, was a third that had 10x a lethal dose, next to that 100x a lethal does, and...

Read more of Evolution of bacteria and drug resistance

New treatments for <i>Clostridium difficile</i> infections

  Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) causes a great deal of suffering in the elderly and now more frequently in the general population. CDI can occur after treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics. Infections with this microbes causes severe gastrointestinal distress, including bloating and gas. Left untreated, and even when treated, it can be fatal. When treated with conventional antibiotics, there is often recurrence, which is understandable, since antibiotics often cause the problem in the...

Read more of New treatments for Clostridium difficile infections

Fungal Friends of Plants and Trees

  When most folks think of fungi, they think of rotten fruit, decaying trees, or mushrooms. These are all good examples, but there is much more to the vast world of fungi than meets the eye. (Of course that makes sense since most fungi are microscopic.) One particular group of fungi, the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi, form mutualistic symbiotic relationships with tree roots where the fungi integrate intimately with the roots of the tree and help it absorb water and minerals from the soil. This re...

Read more of Fungal Friends of Plants and Trees

Microbes come to the rescue for Celiac's Disease?

  Ciliac's disease is a debilitating condition where sufferers have an immunologic reaction to gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye. Consumption of gluten results in severe digestive issues and other health problems. Researchers at Boston University, Headed by Eva Helmerhorst, have described the isolation of a protease from Rothia mucilaginosa that is capable of degrading the epitope in gluten that causes the immune response. After isolation, the enzyme was compared to other...

Read more of Microbes come to the rescue for Celiac's Disease?

Microbes come to the rescue for Celiac's Disease?

  Ciliac's disease is a debilitating condition where sufferers have an immunologic reaction to gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat, barley, and rye. Consumption of gluten results in severe digestive issues and other health problems. Researchers at Boston University, Headed by Eva Helmerhorst, have described the isolation of a protease from Rothia mucilaginosa that is capable of degrading the epitope in gluten that causes the immune response. After isolation, the enzyme was compared to other...

Read more of Microbes come to the rescue for Celiac's Disease?

Gas vesicles as a staining technique

  http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/ciot-dut082516.php

Read more of Gas vesicles as a staining technique

The earth’s family tree just got bigger

  Professor Jillian Banfield’s group has been research the diversity of various communities for many years. As the power of DNA sequencing has moved from a being able to generate a 500 bp in 2 weeks in the 1980, to thousands of basepairs a day in the 1990’s, to hundreds of thousands in 2000, and now with illumina technology, billions of base pairs a day, so has our understanding of what makes up the environment. Up until a few years ago, a molecular census of of a microbial community would involve...

Read more of The earth’s family tree just got bigger

GMO food of no real danger

  I&nbsp;love science and microbiology. I&nbsp;love fitness and nutrition. If you take care of your body and feed it well, it goes a long way to having great quality of life. So I am always interested in fitness and nutrition. Having the perspective of a scientist, any claims I read for a fitness routine or nutrition regimen have&nbsp;to backed by good solid evidence. This can be very hard to come by.&nbsp;Nutrition research is extremely difficult, because you are dealing with food.&nbsp;The fo...

Read more of GMO food of no real danger

Glyphosate appears to not cause cancer

  Science Insider reports that a&nbsp;recent evaluation from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) declares that glyphosate is unlikely to increase the risk of cancer. They also set a limit on what is thought to be a safe does, 0.5 mg per kilogram of body weight. So someone weighing 80 kilograms (166 pounds) could consume 40 mg of glyphosate a day and run no increased risk of cancer. Other agencies have weighed into this in the last few years and concluded that there is some risk. The difficul...

Read more of Glyphosate appears to not cause cancer

Hepatitis C, what was once incurable, can now be cured

  Hepatitis C (HPVC) is a virus that attacks the liver, and will take up residence for the long term. The body is unable to rid itself of the virus and it will continue to replicate in the liver, potentially leading to cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer and potentially death. Recently some powerful new drugs have won approval that treat various parts of the HPVC replication cycle.&nbsp;Jon Cohen reports in Science Magazine&nbsp;of a new treatment combining the most promising of these drugs into...

Read more of Hepatitis C, what was once incurable, can now be cured

The 5th edition of Through the Microscope is now available

  After several months of hard work, updating the textbook, working on site design, and upgrading the code, the 5th edition of Through the Microscope is now ready. The new edition includes: New information on&nbsp;bacterial division An updated section describing the bacterial cytoskeleton A completely updated Microbial Ecology section A new more efficient site design that makes using the textbook easier AJAX code that makes available new book tools for working with the textbook and...

Read more of The 5th edition of Through the Microscope is now available

Dynamix is Dynamite

  The last day of the week it is an option to take a rest day. If you are feeling good and not hurting too bad, I really recommend you do the Dynamix workout. It is not demanding and is so good for working out the kinks. After a week of P90X3 I was sore all over, not too bad, but I was feeling it. However, I really wanted to explore this DVD so I popped it in and I am glad I did. This is the final workout of the first cycle and it works outs out all your kinks and helps with mobility. It is a reco...

Read more of Dynamix is Dynamite

The Warrior Workout

  This is the workout that Tony developed for traveling around the country to various Military bases. He was faced with an interesting problem, how do I create a workout that a ton of people can do at once, that doesn&#39;t require any equipment, large amounts of space, and is challenging. The answer is, The Warrior. This is an intense workout that challenges all your muscles. It is broken down into 4 complexes of 4 moves each; an upper body move, a lower body move, a core move and a cardio/plyo m...

Read more of The Warrior Workout

CVX

  When I first saw this I wondered what does CVX stand for? From doing the workout I think it stands for CardioVascular X, and this is Tony&#39;s idea of an aerobic workout. I think a better name would be Med Ball Hell. In CVX you do a bunch of moves designed to get your heart rate up and then add a med ball (or dumbbell) to add resistance to what you are doing on the upper body. The combination is a challenge. I started with a 10 pound med ball and after a few exercises I moved down to a 6 pounde...

Read more of CVX

X3 Yoga

  This is a workout for those who don&rsquo;t like yoga. You go through some nice poses, and get a little balance work in too. And you are done in no time. Ted comes back from P90X2 yoga, Terry Morrow of P90X2 Plyocide and Stephanie Saunders rounds out the cast. (Stephanie is Tony&rsquo;s helper in many of his online chats and worked really closely with him developing the whole P90X3 series.) &nbsp;I really liked the supporting cast, they have a great chemistry and Tony is FUNNY in this one.

Read more of X3 Yoga

Agility X

  I can give you my impression of this workout in one word. Wow! It keeps you moving, its fun, it pushes you in all sort of directions and Tony is his hilarious self. This workout is all about doing cardio type work, yet also working on your balance and precision. You are told in How to Accelerate to create some markings on the floor with Tape, or quarters or something. You are asked to use tape, about 4 foot sizes long, in the middle mark an X and put Xs on each side of it. Make two tape strips l...

Read more of Agility X

New Microbial Ecology Chapter

  A completely reworked and modernized Microbial Ecology Chapter&nbsp;has been published today. Recent advances in DNA isolation and sequencing have made it possible to investigate the microbes present without culturing them. This has completely changed our understanding of the microbial population that is present in the environment and what they are doing. Finally, a clear picture of the environment at the microscopic level is emerging and in the years to come we will learn how it all fits togeth...

Read more of New Microbial Ecology Chapter

P90X3 Impressions

  This series of blog posts are going to be about the new P90X3 workouts. I thought it would be fun to write my impressions of the program as I did it, to give people a taste of what it is like. I just got the P90X3 discs and of course I went through all the material. This looks like it&#39;s the same top quality as P90X and P90X2; what else would you expect from Beachbody and Tony Horton? I bought the deluxe package to get the extra workouts. You have a nutrition guide (which I will cover later),...

Read more of P90X3 Impressions

Why is basic research important? Here is your answer

  In the early 1960&#39;s&nbsp;Tom Brock was on vacation in Yellowstone National park. He hit the usual tourist destinations, including the hot springs of the park. To his astonishment, he observed what he was sure were cyanobacteria living at temperatures over 80&deg;C (176&deg;F). Professor Brock went back to his lab and wrote a grant to study the microbes present in this environment. Now many would think that this research is esoteric at best. However, as part of that research, Tom discovered&n...

Read more of Why is basic research important? Here is your answer

A measleslike virus is responsible for the recent Dolphin die-off

  Over 300&nbsp;dolphins have washed up along the eastern coast of the U.S. since July 1st of this year. Scientists at the NOAA&nbsp;declared a Unusual Mortality Event, allowing them to use fund and perform an extensive investigation of the cause. A combination&nbsp;of classic of tissue investigation along with molecular techniques &nbsp;that assayed for the presence of the virus, revealed the cause to be a&nbsp;Morbillivirus. The&nbsp;Morbillivirus&nbsp;family includes viruses such as measles, th...

Read more of A measleslike virus is responsible for the recent Dolphin die-off

A new malaria vaccine is 100% effective in first trials

  In a first stage trial an new type of malaria vaccine, made from whole, irradiated sporozoites, has shown itself to be 100% effective. The vaccine, PfSPZ was developed by Sanaria and its lead researcher, Stephen Hoffman, a veteran malaria researcher. This work was encourages by research in the&nbsp;1970s, showing that long-lived protection could be had by exposure to thousands of bites from irradiated, infectious mosquitoes. Taking this observation and making&nbsp;progress has been&nbsp;slow bec...

Read more of A new malaria vaccine is 100% effective in first trials

Obesity More Likely in Preschoolers Drinking Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

  Yet again another study showing that sugary drinks are rarely a good idea. This includes fruit juices by the way. They are just as bad as soda pop. Drink your water people! www.newswise.com Young children who regularly drink sugary beverages are more likely to gain excessive weight and become obese, according to new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Read more of Obesity More Likely in Preschoolers Drinking Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

New Insight into Potassium Channels

  Ion channels are massively important to all cells as they allow for the production of&nbsp;ion gradients as well as important ion movements into the cell. These enzymes work in very complicated and closely regulated ways which were previously unknown. New research has opened up these ion channels and dissected their processes to allow us to more closely describe their actions.&nbsp;

Read more of New Insight into Potassium Channels

Bacteria Communicate to Help Each Other Resist Antibiotics

  As many know, antibiotics are at the front line of medical treatment when it comes to many deadly bacterial infections such as pneumonia, dysentery, and others. &nbsp;Dr. Miguel Valvan and Omar Halfawy have showed that antibiotic resistance can come from more than just an acquired trait within the cell.&nbsp;They observed that large populations of antibiotic resistant strains share small molecule metabolites with other non-resistant cells.

Read more of Bacteria Communicate to Help Each Other Resist Antibiotics

Antibiotics Take Toll on Beneficial Microbes in Gut

  In the late 1800s a search for antibiotics began in accordance with the growing acceptance that bacteria and microbes have a causal effect on the human body leading to a variety of ailments. From this point in time onward there has been a pursuit for drugs to deter or kill this disease causing bacteria. &nbsp;Antibiotics can be seen in use for serious life-threatening illness, such as pneumonia, kidney and heart infections, or after major operations to reduce the chances of infection, but also f...

Read more of Antibiotics Take Toll on Beneficial Microbes in Gut

Plant-based compound may prevent HIV infection

  HIV research have come a long way since the beginning of the epidemic with newer and newer treatments being discovered and administered. However, a classic drawback on novel medications is the virus&#39;s ability to develop newer drug resistance strains against the treatment. This is largely due to the virus&#39;s high genetic variability, fast replication cycle, and high rate of mutation. New hope arises from an unlikely source, the soybean. New evidence from the George Mason University rese...

Read more of Plant-based compound may prevent HIV infection

Overactive immune response blocks itself

  Natural killer cells are thought be an important component of innate immune response, which is the immediate response of the body to any infection or any breach of the human body surfaces. Natural killer cells produce messenger substances at the site of infection to recruit other components of the immune system to aid in the removal of the infection. So it has been assumed that having an abundance of natural killer cells will increase the likelihood of the removal of infection. But Helmholtz Cen...

Read more of Overactive immune response blocks itself

Biggest Virus Yet Found, May Be Fourth Domain of Life?

  In the past year, scientists came to a shocking discovery when they found a virus larger than any found before: a Pandora virus. Discovered in Chile&rsquo;s Tunquen River, Pandora viruses average a length of about a micrometer&mdash;0.3 micrometers larger than any virus found before&mdash;and contain an astonishing 2,500 genes. This is surprising considering an average virus can contain as few as 10 genes. Amoeba are the host for the Pandora viruses With such a large relative size, one may be...

Read more of Biggest Virus Yet Found, May Be Fourth Domain of Life?

Rhodopsin Protein Movement Mechanism

  Rhodopsins are a class of protein commonly found in the rod cells of the eye. &nbsp;These proteins are the driving force behind a process called visual phototransduction, which is the translation of a visual picture&nbsp;into an electrical signal that can be processed by the brain. &nbsp;These proteins are also found in bacteria, serving a similar purpose: they create electrical energy for the cell by moving proteins across the cell membrane, creating an electrical gradient. The structure of...

Read more of Rhodopsin Protein Movement Mechanism

The domestication of microbes: A. oryzae case

  Since the beginning of the civilization, humans have domesticated not only animals and plants, but also different kinds of microbes to produce beer, wine, cheese, yogurt, soy sauce, and more. Although researchers have studied the plant and animal domestication comprehensively, it is still a mystery on how domestication changes microbial behavior on a genetic scale. In this article, researchers at Vanderbilt University try to compare the genetic profiles between Aspergillus oryzae, the domesticat...

Read more of The domestication of microbes: A. oryzae case

Discarded Immune Cells Induce the Relocation of Stem Cells

  The human body has an amazing protection mechanism called the immune system. It offers protection and defense against agents of infection. There are vast amounts of leukocytes in the human body to protect us from pathogens, but where do they go when they are done and what happens to them? Researchers&nbsp;at Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares (CNIC) in Madrid, Spain have discovered the fate of one leukocyte, the neutrophil, after it has come in contact with a pathogen. There...

Read more of Discarded Immune Cells Induce the Relocation of Stem Cells

Gut microbe may fight obesity and diabetes

  Recent evidence is showing us that hundreds or even thousands of microbes in our gut is contributing to human health more than just aiding digestion.&nbsp; A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences led by Patrice Cani and her team, who study the relationship between gut bacteria and metabolism, suggested that a specific gut microbe in the human body could help against obesity and metabolic disorders such as diabetes type 2. The specific gut bacterium, Akkermansia mucin...

Read more of Gut microbe may fight obesity and diabetes

New Antibiotic Found That Attacks MRSA Found in Ocean Microbe

  Methicillin-resistance&nbsp;Staphylococcus aureus&nbsp;(MRSA) is a&nbsp;bacterium that generally causes&nbsp;difficult to treat infections in humans. &nbsp;Beta-lactam antibiotics attack agents that contain the Beta-lactam ring, successfully inhibiting bacterial wall synthesis and eventually killing the bacterium. Bacteria then develop a resistance to the drug by synthesizing Beta-lactamase, an enzyme which attacks the Beta-lactam ring. Beta-lactam antibiotics include penicillins and cephalospor...

Read more of New Antibiotic Found That Attacks MRSA Found in Ocean Microbe

Overactive Immune Response Blocks Itself

  Natural killer cells (NK cells) are an integral part of the innate immune system that serves as the first line of defense against infectious disease causing pathogens.&nbsp; This important role lead to the assumption that the more activated NK cells present during an immune response, the better.&nbsp; However, research done at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) has shown that this principle does not apply to all stages of the immune response. Natural killer cells&nbsp;(NK cells...

Read more of Overactive Immune Response Blocks Itself

Researchers use child immune response genes to distinguish between types of infections

  At a time when there is great concern over the risks of antibiotic resistance, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have found a new way to distinguish between fevers in children caused by either bacteria or viruses.&nbsp;&nbsp; In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hu, Yu, Crosby, and Storch measured utilization of genes for the immune response in febrile children, some of which turned out to be infected with bacteria or one of three different...

Read more of Researchers use child immune response genes to distinguish between types of infections

Predatory Bacteria and Human Health

  There are many example strains of pathogenic bacteria that have developed resistant to drugs. The reduced effectiveness of antibiotic drugs for treating infections is increasingly a concern for doctors and patients alike. Pneumonia is caused by a microbial infection of the lungs, and if untreated it can be painful and fatal. Traditionally pneumonia is treated by using antibiotic drugs to combat the infecting microbes. However, Klebsiella pneumoniae is one example of a drug resistant bacteria tha...

Read more of Predatory Bacteria and Human Health

New Method Discovered to Detect Proteins Using Nano-sensors

  A team of researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) recently discovered a new method called parallel protein analysis to detect mircoorganismal activity in human bodily fluids. They have designed a test that can identify thousands of different proteins and detect the presence of viruses. The new method is very quick and cost effective. One of the chemists involved in the research, Professor Carsten Sönnichsen, said &ldquo; we see possible applications this technique in medicine...

Read more of New Method Discovered to Detect Proteins Using Nano-sensors

Living at the mouth of an underwater volcano

  Deep-sea hydrothermal vents play host to an exciting array of marine&nbsp;life. At the base of these ecosystems are intricate&nbsp;communities of microorganisms. These bacteria and achaea survive at an astonishing range of temperatures, from more than 120&deg;C at the mouth of the vents, to less than 10&deg;C farther away. Characteristic to some genera is the assembly of orange and white &ldquo;mats,&rdquo; masses of bacteria turned colorful from the oxidation of sulfur. A recent article&nbsp;fo...

Read more of Living at the mouth of an underwater volcano

The biofilm matrix

  In the microbial world, cooperation between multiple species is a novel way to combat the pressures of nutrient limitation, chemical damage, and other struggles that microorganisms constantly face. As such, dynamic and complex communities are frequently formed. An example of this is the biofilm&mdash;a thick, highly structured aggregate of microorganisms that often forms in aqueous environments, particularly along surfaces or at water-air interfaces. Biofilms owe their success to the fact that,...

Read more of The biofilm matrix

MRSA: Farming up trouble

  MRSA (methicillin-resistant&nbsp;Staphylococcus aureus)&nbsp;has distressed hospitals for more than forty years and also has been infecting individuals outside of healthcare settings since 1995. MRSA is responsible for 94,000 infections and 18,000 deaths every year in the United States. Because MRSA initially appeared on a US farm, many scientists, such as epidemiologist Tara Smith, have dedicated their research in determining whether farms&rsquo; use of antibiotics is contributing to the increa...

Read more of MRSA: Farming up trouble

Cycloviruses could be causing neurological infections

  According to this&nbsp;article, it seems that a group of viruses known for their circular genome found in a few severe cases in Vietnam and Malawi could be linked to neurological diseases such as brain inflammation. This group of viruses is referred to as cycloviruses. More studies would need to be done to prove the connection between the two. For the cases in Vietnam, vexed researchers kept coming up short with answers for patients with infected central nervous systems. After considerable di...

Read more of Cycloviruses could be causing neurological infections

Cure for Cancer May Lie in the Intestines

  According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 8 million people die every year from Cancer in the World. This number translates to about 15% of all deaths in the world annually. It&rsquo;s no wonder researchers all across the globe are racing for a cure. Two of the primary treatments for Cancer are radiation therapy and chemotherapy (chemo). Unfortunately, although these treatments may kill Cancer, they oftentimes harm areas of the body that are healthy as well, which can be detrimental...

Read more of Cure for Cancer May Lie in the Intestines

Adenovirus capable of jumping from monkey to human discovered.

  Adenoviruses are a family of viruses that commonly infect human beings, causing anything from cold and flu-like symptoms to death depending on the particular virus and health of the infected individual. Viruses can only infect cells that have specific receptors on their outer membrane. These receptors are often very specific which is why viruses are usually limited to a particular species. However, a newly discovered adenovirus has been found to jump between primate species and humans. The adeno...

Read more of Adenovirus capable of jumping from monkey to human discovered.

Gut Microbes Can Split a Species

  This article introduces a new concept regarding speciation. Before, the main focus around speciation, the splitting of a species from one another, was primarily based on environmental influences. Seth Bordenstein and Robert Brucker began to investigate gut microbes of being the culprits behind the speciation of jewel wasps.

Read more of Gut Microbes Can Split a Species

Recent evidence from rover Curiosity suggests life may have existed on Mars years ago

  If you ask most people is microbes could survive on&nbsp;Mars, they would&nbsp;answer &nbsp;&quot;no&quot;.&nbsp; Yet recent evidence from the rover Curiosity suggest that life (microbes) may have existed billions of years ago, when analysis of rock drillings showed traces of some of the most fundamental elements for life (sulfur, hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, etc), in addition to water covering the planet&#39;s surface.&nbsp;

Read more of Recent evidence from rover Curiosity suggests life may have existed on Mars years ago

The Constant Battle of the Common Cold

  Ever wonder why no matter how hard you try to stay healthy and get plenty of rest, you always seem to get a cold just as winter comes around. One factor of the common cold, recently discovered by Ellen Foxman of Yale University, may be out of your control; the weather. The article, Colder Viruses Thrive in Frosty Conditions, further explains how colder temperatures have been shown to be a reason for the flare up and spread of the common cold.

Read more of The Constant Battle of the Common Cold

Diet-Induced Alterations of Host Cholesterol Metabolism Are Likely To Affect the Gut Microbiota Composition in Hamsters.

  While it has been well established that the gastrointestinal microbiota plays a role in the regulation of host metabolism, little is known about the connections between the composition of the gut microbiota and its effect on host metabolic pathways and processes. This is a valuable area of research, as changes in the host gut flora have been linked to various health problems. This knowledge calls for a better understanding of the bacterial patterns and functions associated with and contributing...

Read more of Diet-Induced Alterations of Host Cholesterol Metabolism Are Likely To Affect the Gut Microbiota Composition in Hamsters.

New Technology Allows Crops to Take Nitrogen from the Air!

  The University of Nottingham, located in England, has developed a new technology that would allow all of the crops in the world to take in nitrogen from the air instead of from fertilizers.&nbsp; During nitrogen fixation, a plant processes nitrogen (which is taken up by the fertilizer and soil) and then converts it into ammonia, which is a form of nitrogen that the cell can utilize. With the conversion of ammonia, the cell adds glutamate, which then creates glutamine. This process is extensive a...

Read more of New Technology Allows Crops to Take Nitrogen from the Air!

The Microbes in Our Bodies are as Unique as We Are

  In a world of bacteria, the tiny microbes that inhabit the human gut can reveal a lot about an individual.&nbsp; The human body houses such a high amount of microbes that it significantly outnumbers the number of human cells a person has.&nbsp; Recently, scientists have sought to better understand the vast number of microbes in the colon, in order to use this information to better human health. The American Gut Project is dissecting thousands of stool samples to truly understand what microbes...

Read more of The Microbes in Our Bodies are as Unique as We Are

Inflammatory Response Turned off for Allergic Asthma and CODP Patients

  Inflammation is a type of immune system response to injury or irritation. &nbsp;This response is problematic to the individuals who have asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), though. &nbsp;Asthma is a lung disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchi of the lungs, which makes it hard for people with asthma to breathe. &nbsp;COPD is also a lung disease which causes poor air flow to the lungs due to inflammation, also making it hard for the individual to breath...

Read more of Inflammatory Response Turned off for Allergic Asthma and CODP Patients

A Community of Microbes Help Protect Plants from Disease.

  The immune system of animals is extremely complex and helps defend against a plethora of diseases. Plants, on the other hand, are not as lucky when it comes to defense. Plants have a few systems to stop chemicals and diseases from moving in, but overall are very susceptible to infection. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy&rsquo;s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that many plants are relying on microbes in the soil to defend themselves against diseases and pathogens.

Read more of A Community of Microbes Help Protect Plants from Disease.

Stomach Bug uses novel mechanism to infect cells

  At the UT Southwestern Medical Center, researchers are investigating a seafood contaminant that thrives in the summer. This contaminant, Vibrio paraphaemolyticus, is a bacterium&nbsp;that causes a stomach flu and has a novel mechanism by which it&nbsp;infects cells. The bacterium&nbsp;inject proteins, known as effectors which regulator biological activity, into the cell. VopQ is an important effector and is the focus of this research. Once into the cell, VopQ disrupts autophagy. Autophagy is the...

Read more of Stomach Bug uses novel mechanism to infect cells

Human herpesvirus 6 infection linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a disorder characterized by extreme tiredness that does not go away with bed rest,&nbsp;lasts for about 6 months in adults. Some of its many other symptoms include cognitive problems, headaches and vertigo. A study in the Journal of Health Psychology also found a high mortality level (12.5%) in CFS patients over the course of 10 years. Experts believe that CFS has many root causes including psychological factors, pathogens and genetic predisposition.&nbsp; Re...

Read more of Human herpesvirus 6 infection linked to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

'Epilepsy in a Dish': Stem Cell Research Reveals Clues to Disease's Origins and May Aid Search for Better Drugs

  Scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School have created an exciting new model called &ldquo;epilepsy in a dish&rdquo; to study seizure disorders. It works by converting skin cells from patients harboring an epilepsy disorder to stem cells and then to neurons. The patient specific neurons allow for the study of brain cells and brain activity without the need to perform a brain biopsy. The overall goal of this study is to create induced pluripotent stem cells from cells of patients wi...

Read more of 'Epilepsy in a Dish': Stem Cell Research Reveals Clues to Disease's Origins and May Aid Search for Better Drugs

You are what you eat

  Recent research done by scientists at the university of Massachusetts medical school (UMMS) shows that even the smallest bites of food can have a massive impact, by significantly changing gene expression, which could lead to an undesirable physiology and health outcome.&nbsp;Using special worms that are used normally as model organisms in genetic studies, the scientists observed how different diets cause differences in gene expression in the worms that could be interconnected to crucial physiolo...

Read more of You are what you eat

Simply reducing antibiotic use doesn't guarantee a decrease in resistance among bacteria

  Antibiotic resistant bacteria emerge from improper and over usage of antibiotics. However, antibiotic resistant bacteria have some disadvantages of their own.&nbsp; When not exposed to antibiotics, non-resistant bacteria are often selected for due to the fact that there is an energetic cost associated with being immune to antibiotics. Because of this, it is now desired to reduce antibiotic use in proper situations with the hope of decreasing resistance among bacteria. This is often successful. H...

Read more of Simply reducing antibiotic use doesn't guarantee a decrease in resistance among bacteria

Copper nanoparticles could protect food from bacteria

  Microbial such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi exist in our everyday life, and many of them are harmless to us. However, some of them are toxic that we need to come up with approaches to eliminate them. Fortunately, researcher&nbsp;Jaroslaw Drelich&nbsp;from Michigan Technological University has recently found that copper can be used to treat such microbes. In this method&nbsp;nanoparticles of copper can be embed into vermiculite, which is an inert compound often used in potting soil. For prelim...

Read more of Copper nanoparticles could protect food from bacteria

Biofilm matrix gene expression in B. subtilis

  In a recent paper that was published by the Gourse Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,discusses&nbsp;the biofilm matrix gene expression in Bacillus subtilis. A biofilm matrix is made up of multicellular communities that stick to many types of surfaces in different environments, and the production of extracellular matrix enables the formation of these communities. Once the biofilm matrix forms, the flagella motility is inhibited by the organism. On a molecular level, the eps and tapA-sipW...

Read more of Biofilm matrix gene expression in B. subtilis

Compound Produced by Ocean Microbes Could Treat Anthrax and MRSA

  Researchers at the University of California - San Diego have found a microbe in the Santa Barbara Bay that may produce a compound that could be used to treat anthrax and MRSA (methicillin-resistant&nbsp;Staphylococcus aureus) while conducting&nbsp;research. The microbe belongs to the&nbsp;Streptomyces&nbsp;family and is found in the sediment close to the shores of Santa Barbara, California. The compound it produces, called &ldquo;anthracimycin&rdquo;, was novel in structure, which was solved...

Read more of Compound Produced by Ocean Microbes Could Treat Anthrax and MRSA

Methamphetamine use can lead to deathly fungal infection

  According to available data, it is estimated that there are about 350,000 people in the US who are regular methamphetamine abusers.&nbsp; The drug&rsquo;s ability to impact the central nervous system as a stimulant might do more harm than what is known.&nbsp; Recent studies have shown that injecting methamphetamine accumulates greatly in the lungs.&nbsp; This information, combined with a fungus, Crytptococcus neoformans, can lead to a lethal combination. &nbsp;

Read more of Methamphetamine use can lead to deathly fungal infection

Microbes can influence evolution of their hosts

  A new study shows that our microbial companions may play a significant role in the process of our evolution. Evolution can be defined as the change in the gene frequency of a population over time. Key to the process of evolution is natural selection. Natural selection is when certain heritable traits impart a greater chance of survival and reproduction for individuals that have said traits than individuals without, under prevailing environmental conditions. A new twist on these concepts is the h...

Read more of Microbes can influence evolution of their hosts

Researchers Uncover Cellular Mechanisms for Attention in the Brain

  The brain controls the ability to pay attention and retain information.&nbsp; The ability to generate attention in the presence of distractions is required for successful interaction in the world we live in today.&nbsp; Attention in the brain has been heavily studied, but the cellular mechanism responsible for this phenomenon was unknown until the release of recent study results. Researchers at Dartmouth&rsquo;s Geisel School of Medicine and the University of California conducted a&nbsp;study...

Read more of Researchers Uncover Cellular Mechanisms for Attention in the Brain

Immensely high internal pressure in Herpes virus facilitates DNA ejection from capsid.

  A new study reveals a key mechanism for viral infection that has been highly preserved in viruses that release their genome into the cell nucleus without disassembling the capsid. The study was conducted by&nbsp;Bauer et al&nbsp;at Carnegie Mellon University on the Herpes Virus (HSV-1), one of the most studied viruses with this kind of an infection mechanism. For the first time, it brings into light the presence of high internal pressure of tens of atmospheres due to an extremely condensed genom...

Read more of Immensely high internal pressure in Herpes virus facilitates DNA ejection from capsid.

Bacteriophage Therapy

  Viruses tend to have a negative connotation to them when in a human health context. What many perhaps do not know is that there are viruses that only attack bacteria. These naturally occurring viruses are called bacteriophages. This article denotes a potentially new way of treating bacterial infections that may be used in the near future.&nbsp; When bacteriophages were first discovered, they were thought to be very beneficial to treating infections as they do not target human eukaryotic cells...

Read more of Bacteriophage Therapy

Gut Microbes Can Split a Species

  For many years, scientists have defined speciation as an evolutionary event by which a new species arises due to genetic drift. However, a new study suggests that species may diverge because of the microbes in their gut, not their DNA. Biologists Seth Bordenstein and Robert Brucker of Vanderbilt University studied this phenomenon in three different species of parasitic jewel wasps, tiny insects that drill into fly pupae and allow their eggs to feed on the host.&nbsp;

Read more of Gut Microbes Can Split a Species

Eliminating PRRSV in Pigs

  Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is costing farmers millions of dollars each year. Upon infection, farmers need to cull their herds due to slowed growth and reproductive issues. Although there is a vaccine available, it is not an ideal solution for this particular disease. The vaccine will not eradicate the virus, only lesson the impact of the disease on farms. Scientists are trying to determine the transmission of the disease, in order to solve the problem. A transmem...

Read more of Eliminating PRRSV in Pigs

The Unculturables

  Unculturable bacteria are not necessarily uncharacterizable. Microbiological techniques, like PCR and DNA sequencing of &quot;housekeeping&quot; genes, has allowed scientists to continue to gain understand about microbes, whether or not they are culturable. However, the ability to fight&nbsp;human infections and&nbsp;develop cures requires these unculturables to become cultured, so the microorganisms can be grown and studied in laboratory settings.&nbsp; The question remains, why are these or...

Read more of The Unculturables

Gut microbes’ role in species divergence

  It is well known that gut microbes play an important role in the health of many organisms.&nbsp; Seth Bordenstein and Robert Brucker, biologists at Vanderbilt University, were curious to see what other effects these microbes may have on an organism.&nbsp; They studied the role of microbes in three related species of parasitic jewel wasps.&nbsp; Two of the species, Nasonia giraulti and N. longicornis, are closely related, whereas the third species, N. vitripennis, diverged about 1 million years a...

Read more of Gut microbes’ role in species divergence

Biodiversity in marine viruses

  While it is understandable that the majority of research on bacteriophages involve human illness and food spoilage, there is an enormous amount of viruses that prey on bacteria in the environment that are still undiscovered. These environmental bacteriophages are very important since they can direct many significant&nbsp;changes in conditions of the natural world such as the flux&nbsp;of carbon and oxygen levels.&nbsp;

Read more of Biodiversity in marine viruses

Macrophage Creation Pathway

  Stem cell research is not only one of the most controversial topics in science, but also one of the most advanced forms of research available. &nbsp;A stem cell is a cell that can differentiate into a diverse range of cells as well as regenerate into more stem cells. In order for this research to take off, more needs to be discovered about the pathways these stem cells use. &nbsp;Biologists at CalTech&nbsp;have been investigating this topic through macrophages which stem from unspecialized blood...

Read more of Macrophage Creation Pathway

To eat or to be eaten? The complex lives of Dictyostelium discoideum and Pseudomonas fluorescens

  Dictyostelium discoideum is a eukaryotic microbe that lives a unique lifestyle that involves changing from a unicellular to multicellular organism. Recent studies have shown that not only is it unique in this aspect, but it is unique in that it actually cultivates its own food supply, being dubbed the world&rsquo;s &ldquo;smallest farmer&rdquo; amongst microbiologists. This article is based on a recent study led by Debra Brock at the Washington Universty of St. Louis. Dictyostelium discoideum...

Read more of To eat or to be eaten? The complex lives of Dictyostelium discoideum and Pseudomonas fluorescens

Evolution On the Inside Track: How Viruses in Gut Bacteria Change Over Time

  The world is surrounded by microbes that interact with one another competitively or symbiotically, creating a dynamic environment. These interactions occur everywhere, even in our own digestive system. Microbes swarm around the digestive tracts and a myriad of viruses modify key characteristics in bacteria, molding the bacterial population and metabolism. A study led by Fredric D. Bushman, a microbiology professor at University of Pennsylvania, looked at interactions between virus and bacteria i...

Read more of Evolution On the Inside Track: How Viruses in Gut Bacteria Change Over Time

Viruses in both eukaryotes and archaea, hijacking their way to success

  A recent study led by biologists from Indian University and Montana State University has found a connection between viruses that infect eukaryotes and viruses that infect archaea growing in volcanic springs (article).&nbsp; Viruses like HIV and Ebola that infect eukaryotic cells and the virus Sulfolobus turreted icosahedral virus (STIV) that infects Sulfolobus sofataricus, an archaea found in volcanic springs, share a common feature; they both must hijack the same set of proteins found in their...

Read more of Viruses in both eukaryotes and archaea, hijacking their way to success

Alterations of the Human Genome as a Result of Cholera

  Cholera is a deadly disease that is present in many third world countries, including Bangladesh and India.&nbsp; The disease has been infecting people for thousands of years, meaning it is more likely to be causing evolutionary changes in humans, compared to newly emerged diseases.&nbsp;&nbsp; Sure enough,&nbsp;researchers from Massachusetts and Bangladesh have found that the human genome has evolved in people who are more likely to contract cholera.&nbsp; Regina LaRocque, an infectious disea...

Read more of Alterations of the Human Genome as a Result of Cholera

Bacteriophages Batteling Against Bacterial Infections

  The human digestive system is home to many microbes that are beneficial to our health; they help our systems battle harmful microbes and help us digest our food. When taking antibiotics to stop bacterial infections, we take the risk of killing the good bacteria and leaving behind the bacteria that are harmful. Currently in England and Wales there is an ongoing battle with a harmful bacterium, C. difficile. C. difficile, which&nbsp;causes infections found mostly in the hospital setting&nbsp;infec...

Read more of Bacteriophages Batteling Against Bacterial Infections

Using Bacteriophages to Fight Bacterial Infections

  Clostridium difficile is the leading cause of hospital infections in England and Wales, and treating these infections is becoming more difficult as the causative organism becomes more resistant to antibiotics.&nbsp; Microbiologists are experimenting with the use of bacteriophages, viruses that infect bacteria, as a way to help control these bacterial infections despite antibiotic resistance.&nbsp;

Read more of Using Bacteriophages to Fight Bacterial Infections

Bacterial Changes In The Gut May Trigger Disease In Humans

  Bacteria located within the human gut have been studied for years. In 2012, Mayo Clinic in Minnesota has classified them as bacteria that may control or alter the onset and progression of autoimmune diseases.&nbsp; Regulating the human immune system and autoimmune diseases have been found to start in the gut. Bacteria that flourish within the mammalian stomach and intestines have been found to alter the host&#39;s&nbsp;immune system.&nbsp;Researchers believe that maintaining the balance of th...

Read more of Bacterial Changes In The Gut May Trigger Disease In Humans

Biogeographical distribution and diversity of microbes in methane hydrate-bearing deep marine sediments on the Pacific Ocean Margin

  The depths of the Oceans on this world are unexplored territory by humans. Until recently. Scientists have created equipment that can withstand the pressure of the depth of the sea to begin exploring the world unseen by many land-bound eyes. Little did we know there was an underwater land teeming with life, especially microbial life. This article discusses the microbial communities that&nbsp;may be&nbsp;contributors to the methane levels found in our ocean sediments. The Prokaryotic biomass f...

Read more of Biogeographical distribution and diversity of microbes in methane hydrate-bearing deep marine sediments on the Pacific Ocean Margin

Treated mice infected with Clostridium difficile

  In the article &ldquo;&nbsp;Using Gut Bacteria to Fight Diarrhea&rdquo;, microbiologist Trevor Lawley of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and his colleagues examined&nbsp;Clostridium difficile&nbsp;infection in mice.&nbsp; In humans,&nbsp;C. difficile&nbsp;is a significant pathogen in hostpitals and nursing homes, causing nearly 336,000 infections and 14,000 deaths a year in the United States.&nbsp;&nbsp;Clostridium&nbsp;difficile&nbsp;is an anaerobic, gram-positive bacterium that is the majo...

Read more of Treated mice infected with Clostridium difficile

Effect of diet on the human gut micro biome.

  For decades, we have known that proper nutrition is essential for human health, but recent studies have demonstrated that variations in composition and operations of the human gut microbiome can influence the host energy metabolic function, host energy expenditure, and ultimately the nutritional value of food. Knowing this, it would be logical to ask how we may be able to further promote our health by improving ecological health of the microbial communities in our gut. Turnbaugh PJ, et al. set o...

Read more of Effect of diet on the human gut micro biome.

The Impact of the Gut Microbiota on Human Health: An Integrative View

  Over the last decade there has been an exponential growth in the amount of individuals that are being diagnosed with diseases, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn&#39;s Disease, and food allergies, which are a result of the consequences from the amount and type of microbiota contained within the gastrointestinal tract. &nbsp;There are also&nbsp;some diseases;&nbsp;Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), many autoimmune disorders, and rheumatoid arthritis...

Read more of The Impact of the Gut Microbiota on Human Health: An Integrative View

Corals buddy up with bacteria

  In a new study conducted by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), there is new evidence of a complex symbiotic relationship between certain species of reef building coral and bacteria that wasn&#39;t previously understood. It has been known that many coral form symbiotic relationships with many other organisms, such as algae. Researchers have already understood that a species of reef building coral, Stylopho...

Read more of Corals buddy up with bacteria

Sequencing Microbial Dark Matter

  Microbes are all around us. Scientists have been trying to find and sequence each microbe&#39;s DNA for a long time now, but because many of the microbes will not grow in the lab, many of their DNA sequences are unknown. These un-sequenced organisms are known as &ldquo;microbial dark matter.&rdquo; Three years ago, microbiologist Tonja Woyke developed a new technique to sequence the genome of one cell.&nbsp; Before this new technique was developed, determining a cell&#39;s&nbsp;DNA sequence requ...

Read more of Sequencing Microbial Dark Matter

Friendly Viruses in Mucus

  Most folks would typically consider bacteria to be either good or bad. &nbsp;The bad such as those that cause infectious disease or the good like the normal flora that aid in digestion, but none would think of viruses having a dual nature as well. A group of scientists led by Jeremy Barr discovered that mucus, a viscid gel-like secretion rich in mucins that act as a protective lubricant from infectious agents, is more than just a barrier. Surprisingly, the active layer of mucus consists of bacte...

Read more of Friendly Viruses in Mucus

Tuberculosis and its Deadly Family Tree

  A good portion of the world hears the word&nbsp;tuberculosis and thinks of the bacterial infection that plagued those of&nbsp;the past. In campaigns for better living standards, antibiotics and vaccines it appeared that tuberculosis is under control since&nbsp;the 20th century.&nbsp; While it seemed promising, new evidence is proving that tuberculosis is capable of outsmarting humans and its attack on the human body. The tuberculosis bacterium attacks the lungs and in some cases other organs...

Read more of Tuberculosis and its Deadly Family Tree

Digging Deeper into Bird Guts

  Microbial life is important to human and animal health, as they help with important functions of the body. &nbsp;Looking specifically at the gut, gut bacteria (gastrointestinal bacteria), help the body with digestion, immune functions, and general health. &nbsp;There is little knowledge about how the many different bacterial communities change in animal bodies. To have a better understanding about this change, Wouter van Dongen and his colleagues at the Vetmeduni Vienna have scrutinized the cloa...

Read more of Digging Deeper into Bird Guts

Biodiversity Correlates with Lower Rates of Allergies

  The article, &ldquo;A Natural Environment Can Be Good for Allergies&rdquo;,&nbsp;&nbsp;discusses a study conducted at the University of Helsinki in Finland that investigated the correlation between microbe diversity and allergies.&nbsp; The study suggests that living in a rural environment may lead to a lower likelihood of developing allergies. Researchers tested the forearms of 118 teenagers for microbes present on the skin and examined the diversity of microbes. The teenagers&rsquo; living...

Read more of Biodiversity Correlates with Lower Rates of Allergies

Human Microbiome Project

  Typically we think of biomes as large communities of organisms covering vast areas; but a new idea of microbiome is becoming popularized as our understanding of microorganisms grows. The human body is just such a microbiome. For every one human cell in the body there are 10 microbial cells! If that sounds like disportionate amount and you find yourself wondering how it is possible to have more microbial cells than human cells, consider the fact that a typical microbe cell is much smaller than a...

Read more of Human Microbiome Project

Leaf-cutter ants, a model potential for biofuel production

  In recent years, researches have been looking for alternative energy sources that can replace fossil fuels. One of them is biofuel, a fuel produced from living organisms. A recent study, conducted by University of Wisconsin-Madison on the communities of leaf-cutter ants, has led to a discovery of potential model for better biofuel production.

Read more of Leaf-cutter ants, a model potential for biofuel production

Malaria Parasite Grows Stronger in Weak Immune Systems

  Malaria is a well-known disease; many know that it is transmitted by a mosquito bite or that it causes a high fever, but what numerous probably do not know is what the malaria parasite,&nbsp;Plasmodium chabaudi,&nbsp;does in a weakened immune system. The&nbsp;article&nbsp;linked tells of an experiment done to test just that.

Read more of Malaria Parasite Grows Stronger in Weak Immune Systems

Study finds biochemical role of crucial TonB protein in bacterial iron transport and pathogenesis

  The biochemical role of the protein, TonB, was relatively unknown for decades, but recent research has helped clear that up. TonB was noted to be especially important, as it is a pivotal factor in the membrane protein of Gram-negative bacteria&mdash;specifically aiding in the uptake of iron into the microorganism. The key in this discovery is finding it within the parameters of Gram-negative bacteria. Gram-negative bacteria, as opposed to Gram-positive bacteria, are typically considered the more...

Read more of Study finds biochemical role of crucial TonB protein in bacterial iron transport and pathogenesis

Autoinducers Act as Biological Timers in Vibrio harveyi

  Microorganisms, though individually capable of significant metabolic feats, often cooperate with other organisms to perform population-wide tasks. One example is the emission of light by biological organisms, termed bioluminescence, a phenomenon in which a population of bacteria must all express their genes encoding for luciferase, a light-producing protein, at the same time. This process is regulated by quorum sensing, the central focus of a 2012 study relating the expression of bioluminescence...

Read more of Autoinducers Act as Biological Timers in Vibrio harveyi

New bacteria found to hold homologous horA gene known for beer spoiling capabilities

  A new APT binding cassette, multi-resistant gene (ABC MDR) was discovered in 3 strains of bacteria unknown for housing this gene. Bacillus, Paenibacillus and Staphylococcus strains are new vehicles for this horA gene relative. These strains are usually found in the environment and are not known for spoiling beer. ABC MDR is homologous to the horA gene which has been linked with its ability to grow in beer and is already present in Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, which are bacteria that have been...

Read more of New bacteria found to hold homologous horA gene known for beer spoiling capabilities

The Microbiology of Beer

  One ancient and potentially overlooked application is microbiology&rsquo;s relevance to brewing beer. Brewing has been going on for thousands of years and the process has changed drastically over time, especially recently. A recent review compiled hundreds of relevant studies on microbiology&rsquo;s importance on beer quality from barley field to your glass. Brewing is a process of fermentation, thus yeast does most of the heavy lifting when producing beer. However, not any yeast will do. Bee...

Read more of The Microbiology of Beer

Mutations in influenza H5 HA can render droplet transmission ability

  Influenza viruses are a great threat to humans and have very well proven their pandemic nature such as the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. They contain the protein haemagglutinin (HA) which determines the host range by identifying specific receptors such as sialic acid linked to galactose by α2,6-linkages in humans.&nbsp;Recent studies&nbsp;at UW-Madison and University of Tokyo by Yoshihiro Kawaoka have identified a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus that can be transferred through droplet transmission in a fe...

Read more of Mutations in influenza H5 HA can render droplet transmission ability

Gut Microbes

  According to a study conducted at Illinois University, headed by Kelly Swanson, gut microbiomes are able to flourish in certain types of diets in any species. These microbes start to develop at birth and will cause different effects on the body depending on the microbe&#39;s arrangement. Theses microbes have been known to affect the immune system and are linked with metabolic issues, such as obesity in both animals and people. To see if gut microbes are similar to other microbes of different spe...

Read more of Gut Microbes

Weakened Immune Systems lead to Increased Virulence of Malaria parasite

  A recent Penn State experiment studied the effects of weak immune systems on the virulence and aggressiveness of a malaria parasite in mice. The study involved disabling a key immune molecule, CD4 receptors, with an antibody and then infecting these mice and a control group with an uncompromised immune system with the malaria parasite Plasmodium chabaudi. It lasted 21 weeks and each week, the parasite was taken from one mice and transferred to another previously uninfected mouse. They froze the...

Read more of Weakened Immune Systems lead to Increased Virulence of Malaria parasite

A Shot in the Arm for New Antiobiotics

  &nbsp; &nbsp; The ability of bacteria to develop resistance to antibiotics has posed as an ongoing obstacle for the medical community. &nbsp;Antibiotic resistance becomes evolutionarily favorable when the resistant microbes are able to thrive within a community. &nbsp;This in turn creates a pressure to maintain these mutated microbes and weed out the susceptible ones. &nbsp;Since mutated organisms are less fit, when resistance is no longer needed the original strain can thrive once again. &nbsp;...

Read more of A Shot in the Arm for New Antiobiotics

Gut Bugs Could Explain Obesity-Cancer Link

  Obesity is associated with increased risks of certain types of cancers, such as colorectal and liver cancer. The mechanism behind this relationship in humans is still unknown, but recent research has shown that gut microbiota may play a role. Scientists at the Cancer Institute of the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research in Tokyo studied the relationship between gut microbes and the development of liver cancer using lean and obese mice. By exposing the mice to a cancer-causing chemical shortly...

Read more of Gut Bugs Could Explain Obesity-Cancer Link

Vitamin c helps control gene activation

  It turns out that vitamin C is a switch for gene activation inside mouse stem cells. A recent study that was conducted by UC San Francisco researchers made it possible to help guide normal development in mice, humans and animals, improving results of in vitro fertilization and growing healthy stem cells in the near future. What happens is that vitamin C assists a specific group of enzymes called &ldquo;Tet&rdquo; which are activated during the early stages of fertilization and development. This...

Read more of Vitamin c helps control gene activation

How Your Cat is Making You Crazy

  Zombies seem to be all the rage recently in the entertainment industry. Obviously, Hollywood generally avoids keeping things &ldquo;scientific&rdquo; for entertainment purposes, but could it be possible to be controlled by another biological organism? Well, a Czech Scientist named Jaroslav Flegr sure thinks so. Flegr came to this idea when he noticed that he would do dangerous acts, like crossing the street, without thinking twice about it. He made the connection when he read about how a flatwor...

Read more of How Your Cat is Making You Crazy

Gut microbes may put barrier between species

  A recent study, conducted by Professor Seth Bordenstein of Vanderbilt University, proposed that two species of jewel wasp,&nbsp;Nasonia giraulti&nbsp;and&nbsp;Nasonia Vitripennis, remain separate species largely because of microbe interference, not lethal incompatibility in DNA, as many biologists believed.

Read more of Gut microbes may put barrier between species

The microbial communities surrounding radioactive waste dumps

  Growing interest in nuclear power is often hindered by the question of what to do with the radioactive byproducts. One solution is to bury them. In Mol, Belgium, at the HADES research center, scientists have discovered&nbsp;communities of microbes living in the clay surrounding structures that house nuclear waste. Some species of microorganisms are known to have detrimental effects on the materials used for these structures. Researchers have delved hundreds of meters underground in search of wha...

Read more of The microbial communities surrounding radioactive waste dumps

A New Reason Why Red Meat, and Some Energy Drinks, May Be Bad for Our Heart

  We have heard that Red meat is bad for our health, and we know that the high cholesterol content of the meat is what causes atherosclerosis by accumulating in blood vessels. But a new study has found that bacteria in our gut may in fact contribute to heart disease risk. Although this is quite confounding as we have never heard of the involvement of bacteria in heart health, Stanley hazen, the section head and a biochemist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio had published that L-Carnitine in red meat...

Read more of A New Reason Why Red Meat, and Some Energy Drinks, May Be Bad for Our Heart

Nanotechnology product has ability to slice cell membrane

  Normally when one thinks of microbes, they don&rsquo;t imagine them being able to be mechanically cut as one cuts an onion. Microbes are extremely small and we don&rsquo;t have blades fine enough to get the job done.&nbsp; However, researchers at Brown University have shown that the cell membrane of human cells can be cut by graphene microsheets. Graphene is a relatively new nanomaterial that is a two dimensional layer of repeating carbon and is made by exfoliating it off of chucks of graphite u...

Read more of Nanotechnology product has ability to slice cell membrane

Vaccines Various Methods of Creation Defend Against Disease

  Vaccines have been made ever since Edward Jenner created one for smallpox in the late 18th century. The 19th century saw a handful of vaccines created while the 20th witnessed a boom in creation. Today the process of making a vaccine in the United States is highly regulated by the FDA as well as the CDC. However, creating a vaccine is not a straightforward process. There are multiple ways in which a virus or bacteria and be used to create a vaccine that will protect a person for years to come....

Read more of Vaccines Various Methods of Creation Defend Against Disease

A New Model -- And Possible Treatment -- For Staph Bone Infections

  A recent article regarding a study on osteomyelitis, an incapacitating bone infection shows there may be a new treatment available. Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus (staph), often cause osteomyelitis. The bacteria involved in these infections are often resistant to complete classes of antibiotics, making current treatments insufficient for use and making it very difficult to treatment.

Read more of A New Model -- And Possible Treatment -- For Staph Bone Infections

Structure and Evolution of Streptomyces Interaction Networks in Soil and In Silico

  &nbsp;Streptomyces are gram-positive, filamentous bacteria that are often found in ground soils. &nbsp;They are prolific produces of antibiotics. &nbsp;These microbes survive by secreting toxic antibiotics in an effort to kill surrounding, competing&nbsp;microbes. Different strains of Streptomyces produce different secondary metabolites (antibiotics and other secreted chemicals).&nbsp; The presence of secondary metabolites can either inhibit or promote the growth of a cell.&nbsp; With this in mi...

Read more of Structure and Evolution of Streptomyces Interaction Networks in Soil and In Silico

Typhoid Toxin May Hold Answers To Mysterious Historical Disease

  Typhoid fever is a predominantly gastric bacterial disease that is found worldwide and is caused by the bacterium&nbsp;Salmonella entrerica&nbsp;serovar Typhi (S.&nbsp;Typhi). Typhoid is one of the most well documented diseases in history having ravaged populations as old as the Athenians of ancient Greece and as new as the citizens of Chicago less than a century ago. Modern sanitation and hygiene practices have all but eradicated the disease in developed nations but developing nations are still...

Read more of Typhoid Toxin May Hold Answers To Mysterious Historical Disease

Vitamin C helps control gene activity in stem cells

  Researchers have found that vitamin C is useful for enhancing&nbsp;gene activation. Why is this helpful to us? It can be applied to treating cancer or controlling vitro fertilization. This result was found by comparing mouse embryonic stem cells growing in many different mediums in accident. Then researchers began to find the mechanisms behind the result, and realized that vitamin C actually leads to the increased prevention of activation of an array of genes. &nbsp; &nbsp;

Read more of Vitamin C helps control gene activity in stem cells

Genomic streamlining in marine microbes

  Knowledge about microbes has proven to be useful for gaining a better understanding of the environment. As an example, phytoplankton &ndash; a photosynthetic marine microorganism &ndash; was discovered to be a source of half the Earth&rsquo;s supply of oxygen, thereby providing insight to our relationship with the ocean. However, researchers currently have an understanding about only a tiny fraction out of millions of existing microbial species. The problem is, most marine microbes cannot be...

Read more of Genomic streamlining in marine microbes

Mutations in influenza H5 HA can render droplet transmission ability

  Influenza viruses are a great threat to humans and have very well proven their pandemic nature such as the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. They contain the protein haemagglutinin (HA) which determines the host range by identifying specific receptors such as sialic acid linked to galactose by α2,6-linkages in humans. Recent studies at UW-Madison and University of Tokyo by Yoshihiro Kawaoka have identified a reassortant H5 HA/H1N1 virus that can be transferred through droplet transmission in a ferret model...

Read more of Mutations in influenza H5 HA can render droplet transmission ability

A New Reason Why Red Meat, and Some Energy Drinks, May Be Bad for Our Heart

  For years it has been thought that consuming too much red meat may increase a person&rsquo;s risk for heart disease. New research is indicating that it may not be the red meat that is the problem, but the microbes in our guts. High concentrations of the nutrient L-carnitine are found in red meat. L-carnitine helps transport fatty acids into the mitochondria of cells. The mitochondria are the energy powerhouses of cells. Doctor Stanley Hazen the section head of preventive cardiology and a biochem...

Read more of A New Reason Why Red Meat, and Some Energy Drinks, May Be Bad for Our Heart

Why TB Is Hard to Cure

  Mycobacterium is a type of bacteria that causes tuberculosis (TB) in humans. When dividing, cells usually split equally while copying DNA from the mother cell to the daughter cell. Recent research has shown that&nbsp;Mycobacteria&nbsp;behave in a unique manner, with cells dividing&nbsp;(through binary fission) asymmetrically. This means that the Mycobacteria all divide differently; they grow at different rates, sizes and have different vulnerability to antibiotics. Because the Mycobacteria cells...

Read more of Why TB Is Hard to Cure

On the trail of bacteria - Infrared light allows characterization of pathogens

  Researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna have developed an efficient&nbsp;method&nbsp;in determining if a bacterium can cause diseases or if it lacks the potential.&nbsp; The scientists have been studying the different strains of Staphylococcus aureus and how they behave within the host. S. aureus that lack capsules are less recognized by the host&#39;s immune system compared to those that have capsules and are more susceptible to recognition. These two different strains a...

Read more of On the trail of bacteria - Infrared light allows characterization of pathogens

Cholera is Altering the Human Genome

  Cholera is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium&nbsp;Vibrio cholera&nbsp;and is responsible for thousands of deaths every year. A study conducted in Bangladesh has provided researchers evidence that the human body has developed ways to combat this disease. Researchers have discovered that, due to the high prevalence of cholera, the genomes of individuals in Bangladesh have been altered to fight off cholera. These findings also exemplify how human evolution is still occurring in this day...

Read more of Cholera is Altering the Human Genome

Type 1 Diabetes Vaccine

  Scientists at Stanford University&nbsp;have created a useable vaccine for Type 1 Diabetes mellitus. &nbsp;This disease affects many people around the globe by decreasing the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas, causing high blood sugar in patients. &nbsp;Type 2 diabetes (aka &quot;adult onset&quot; diabetes) is caused by the body&#39;s inability to use insulin properly, whereas type 1 diabetes (&quot;juvenile&quot; diabetes) results from the body&#39;s inability to produce insulin. &nbsp;...

Read more of Type 1 Diabetes Vaccine

Critical Pathway in Cell Cycle May Lead to Cancer Development

  The Stalk Institute for Biological Studies has recently had a team studying the effects of a specific stage of reproduction for the cell, the G1 phase, and how it is different in cancer cells. In this stage, the end part of the chromosome, called telomeres, shorten after each replication. Eventually, in a healthy cell, the telomeres will become too short to replicate further and the cell dies. In cancer cells this process can be altered by the addition of an enzyme that allows for uncontrolled c...

Read more of Critical Pathway in Cell Cycle May Lead to Cancer Development

The Rise of Antibiotic Resistance: Ways of Mitigating

  Antibiotic resistance in both pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria is becoming an urgent topic in human health. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic resistance is developing in more and more bacteria. Resistance has been the cause of over 90,000 deaths nationwide, typically from patients with preexisting autoimmune diseases. Studies have been done to determine why more bacteria are acquiring resistance genes and the origin of these genes.

Read more of The Rise of Antibiotic Resistance: Ways of Mitigating

Bacterial Loads in Farmer's Market Whole Chicken Compared to Store-Bought Whole Chicken

  Concerns of pesticide use on produce has raised questions to some of the population because of new studies showing linkage&nbsp;to certain diseases.&nbsp; As a result, some seek organic products at the&nbsp;grocery store.&nbsp; Another alternative is purchasing fresh produce at the farmer&rsquo;s market which has become popular in recent years.&nbsp; The general population believes&nbsp;that locally grown foods are safer.&nbsp; However, that might not be the case in a small-scale study conducted...

Read more of Bacterial Loads in Farmer's Market Whole Chicken Compared to Store-Bought Whole Chicken

Can Gut Bugs Control One's Mind?

  Do you know anyone with high anxiety problems? Did you recently score below average on your exam or&nbsp;currently looking for an excuse to not exercise? If that is the case, gut microbes will be your best friend to excuse you from your daily workouts, anxiety problems, and bad exams. The study&nbsp;shows that&nbsp;microbes in our intestines may alter brain development. Many scientists who study behavior and gene activity have seen the change in brain development as they come across gut microbes...

Read more of Can Gut Bugs Control One's Mind?

Mycobacteria get the best of both worlds: Asexual and Sexual Reproduction

  Recently, it has been discovered that&nbsp;mycobacteria, have the &ldquo;best of both worlds&rdquo; when it comes to reproduction. They use a type of DNA transfer, called Distributive Conjugal Transfer, to swap genes with other mycobacteria. After the genome is thoroughly mixed, the bacteria is able to replicate asexually. Because these organisms are able to obtain a &ldquo;genetic blend&rdquo; of DNA from parent bacteria (a type of quasi-sexual reproduction), and also replicate individually, it...

Read more of Mycobacteria get the best of both worlds: Asexual and Sexual Reproduction

Prion-like protein accumulation in brain cells helps explain Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases

  &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;When looking at the damaged nerve cells of an Alzheimer&rsquo;s patient under a microscope, one observes clumps of proteins that seem out of place.&nbsp; Researchers have discovered these protein masses behave much like prions &ndash; malformed proteins normally found in healthy neurons.&nbsp; These contorted proteins in turn cause like proteins to misfold and bind to one another, resulting in a chain reaction or cascade that destroys entire regions of th...

Read more of Prion-like protein accumulation in brain cells helps explain Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases

Antibiotic resistant bacteria chemically communicate resistance to less-resistant bacteria

  A new study conducted by El-Halfawy and Valvano has demonstrated how resistance to antibiotics can be communicated to other less resistant bacteria through secreted chemicals.&nbsp;They investigated the mechanism of resistance to a bactericide, polymyxin-B (PmB), in resistant strains of&nbsp;Burkholderia cenocepacia,&nbsp;a species that causes severe infections in patients with cystic fibrosis. &nbsp;&nbsp;

Read more of Antibiotic resistant bacteria chemically communicate resistance to less-resistant bacteria

Insight on the Side-Effects of Antibiotics

  Ever wondered&nbsp;why it&#39;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. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; The dangers of anti-biotic resistance have been somewhat understood for the last twenty years. Initial concern was raised with the selective properties of...

Read more of Insight on the Side-Effects of Antibiotics

Creating a vaccine for malaria using chemically attenuated parasites

  Malaria is a parasitic disease spread by mosquitoes&nbsp;that causes an estimated 1 million deaths per year.&nbsp; 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&nbsp;the medicines used to treat malaria.&nbsp; 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.&nbsp; In the past, vaccine development for mal...

Read more of Creating a vaccine for malaria using chemically attenuated parasites

Novel Strategies for Safer Long-Term Antibiotic Usage

  &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;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. &nbsp;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.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbs...

Read more of Novel Strategies for Safer Long-Term Antibiotic Usage

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 &ldquo;In subglacial lake, surprising life goes on&rdquo;. &nbsp;Dr. Rodgers has discovered life in Lake Vostak, once thought to be free from&nbsp;any form of life and considered sterile by many scientists. Many even considered Lake Vostak as a possible model for other planets. &nbsp;Lake Vostak is the fourth deepest lake on earth and is the largest lake in Antarc...

Read more of Life Still Goes on in Even the Most Extreme Conditions

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&nbsp;community&nbsp;present plays an important role not only in food absorption, but also in the body&rsquo;s immune response. The bacterial community is dynamic and adapts as its environment, the&nbsp;human body,&nbsp;changes.&nbsp;As the title suggests, researchers hypothesized that HIV infection would have a significant impact the int...

Read more of Intestinal Bacteria May Fuel Inflammation and Worsen HIV Disease

Bugs provide new insights into relationships between animals and bacteria

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

Read more of Bugs provide new insights into relationships between animals and bacteria

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.

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

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.&nbsp;&nbsp; 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.&nbsp;

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

Novel chemistry for a new class of antibiotic

  A&nbsp;novel class&nbsp;of antibiotic being explored at the University of Adelaide has shown potential in the fight against bacterial antibiotic resistance.&nbsp; 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. &nbsp;By changing the target of the antibiotic, it is hoped that a broad range of antibiotic resistant bacteria wi...

Read more of Novel chemistry for a new class of antibiotic

Invasive Ladybird has Biological Weapon

  The harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis, one of the world&rsquo;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&rsquo;s success was due to a harmonine, a toxic antibacterial chemical found in its blood. However, entomol...

Read more of Invasive Ladybird has Biological Weapon

Drug Resistance Loiters on Antibiotic-Free Farms

  Scientists have found, to their surprise, that after two and a half years of being antibiotic free, pigs that were involved in a Canadian study carried bacteria that were still resistant to antibiotics. Scientists originally hypothesized that the antibiotic resistant mutation would be associated with some sort of fitness disadvantage, like many similar mutations. If this had been true, the bacteria would have been likely to lose their resistance when no longer in the presence of antibiotics.

Read more of Drug Resistance Loiters on Antibiotic-Free Farms

Intestinal microbes are linked to obesity and cancer

  Today, there is an epidemic in the United States that was not apparent 50 years ago. This epidemic is obesity amongst adults and children in this country. Blame for obesity has been set upon processed foods and sedentary lifestyles, but it wasn&rsquo;t until Eiji Hara of Tokyo turned his attention towards microbes in the intestine that other significant factors were considered to be risks of obesity as well. Hara executed two types of experiments. In one experiment, he fed mice different diet...

Read more of Intestinal microbes are linked to obesity and cancer

Bacterial DNA in Human Tumors

  Recent studies conducted at the University Of Maryland School Of Medicine indicate that bacterial DNA can be transferred to human tumor cells easier than into healthy human cells.&nbsp; Such genetic transfer, in which DNA from one organism is implemented into another organism of a different species, without traditional reproduction processes, is called lateral gene transfer or horizontal gene transfer.&nbsp; In order to research the role of lateral gene transfer in tumors, researchers at the...

Read more of Bacterial DNA in Human Tumors

The Microbial Effects of Climate Change

  It isn&#39;t often when scientists and policy makers think about the effects of&nbsp;climate change that they consider the microbial population. Microbes are 60% of the biomass on earth and have profound effects on the global environment. As a demonstration of this, Professor&nbsp;Ferran Garcia-Pichel of Arizona State University has studied the microbes present in desert soil using new molecular survey techniques. These methods allow researchers to rapidly characterize the population of microbes...

Read more of The Microbial Effects of Climate Change

The effect of (p)ppGpp on replication elongation rate in B. subtilis and E. coli

  In the research field, regulation of DNA replication during the initiation phase is well known while very little is known about regulation of replication during the elongation period. The process of DNA replication is complex, and it is highly regulated by specific factors in the environment. One factor that impacts regulation is the abundance of nutrients in the cell. In the bacterium&nbsp;Bacillus subtilis, replication elongation is inhibited when the cell undergoes amino acid starvation. In t...

Read more of The effect of (p)ppGpp on replication elongation rate in B. subtilis and E. coli

Another benefit to wetlands - Carbon sinks

  Balnca Bernal and William Mitsch have just published a paper in the Journal of Environmental Quality that looks at the potential of wet lands to serve as carbon sinks. Their paper shows that wetlands accumulate 242 g of carbon m-2 yr-1. This is 70% more than a natural wetland. Wetlands are great at trapping carbon because when plants that &nbsp;grow in the shallow water die, they fall into the water and must be degraded anaerobically. This is a much slower process, and a significant fraction of...

Read more of Another benefit to wetlands - Carbon sinks

Manipulating protein function in C elegans

  Researches at the Univ. of Mass-Amhearst, lead by professor Dan Chase have developed a technique that allows the down regulation of any protein, at any time, without mutation of the DNA of the organism under study. This will allow scientists to remove a protein activity in just one cell, and not affect the metabolism of the entire organism. Dr. Chase&#39;s team used this technique to determine what would happen if they manipulated dopamine levels in the worm Caenorhabditis elegans. This worm is...

Read more of Manipulating protein function in C elegans

Your mom was right - Don't skip breakfast!

  Obesity in this country is reaching epidemic proportions. Over 30% of the United States adult population is obese. This is&nbsp;not genetics. Thirty years ago we did not near the number of obese adults as we do today. It is a matter of poor diet and lack of exercise. To add to this phenomenon, research by Dr. Elizabeth Thomas demonstrates that skipping breakfast, just once, can cause acute insulin resistance. In this condition, the body requires higher levels of insulin to cause cells to absorb...

Read more of Your mom was right - Don't skip breakfast!

Serious Problem, Simple Solution

  A team of researchers at the University of Iowa, lead by Marin Schweizer, have developed guidelines that could reduce the incidence of post-surgery infections by more than 70%. The sources of post-operative&nbsp;infection in 85% of cases&nbsp;originated with the patient. They were infecting themselves, sometimes with highly resistant microbes, such as MRSA. These microbes were found to be harbored in the nasal passages &nbsp;and the patients would transmit the microbe by touching their nose and...

Read more of Serious Problem, Simple Solution

The CDC and H7N9 Influenza

  Dr Michael Shaw and his team at the CDC are making rapid progress in understanding the H7N9 influenza virus that is causing lethal cases of flu in China. There is great concern about this virus, and its potential to cause a serious pandemic. Currently the virus is not transmitting readily human-to-human, with most cases being bird-to-human. Unfortunately, the virus does not seem to greatly sicken birds, making it harder to detect and easier to spread. You can find some cool graphics and images o...

Read more of The CDC and H7N9 Influenza

A new source of stem cells

  Saleh Heneidi et al at&nbsp;UCLA have reported in PLOS One&nbsp;the isolation of pluripotent stem cells from adult adipose (fat) tissue. By stressing the tissue they killed off all of the cells in the fat tissue except the Multilineage Differentiating Stress-Enduring (Muse) Cells. These cells behave in cell culture in a manner reminiscent of embryonic stem cells and tests reveal that they can differentiate into mesenchymal, endodermal and ectodermal cell lineages.&nbsp;It is clear that these are...

Read more of A new source of stem cells

Edition 5 of Through the Microscope

  The process of creating the 5th edition of Through the Microscope has begun and you are at the new site. Unlike typical publishers, the process is completely open and you can watch the book take shape. Here is what is coming in the new edition Upgrade the backend server software to the latest release of Zikula. Create a new look for the book Update Microbial Diversity Update Microbial Ecology Update Bacterial Structure The deadline for the 5th edition is August 2013.

Read more of Edition 5 of Through the Microscope

Using Biosensors to detect important molecules

  An international team of scienctists has worked out a new biosensor that is able to detect its target molecule over a large concentration range. This will make these sensors more useful in many different applications; drug detection, cancer screenings, cancer treatment, and infectious disease. The method can detect its target in seconds.

Read more of Using Biosensors to detect important molecules

Calorie restriction may not lengthen life

  The results are in, calorie restriction may not extend your life. Previous studies of rats and mice demonstrated that calorie restriction could extend life span. While human behavior can sometimes be rat-like, there are distinct differences in physiology between rats and humans. A much anticipated calorie restriction study using rhesus monkeys shows that these results do not translate to our close cousins. Being overweight is a tremendously important predictor of life expectancy, but the number...

Read more of Calorie restriction may not lengthen life

Test taking actually improves comprehension of material

  Jeffrey D. Karpicke and Janell R. Blunt report that using tests to measure your comprehension of a subject also has the side benefit of helping you remember the material better. The NY times has an excellent article summarizing the findings. Through the Microscope has dozens of concept quizzes throughout the text that help you to check your understanding of the material. Each chapter also has an end of chapter quiz to further cement the concepts. As you use this text, make sure you take advanta...

Read more of Test taking actually improves comprehension of material

Natural gas as a way to reduce climate change?

  Cornell Professor Lawrence M. Cathles who studies Earth sciences calculates that switching from coal and oil to natural gas as we move toward renewable energy could decrease carbon emissions significantly. We do need a transition period, but lets make it as short as possible.

Read more of Natural gas as a way to reduce climate change?

A new antimalaria drug: less expensive, simple treatment, easy to produce

  Malaria is the most important tropical disease in the world, with over 665,000 deaths worldwide, many of them in children. The malaria parasites, protozoa of the Plasmodium genus, are susceptible to a number of drugs, but have been becoming more resistant the drugs available for treatment. Professor Jonathan Vennerstrom of the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy and his team announce the development of Synriam (a synthetic trioxolane) that has many of the properties of arte...

Read more of A new antimalaria drug: less expensive, simple treatment, easy to produce

Getting the floc out of here

  Floc is a real work, even if your spell-checker flags it. In fact, it's a scientific word that describes those little particles of fluff that float in aquatic systems. These little specs floating in the water column have a sinister secret, they harbor antibiotic resistance. Drudge et. al from McMaster University tested four different sites, Hamilton Harbour, impacted by sewer overflow; Sunnyside Beach in Toronto, impacted by wastewater; a rural stream by light agricultural activities; and a remo...

Read more of Getting the floc out of here

Bacteria are your friends

  Most people think germs on their bodies are a Bad Thing. If they didn't, hand sanitizers, disinfectant soap and bleach would not sell so well. As we learn more about the microbes that inhabit our bodies, we are realizing that the human being is really a superorganism composed of about a trillion human cells and 10 trillion microorganisms. Rarely a microbe will cause illness, but these are transient residents that the body actively removes. Most other microbes that live on us are benign and a sig...

Read more of Bacteria are your friends

Culturing microorganisms

  For over 100 years microbiologists have known, to their great consternation, that in any given environment, at least 90% of all microbes are unculturable. In the last few decades, we have developed molecular tools to see these microbes in the environment and determine their presences and number, but we still cannot bring them into culture. There are all sorts of ideas for why this might be true. Many of these microbes may be slow growing, and the fast growing microbes easily outpace them in labo...

Read more of Culturing microorganisms

A topoisomerase I mutation is lethal, the definative paper.

  Topoisomerase I unwinds the DNA during cell replication and is an enzyme that is found in Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya. Most every living thing has a homolog. To everyone's surprise, it is possible to create mutations that completely remove the activity of the enzyme, yet have cells capable of growth. These cells are sick, but they can grow. The latest research by Stockum et al. shows that these deletion mutants of topoisomerase I actually have compensating mutations, and in fact loss of topoi...

Read more of A topoisomerase I mutation is lethal, the definative paper.

Norvirus, resistance is futile. Well, maybe not

  Norovirus is a nasty little virus that causes tons of misery every winter. It is an RNA virus that infects the gastrointestinal tract causing violent vomiting and diarrhea. About 12 to 48 hours after being infected, rapid symptom onset will lay you flat for about a day. Even better, immunity to this virus fades in a few months and you are susceptible to a new attack. A particularly nasty strain of norovirus has been circulating in my area and my family came down with it just this weekend. The vi...

Read more of Norvirus, resistance is futile. Well, maybe not

Obesity and the Microbiome

  A large body of evidence is emerging showing that the microbiome has a role in obesity and I cover some of that information in Chapter 9 of Why Microbe Matter. The cost of obesity in this country is alarming. I ran across a great article about the societal costs of obesity by Loyola University. It's worth a read.

Read more of Obesity and the Microbiome