An international team of scientists conducting a global search for hypervirulent strains of Salmonella , the most common cause of infection, hospitalization, and death due to foodborne illness in the U.S., have developed a way to force the normally stealthy bacteria to reveal its biological weaponry before infection.
Antibiotics are mixed with animal feed to help livestock, pigs and chickens put on weight and stay healthy in crowded barns. Scientists have warned that this routine use leads to the growth of antibiotic-resistant germs that can be passed to humans. Now the Food and Drug Administration is weighing in on the matter, calling on drug companies to help limit the use antibiotics.
Bacteria adapt to habitats through random genetic mutations and gene exchange. But how does an advantageous mutation spread from a bacterium to a population? Does the gene sweep through a population or does an individual bacterium obtain the gene, then replicate its genome to form an adapted population? Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology show that genes can sweep through populations, indicating that the process of evolution in bacteria is very similar to that of sexual eukaryotes.
A group of Chinese and Australian scientists have developed a handheld, battery-powered plasma-producing device that can rid skin of bacteria in an instant. Driven by a 12 V battery, the plasma flashlight doesn't require any external generator or wall power, it also doesn't require any external gas feed or handling system.
Therapeutic proteins, which provide cutting-edge treatments of cancer, diabetes, and countless other diseases, are among today's most widely consumed biopharmaceuticals. By introducing bottom-up carbohydrate engineering into common bacterial cells, Cornell University researchers have discovered a way to make these drugs cheaper and safer.
Joint BioEnergy Institute researchers have developed a dynamic sensor-regulator system that can detect metabolic changes in microbes during the production of fatty acid-based fuels or chemicals and control the expression of genes affecting that production. The result in one demonstration was a threefold increase in the microbial production of biodiesel from glucose.
Without fungi and microbes to break down dead trees and leaf litter in nature, the forest floor might look like a scene from television's "Hoarders." Massive-scale genome sequencing projects being carried out at the Joint Genome Institute highlight the importance of learning how the cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin that serve as a plant's infrastructure can be broken down by these forest organisms to extract needed nutrients.
In search of ways to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, Australian scientists are analyzing synthetic antimicrobial skin secretions of Australian Green-Eyed and Growling Grass frogs. These two species were selected because peptides secreted from their skin form a defense to a broad spectrum of bacteria including Staphylococcus .
A research group in Japan have synthesized graphene by reducing graphene oxide using microorganisms extracted from a local river. The method was inspired by a recent report showing that graphene oxide behaves as a terminal electron acceptor for bacteria.
Researchers working at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have used powerful X-rays to help decipher how certain natural antibiotics defy a longstanding set of chemical rules—a mechanism that has baffled organic chemists for decades.
Using a new model to explain how mammalian cells establish the sense of direction necessary to move, researchers at the University of Texas have predicted how bacteria like Escherichia coli that cause food poisoning can hijack a cell’s sense of direction. They then confirmed those predictions in living cells.
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles have developed a new cell phone-based fluorescent imaging and sensing platform that can detect the presence of the bacterium Escherichia coli in food and water.
Life inside the human body sometimes looks like life on the high seas in the 1960s, when pirates hijacked foreign vessels in search of precious metals. For Neisseria bacteria, which can cause gonorrhea and meningitis, the booty is not gold or silver but plain old iron. Until recently, scientists did not understand how these bacterial snatch iron from healthy human cells, where a protein called transferrin bind the metal in a molecular bear hug.
Studies of bacteria first found in Yellowstone's hot springs are furthering efforts at the U.S. Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center toward commercially viable ethanol production from crops such as switchgrass.
North Carolina State University chemists have created a compound that makes existing antibiotics 16 times more effective against recently discovered antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
2011 brought two of the deadliest bacterial outbreaks the world has seen during the last 25 years. The two epidemics accounted for more than 4,200 cases of infectious disease and 80 deaths. Software developed at Georgia Tech was used to help characterize the bacteria that caused each outbreak.
A new study by food safety researchers at Drexel University demonstrates that plasma can be an effective method for killing pathogens on uncooked poultry. The study shows that plasma, since it is non-thermal, could successfully reduce pathogens on the surface of fruits and vegetables without cooking.
The pharmaceutical industry won approval to market a record number of new drugs for rare diseases last year, as a combination of scientific innovation and business opportunity spurred new treatments for diseases long-ignored by drug companies. Many of these so-called orphan drugs offer extra patent protections and faster government approval.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have discovered that certain photosynthetic ocean bacteria should beware of viruses bearing gifts: These viruses are carrying genetic material taken from their previous bacterial hosts that tricks the new host into using its own machinery to activate the genes, a process never before documented in any virus-bacteria relationship.
Recent research in China on amphibians so smelly that scientists term them “odorous frogs” has revealed a potentially rich source of new antibiotics. They concluded that these frogs possess the greatest diversity of germ-killing peptides.
The bottom of a glacier is not the most hospitable place on Earth, but at least two types of bacteria happily live there, according to researchers. The bacteria— Chryseobacterium and Paenisporosarcina —showed signs of respiration in ice made in the laboratory simulates the temperatures and nutrient content found at the bottom of Arctic and Antarctic glaciers.
By tethering a disease-fighting protein in our teardrops to a tiny transistor, University of California, Irvine scientists have discovered exactly how it destroys dangerous bacteria. This protein has “jaws” that latch on and chomp through rows of cell walls like someone hungrily devouring an ear of corn.
Modified probiotics, the beneficial bacteria touted for their role in digestive health, could one day decrease the risk of Listeria infection in people with susceptible immune systems, according to Purdue University research.
Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have developed a new laboratory test that can rapidly identify the bacterium responsible for staph infections. This new test takes advantage of unique isotopic labeling combined with specific bacteriophage amplification to rapidly identify Staphylococcus aureus .
Every living organism balances a budget of sorts—by allocating energy to various parts of its body to fuel essential life processes. Throughout its lifetime, an organism may rebalance this budget to spend more energy on certain processes over others. How an organism spends its energy determines, in large part, its ability to survive in the world. Researchers have now developed a mathematical model to depict how energy is spent in the smallest organism on Earth.