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Bacteria

Back in 2013, we heard that nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diago (UC San Diego) had successfully used nanosponges to soak up toxins in the bloodstream. Fast-forward two years and the team is back with more nanospongey goodness, now using hydrogel to keep the tiny fellas in place, allowing them to tackle infections such as MRSA, without the need for antibiotics.

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Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley have created a hybrid system of bacteria and semiconducting nanowires that mimics photosynthesis. According to the researchers, their versatile, high-yield system can take water, sunlight and carbon dioxide and turn them into the building blocks of biodegradable plastics, pharmaceutical drugs and even biofuel. Read More
Researchers at Canada's McGill University have uncovered what could be a pretty sweet way of warding off bacteria. The scientists developed a concentrated extract of maple syrup and combined it with antibiotics, finding that it heightened bacteria's vulnerability, suggesting it could prove an effective way of lowering dosages required to treat infections and help to hamper the evolution of drug-resistant superbugs. Read More
Airliner cabins can get pretty germy. They're packed full of people from all over the world, who spend hours doing things like coughing, sneezing and touching surfaces with their grubby li'l hands. It was with this in mind that Arthur Kreitenberg and his son Mo created the GermFalcon. It's a robot that kills germs on planes, using ultraviolet light. Read More
Sensors that identify infectious disease and food contaminants may soon be printed on paper using ordinary office inkjet printers. Researchers at McMaster University have developed a prototype that could lead to a commercial product in the next few years which helps doctors and scientists in the field quickly detect certain types of cancer or bacterial and respiratory infections or monitor toxin levels in water. Read More
Researchers at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) have created a cheap and simple biosensing platform that is able to detect the presence of various types of harmful bacteria and viruses in a single drop of blood. When used in conjunction with a smartphone, the system offers the potential of diagnosing diseases in remote locations from anywhere in the world. Read More
By cladding a living cell with graphene quantum dots, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) claim to have created a nanoscale biomicrorobot (or cytobot) that responds electrically to changes in its environment. This work promises to lay the foundations for future generations of bio-derived nanobots, biomicrorobotic-mechanisms, and micromechanical actuation for a wide range of applications. Read More
We've been hearing a lot about the antibacterial qualities of silver, with silver nanoparticles finding use in everything from water filters to food packaging. Unfortunately, there are also concerns about the toxicity of those particles, particularly when they enter our bodies. Now, however, Polish scientists have developed what they claim is a safer alternative – an antibacterial coating that kills microbes using gold. Read More
Whenever foreign objects such as catheters, implants or other devices are placed within the human body, there's a danger that bacterial colonies known as biofilms could collect on them, leading to infections. Now, however, scientists at Harvard University's Wyss Institute have created a material that's too slippery for those biofilms to cling onto. It works by continuously releasing oil. Read More
Researchers at Cornell University have successfully treated diabetic rats by engineering a strain of lactobacillus, a rod-shaped bacteria common in the human gut, resulting in up to 30 percent lower blood glucose levels. The technology could pave the way for a new treatment for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes that could one day see managing diabetes be as easy as taking a daily probiotic pill.. Read More
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