Inspired by the water boatman bug, a team at the University of Bristol has created the Row-bot, a robot prototype that is designed to punt itself across the top of the water in dirty ponds or lakes, and "eat" the microbes it scoops up. It then breaks these down in its artificial stomach to create energy to power itself. In this way, it generates enough power to continuously impel itself about to seek out more bacteria to feed upon.
Prebiotic compounds that promote the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, can be traced back billions of years to their origins in the primordial goo – a rich soup of compounds from which all organic life on Earth is theorized to have begun. Now, scientists at Australia's CSIRO have discovered just how good a rich broth of these early molecules may be at improving the acceptance of implanted medical devices in the human body.
Bandages are important for stopping germs from entering a wound and making things worse, but could they play a more active role in making things better? New research has brought the idea of wound-healing dressings closer to reality by establishing a method of electrical stimulation that kills off the majority of multi-drug resistant bacterium commonly found in difficult-to-treat infections.
A new NASA study has looked at the bacteria present on the International Space Station (ISS), assessing the species that could potentially be harmful to both astronauts and equipment. The research provides useful insights that are important for long-term space flights, such as the agency's planned mission to Mars.
Scientists have discovered that a bacterium called Thiomicrospira crunogena can produce carbonic anhydrase, an enzyme that can convert carbon dioxide into bicarbonate. In a new study, scientists from the University of Florida highlight how the bacterium, found in deep-sea regions, could play a role in the race to find solutions to sequester industrial CO2 from the atmosphere.
Currently, if you want to check water supplies for the presence of toxic bacteria, you have to take a water sample and then culture it in a lab over several days. In the meantime, it's impossible to say if the water source is safe to use. A group of students from the Technical University of Denmark, however, have created a sensor that they say can detect bacteria in water instantly, on the spot.
Do you remember Pig-Pen, the Peanuts comic character who's always surrounded by a cloud of his own filth? Well, it turns out that we're actually all a little like him. Scientists have discovered that not only does everyone emit an invisible "microbial cloud," but that individuals can be recognized by the bacteria that make up their particular cloud.
Currently, when scientists want to know if bacteria are present in
water, they have two main choices. They can take a sample to the lab,
where they'll try growing the suspected bacteria in it, and then count
the number of resulting colonies to determine the concentration. Or,
they can analyze it using expensive lab-based gas chromatography or mass
spectrometry equipment. Now, however, researchers from Seoul National
University have developed a "bioelectronic nose" that could be used on
location, and that is reportedly more sensitive than existing
We've previously heard about wound dressings that kill bacteria,
but now researchers at Australia's Swinburne University of Technology are
taking a different approach. They're creating a dressing material that
attracts bacteria out from within the wound, so that the material and
the microbes can then just be pulled off and discarded.
Consumers may soon be able to go for longer between milk-buying trips.
That's because Brazilian company Agrindus hopes to start marketing
plastic milk bottles that use embedded silver nanoparticles to kill
bacteria. Grade A pasteurized fresh whole milk packaged in those bottles can reportedly last for up to 15 days, as opposed to the usual seven.