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Bacteria

Claimed to be the greatest lack of evolution ever discovered, a deep-sea microorganism – sulfur bacteria – recently uncovered by an international group of scientists is reported not to have evolved for more than 2 billion years. Despite it appearing to be an aberration in nature, researchers say that the microscopic creature’s unchanging nature actually supports Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Read More
Zymomonas mobilis bacterium might be tricky to say, but this bioethanol-producing microbe could become a household name if Indiana University biologists have their way. The biologists claim have found a quicker, cheaper, cleaner way to increase bioethanol production in this microorganism by using the most abundant element in the Earth’s atmosphere: nitrogen gas (N2). By replacing chemical fertilizers with N2, production costs could be slashed and cellulose ethanol derived from wood pulp made much more economically viable – so much so that the researchers believe it may compete with corn ethanol and gasoline on price. Read More
If you think your better half buys a lot of crap, then you might want to consider OpenBiome before starting on the criticism. The American non-profit is paying donors dollars for their doo-doo in an effort to gather more materials for fecal microbiota transplants (FMTs), a relatively new, but 90 percent effective, treatment for the debilitating Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). Read More
Last year, scientists from the University of Chicago found that a probiotic therapy using a common gut bacteria prevented sensitization to peanut allergens – in mice. Now researchers at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, have shown that a similar probiotic treatment, this time involving Lactobacillus rhamnosus, has a similar effect, but this time in children. Read More
A fresh study carried out by researchers from King's College London (KCL) has established a link between a certain form of bacteria present on the skin following a surface wound and a type of white blood cell receptor, that together tip the scale away from the normal healing process and instead encourage the formation of cancerous tumors. The results of the study have the potential to create innovative treatment options for patients suffering from skin diseases, such as those that result in chronic ulcers and severe blistering. Read More
According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), 129,000 Americans are sent to hospital and 3,000 die each year from food poisoning. Currently, tracing contaminated food is largely a matter of record keeping and detective work, but Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers, in partnership with DNATrek, have developed DNATrax, a DNA-based additive for directly tracking food from producer to consumer. Read More
There's nothing quite as refreshing as a glass of beer on a hot day and nothing more disgusting than discovering that the beer has gone off in the bottle, leaving a sour, cloudy mess. To save innocent palates and Sunday barbecues, the Fraunhofer Institute is developing a new polymer powder that can quickly detect pathogens in beer before they can ruin the brew. Read More
Over the past quarter century, many pharmaceutical companies have largely turned their backs on the quest to develop new antibiotics, blaming difficulties surrounding the clinical trials process and turning their attention to the more profitable development of so-called "lifestyle drugs." One company bucking the trend is NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals, which has announced the discovery of a new class of antibiotic that holds promise for treating drug-resistant superbugs. Read More
People often state that certain planets are too hot, cold or toxic to support life. The catch, however, is that those people are really just talking about life as we know it here on Earth. By that same token, when rovers exploring other planets seek out chemical signatures associated with life forms, they're only able to identify chemicals that we know to look for. That's why Swiss scientists from the EPFL research center have created a device that identifies microscopic life, based on nanoscale movements instead of chemistry. Read More
The world produces a hell of a lot of waste and a great part of it is food waste. According to the United Nations Environment Program, around one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year is either lost or wasted. In an effort to deal with all this waste in a green way, New York-based BioHitech has developed a device that breaks food waste down into grey water and connects to a cloud system to allow the company to tap the power of big data to monitor and improve the performance of the units. Read More
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