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Bacteria

Dissolving polyphenols found in green tea in a saline solution instantly produces transpar...

Researchers at Northwestern University have discovered new ways of utilizing the properties of naturally occurring polyphenols found in green tea, red wine and dark chocolate. Dissolving polyphenol powders in water with a small amount of salt instantly produces transparent coatings that kill bacteria on contact, have antioxidant qualities and are non-toxic. The sticky nature of polyphenols and the low cost of materials could open the door to a wide range of uses for these coatings.  Read More

Workers harvest sunscreen-producing bacteria from Norway's Trondheim fjord (Photo: Credit ...

The next generation of powerful sunscreens may have their roots in some unlikely sources – corals from the Great Barrier Reef and bacteria found in the Trondheim Fjord in Norway. When developed, these new sunscreens could offer protection across a wider band of ultraviolet (UV) radiation suspected to cause deadly forms of skin cancer, which current sunscreens don't protect against. The discoveries represent huge breakthroughs, made possible by harnessing the natural sunscreen abilities that these life forms have developed over millions of years to survive the harsh UV radiation in their respective environments.  Read More

Prof. Edward Cocking, developer of the N-Fix system

Synthetic crop fertilizers are a huge source of pollution. This is particularly true when they’re washed from fields (or leach out of them) and enter our waterways. Unfortunately, most commercial crops need the fertilizer, because it provides the nitrogen that they require to survive. Now, however, a scientist at the University of Nottingham has developed what he claims is an environmentally-friendly process, that allows virtually any type of plant to obtain naturally-occurring nitrogen directly from the atmosphere.  Read More

Japanese startup Spiber is working on mass-producing artificial spider silk, an extremely ...

Spider silk is a truly remarkable material: it's tougher than Kevlar, strong as steel, lighter than carbon fiber, and can be stretched 40 percent beyond its original length without breaking. Now, Japanese startup Spiber says it has found a way to produce it synthetically and, over the next two years, will step up mass production to create anything from surgical materials to auto parts and bulletproof vests.  Read More

E. coli are reportedly no match for Corning's antimicrobial glass (Image: Shutterstock)

According to a study conducted for Which? magazine in 2010, the surface of the average mobile phone contains 18 times the amount of harmful bacteria as a flush lever in a mens’ public toilet. Other studies have come up with other numbers, but the phone always comes out the dirtier of the two. To that end, Corning is now developing antimicrobial glass, which may be killing germs on your phone’s display within two years.  Read More

The self-healing-concrete would fill cracks and prevent decay and the corrosion of rebar (...

You’d think that concrete would last forever. After all, it’s pourable stone, so it should hang around as long as the Rock of Gibraltar. But, under the right (or wrong) conditions, concrete decays with alarming speed. To combat this, researchers at the University of Bath in the UK are working on a self-healing concrete that uses bacteria to seal the cracks that lead to decay. In this way, they hope to cut down on maintenance costs and increase the life of concrete structures.  Read More

Bacteriophage attacking an infectious bacterium

Though not something people like to ponder, the purpose of mucus as a protective barrier that keeps underlying tissues moist and traps bacteria and other foreign organisms is well known. However, researchers at San Diego State University (SDSU) have now discovered that the surface of mucus is also the site of an independent human immune system that actively protects us from infectious agents in the environment.  Read More

The new infection-indicating dressing on a healthy skin sample (R) and on an infected skin...

Serious burns can lead to infection and potentially fatal toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Once an infection sets in, it is vital to begin treatment quickly to avoid or minimize a transition to TSS. The problem is, removing dressings to check for infection can be painful, slow the healing process and increase the chance of scarring. A prototype dressing developed by chemists at the University of Bath in the UK alerts doctors to the first signs of infection by glowing under ultraviolet (UV) light.  Read More

Dengue is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and 2.5 billion are exposed to it acro...

It can be lethal, it makes patients ill for weeks and there’s no vaccine against it. Cases of dengue fever, whose symptoms usually include high temperature, body ache and fatigue, have increased 30-fold in the last 50 years. The World Health Organization estimates that around 50 to 100 million people are infected yearly and 2.5 billion people live in risk areas. After a successful trial run in Australia, a promising development that uses a common bacteria to fight dengue is about to be tried in one of the most affected countries in the world – Brazil.  Read More

A rendering of the nanosponges attracting bloodstream-borne toxins

If you’ve seen many old westerns, then you’ll likely have watched a few scenes where one cowboy has to suck rattlesnake venom out of another one’s leg. Things would have been much easier for those cowboys if nanosponges had been around at the time. Developed by scientists at the University of California, San Diego, the tiny sponges mimic red blood cells, and are able to soak up lethal toxins – including snake venom and bacteria – from the bloodstream.  Read More

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