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Bacteria

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

Associate Professor Darren Sun with some of his Multi-use Titanium Dioxide, prior to its i...

Graphene could soon be facing some competition for the unofficial title of “World’s Most Useful New Substance.” Led by Associate Professor Darren Sun, a team of scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have spent the past five years developing a material known as Multi-use Titanium Dioxide. Their research indicates that it can be used to produce hydrogen and clean water from wastewater, double the lifespan of batteries, create antibacterial wound dressings ... and more.  Read More

A bacterium, after being 'deflated' by a cicada wing's array of blunt spikes

Imagine if you took a water balloon and placed it on a bed of widely-spaced blunt nails. While the nails wouldn’t be pointy enough to pierce the balloon’s rubber skin, eventually the weight of the water would cause the rubber suspended between the nails to rupture. Well, it turns out that the clanger cicada uses the same principle to kill bacteria that settle on its wings. That finding could result in a new generation of antibacterial materials.  Read More

Researchers have found a cost-effective way to produce an alternative to ambergris (Photo:...

Highly prized by perfume makers, ambergris is a natural material that fetches thousands of dollars per pound. The high price tag is due to the material's rarity, which is a result of its source – the digestive system of sperm whales, from which it is expelled to float around the ocean and has led to it being dubbed "floating gold." While its cost and the endangered status of the sperm whale has caused many perfume manufacturers to turn to synthetic alternatives, the most popular of these is laborious to produce. Now a team of researchers has developed a method to sustainably produce large quantities of an ambergris alternative.  Read More

Students at the University of Surrey imprint their smartphones onto a bacterial growth med...

A relatively straightforward classroom experiment this may be, but the fascinating (and beautiful) images produced by students at the University of Surrey when they imprinted their smartphone onto a bacterial growth medium will inevitably give owners of similar devices pause for thought.  Read More

KTH's Josefin Illergård, who led the research on the new material

Because they’re known for being effective killers of bacteria, silver nanoparticles have been finding their way into a wide variety of antimicrobial materials. There are concerns, however, regarding the consequences of those nanoparticles being shed by the material and entering the environment. In particular, there are worries that through continuous low-level exposure to the nanoparticles, bacteria could develop a resistance to them. Now, researchers from Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology have announced the development of a new type of antibacterial material, that they claim won’t cause such problems.  Read More

PureMadi project leaders James Smith and Dr. Rebecca Dillingham

Silver is known for its antibacterial qualities, and has thus found its way into water filters created at institutions such as Stanford and McGill universities. Given that these filters are often used in developing nations, however, it would be nice if they could also contribute to the local economy – instead of being just one more thing that’s brought in from outside. Well, that’s just the idea behind the University of Virginia’s PureMadi filters and MadiDrops.  Read More

Zebra mussels fouling a marine sensor (Image: NOAA/Wikipedia)

Engineers at Duke University have developed a polymer that keeps ships’ bottoms clean by twitching like living skin. The paint-like material combats hull fouling by preventing marine organisms from collecting on hulls by physically moving on the microscopic level and thus dislodging bacteria from the surface without toxic chemicals.  Read More

Research conducted at Princeton and Rutgers Universities offers hope of synthetic catalyst...

Hydrogen is often hailed as a promising environmentally-friendly fuel source, but it is also relatively expensive to produce. However, new research conducted at Princeton University and Rutgers University poses the opportunity to produce hydrogen from water at a lower cost and more efficiently than previously thought possible.  Read More

Mariprofundus ferrooxydans PV-1 bacteria (Image: Clara S. Chan)

What do bacteria, wind turbines and solar panels have to do with one another? Nothing ... unless you can teach the bacteria to “breathe” electricity and turn it into biofuel. That’s still a very long way off, but a team of researchers at the BioTechnology Institute at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities have found a method for growing iron-oxidizing bacteria by feeding it electricity. It’s primarily a way to better study a recently-discovered type of bacteria, but it also holds the promise of turning electricity into biofuel.  Read More

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