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Music sounds better with bacteria: a scientist has swapped graphs for music in order to re...

Scientists often need to find creative ways to present data visually so others can interpret it more easily. Peter Larsen, of the Argonne National Laboratory in the U.S., decided to do something a little different: he represented microbial data with sounds. More specifically, he sonified data relating to bacteria collected from the western part of the English Channel.  Read More

The Great Work of the Metal Lover forces extremophilic bacteria to metabolize high concent...

For centuries, the world's great thinkers were consumed by the search for the mythical Philosopher's Stone. Franciscan friar Roger Bacon is said to have penned a formula for its creation in the 13th century, legend would have us believe that German friar Albertus Magnus actually found a substance capable of transmuting base metals into gold or silver, and English scientist and mathematician Isaac Newton was a known devotee of the magnum opus. Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have put a microbial spin on the ancient quest by creating a bioreactor that forces bacteria to transform a toxic liquid that, as team member Kazem Kashefi says, "has no value into a solid, precious metal that’s valuable."  Read More

In the near future, genetically-altered Ralstonia eutropha bacteria could be used to conve...

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have succeeded in genetically altering Ralstonia eutropha soil bacteria in such a way that they are able to convert carbon into isobutanol, an alcohol that can be blended with or even substituted for gasoline. It is hoped that once developed further, this technology could help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and lessen the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by smoke stacks.  Read More

Scientists have developed a hydrogel that lengthens the shelf life of bananas (Photo: Shut...

Just about everyone loves bananas, but there is one problem with the things – they have a way of becoming overripe before they can be eaten. Yesterday, however, a scientist from China’s Tianjin University of Science and Technology announced the development of a spray-on coating that is capable of keeping picked bananas fresh for almost two weeks.  Read More

The Orapup is a tongue-cleaning device that is claimed to improve the smell of your dog's ...

Almost anyone who owns a dog will tell you that they love it unconditionally. However, I think they would also agree that dogs have some unpleasant odors from time to time. Many of these odors originate from the K9’s mouth – imagine how badly your mouth would smell if you only brushed your teeth every year or so when you paid a visit to the veterinarian. The Orapup is designed to clear up bad dog breath by cleaning the tongue.  Read More

Research at Oregon State University by engineer Hong Liu has discovered improved ways to p...

In the latest green energy – or perhaps that should be brown energy – news, a team of engineers from Oregon State University (OSU) has developed new technology they claim significantly improves the performance of microbial fuel cells (MFCs) that can be used to produce electricity directly from wastewater. With the promise of producing 10 to 50 times the electricity, per volume, than comparable approaches, the researchers say the technology could see waste treatment plants not only powering themselves, but also feeding excess electricity back to the grid.  Read More

An ultra-slippery surface treatment known as SLIPS has been shown to keep bacterial biofil...

Last June, scientists from Harvard University announced the development of their new SLIPS (Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces) technology. When used to coat surfaces, it is highly effective at keeping ice, frost, or just about any type of liquid from accumulating on them. Now, it turns out that SLIPS is also very good at keeping something else from getting a toehold – biofilms.  Read More

Researchers at the UK's Newcastle University have discovered an enzyme from a microbe on t...

From an early age, parents and dentists alike will continually stress the importance of effective dental hygiene into the consciousness of a child but for me, the message didn't really hit home until I met Pogues front-man Shane MacGowan backstage at Leeds University in the mid-1980s. I've been a dedicated twice daily brusher ever since and have noted all manner of decay-fighting ingredients finding their way into my choice of toothpastes, including extracts from cocoa, the neem tree, aloe vera and eucalyptus. New research from the UK suggests using microbes to fight microbes, or more precisely an enzyme from bacteria found on the surface of seaweed. Lab tests have shown that the enzyme is effective in fighting plaque and the researchers believe that the discovery could lead to more effective oral hygiene products.  Read More

The entire Mycoplasma genitalium bacterium has been replicated as a computer model

For the first time ever, a computer model of a complete living organism has been created. True, it’s a single-celled organism – in fact, it’s the world’s smallest free-living bacterium, Mycoplasma genitalium. Still, all of its systems and the relationships between them have been replicated in silico, allowing scientists to conduct research that might otherwise have proved impossible. It also paves the way for computer modeling of more complex organisms, such as humans.  Read More

IBM's 'ninja polymers' are capable of killing antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as Staphy...

Bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can not only cause potentially lethal infections, but they are also unaffected by commonly-available antibiotics. Even when it comes to bacteria that can be more easily controlled, we are still constantly being warned about the danger of them becoming antibiotic-resistant. Now, however, researchers have discovered a new antiobiotic-free method of killing bacteria including MRSA ... and it’s based on semiconductor technology.  Read More

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