Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Microbes

A genetically-inherited microbe naturally found in the gut that is more common in thin peo...

A new study has determined that not only are bacteria naturally found in the gut involved in obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, but they are genetically inherited. Researchers at King's College London and Cornell University identified a highly-heritable bacterial family that is more common in individuals with low body weight and that could pave the way for genetics-based personalized probiotic therapies for obesity-related diseases.  Read More

Scientists at Berkeley Lab believe that synthetic biology techniques could produce a signi...

The secret to pulling off long-term manned space missions is biomanufacturing – at least, that's the argument presented by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) who have used synthetic biology to produce sustainable alternatives to fuel and anti-malaria drugs. Their theory rests on the idea that biological production processes and harnessing of materials at the mission destination could dramatically reduce mass (and hence cost) requirements.  Read More

The microwalkers consist of a pair of particles, one of which has magnetic properties and ...

Ever wonder how a germ knows where to attack the body or how a white blood cell knows where to counter attack? How bacteria find food? Or how cells organize themselves to close a wound? How can something so simple do things so complex? A team of MIT researchers is seeking the answers as they develop "microwalkers" – microscopic machines that can move unguided across the surface of a cell as they seek out particular areas.  Read More

Leach has spent more than a year studying the Hadza, who still eat a diet a man from sever...

American scientist Jeff Leach performed his own fecal transplant with stool borrowed from a hunter gatherer tribesman to better understand the changing nature of gut bacteria ecosystems. Mr Leach was working with the Human Food Project to study to Hadza tribe of Tanzania and the way their gut bacteria may differ from those of people in the West.  Read More

Jeremy Nussbaumer with the DrinkPure filter

It's no secret that hundreds of millions of people around the world have little or no access to drinkable water. While a number of projects are aimed at getting filtration systems to those people, many of those systems require electricity, contain costly materials such as silver, or treat the water at a slow rate. The low-cost DrinkPure filter, by contrast, is simply screwed onto the top of an existing bottle, and can purify approximately one liter (34 fl oz) of water per minute.  Read More

Methanogens prepared to be exposed to Martian conditions

Since the first Mariner probes reached the Red Planet in the 1960s, it’s become clear just how very alien Mars is and how hard it is to find parallel examples of possible Martian life on Earth. However, it’s not impossible. Rebecca Mickol, a doctoral student in space and planetary sciences at the University of Arkansas, has discovered that two species of methane-producing bacteria can live in the harsh conditions on Mars, and may aid in the search for life there.  Read More

MIT professor of geophysics Daniel Rothman stands next to part of the Xiakou formation in ...

A team of researchers from MIT may have found new evidence to shed light on the cause of the most devastating mass extinction in the history of our planet. The event, estimated to have taken place around 252 million years ago, was responsible for the extinction of roughly 90 percent of all life on Earth.  Read More

Samples of the coating, which contains dyes that make bacteria die

Hospital-acquired infections are a major health threat, and have prompted the development of preventative measures incorporating things like blue light and selenium nanoparticles. One of the latest such developments is a light-activated antimicrobial surface coating made from silicone, dye and gold. For some reason, it also works in the absence of light.  Read More

The MicrobeScope is a mini microscope designed for use with the iPhone

We've seen devices that let you attach your smartphone to a microscope, but they require you to have access to a microscope in the first place. What if you don't? Well, that's where the MicrobeScope comes in. It's a portable 800x microscope that works with newer iPhones – or just with the naked eye.  Read More

Researchers have finally discovered the key to dark chocolate's health benefits (Photo: Sh...

It has long been known that eating chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, has numerous health benefits. Although various studies have backed this up, the exact reason as to why this is so has remained a mystery. Now researchers from Louisiana State University have provided the answer – gut microbes.  Read More

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