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Microbes

— Environment

Cleaning up wastewater from oil and gas operations using a microbe-powered battery

By - March 2, 2015 1 Picture
A treatment process developed by engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder promises a simpler and more economical way to clean up the wastewater produced by oil and gas operations that is heavily salinated and full of organic contaminants. The technique, which involves the use of a microbe-powered battery, also produces rather than consumes energy. Read More
— Science

New technique uses most abundant gas on Earth to help create bioethanol

By - February 3, 2015 2 Pictures
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
— Medical

Hereditary gut microbes found to influence weight gain

By - November 9, 2014 1 Picture
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
— Space

Synthetic biology could be the key to manned space missions

By - November 6, 2014 2 Pictures
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
— Science

MIT "microwalkers" stroll across cell surfaces to seek out target areas

By - October 27, 2014 2 Pictures
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
— Health and Wellbeing

Beyond the call: Scientist self-administers fecal transplant in search for healthy microbiome

By - October 9, 2014 2 Pictures
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
— Good Thinking

DrinkPure water filter shows promise for worldwide use

By - July 25, 2014 3 Pictures
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
— Science

Research suggests Earth microbes could survive on Mars

By - May 20, 2014 1 Picture
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
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