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Microbes

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
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
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
Last July, Corning announced that germ-killing glass for mobile device screens could be less than two years away. Well, things are apparently progressing quickly. Yesterday, the company unveiled its Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass – although you can't buy a phone that features it quite yet. Read More
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
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

Indoor green walls, for those who don’t know, are essentially flat vertical surfaces that are completely covered in plants. Not only do they look nice, but they also help remove toxins from the air. Now, gardening entrepreneur Mark Prescott has taken that same idea and applied it to a cat litter box deodorizer, known as the Purrfect Air Litter Box System. Read More

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
The internet has revolutionized global communications and now researchers at Standford University are looking to provide a similar boost to bioengineering with a new process dubbed “Bi-Fi.” The technology uses an innocuous virus called M13 to increase the complexity and amount of information that can be sent from cell to cell. The researchers say the Bi-Fi could help bioengineers create complex, multicellular communities that work together to carry out important biological functions. Read More
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
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