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Keyword: microbiology

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  • World's Oldest Fossils Found in Ancient Australian Beach

    08/22/2011 8:23:26 PM PDT · by neverdem · 19 replies · 1+ views
    ScienceNOW ^ | 21 August 2011 | Elizabeth Pennisi
    Enlarge Image Old stomping grounds. This landscape in Western Australia is home to these very ancient fossil cells (inset). Credit: David Wacey/University of Western Australia When Martin Brasier discovered what looked like fossil cells in between the cemented sand grains of an ancient beach in Western Australia, he knew he had his work cut out for him. One of the biggest challenges for geologists is deciding when a fossil is really a fossil, particularly when it comes to early life. There are no bones to go by, and the mineralized spheres representing simple cells and sometimes filaments could easily...
  • Lager Beer's Mystery Yeast

    08/22/2011 7:12:21 PM PDT · by neverdem · 23 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 22 August 2011 | Sara Reardon
    Enlarge Image Bottoms up. Lager, as we know it, is likely a hybrid of S. cerevisiae and a newly discovered yeast from Patagonia. Credit: Stephan Zabel/iStockphoto Lager may have its roots in Bavaria, but a key ingredient arrived from halfway around the world. Scientists have discovered that the yeast used to brew this light-colored beer may hail from Argentina. Apparently, yeast cells growing in Patagonian trees made their way to Europe and into the barrels of brewers. Through the ages, brewers have tried to make their beers better, for instance, by improving on taste or color or making them...
  • Human Excrement to Blame for Coral Decline

    08/19/2011 12:07:15 PM PDT · by neverdem · 22 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 17 August 2011 | Gisela Telis
    Enlarge Image Coral killer. Bacteria found in human excrement cause white pox disease, which bares coral skeletons and kills their tissue. Credit: James W. Porter/University of Georgia Coral reef ecologists have laid a persistent and troubling puzzle to rest. The elkhorn coral, named for its resemblance to elk antlers and known for providing valuable marine habitat, was once the Caribbean's most abundant reef builder. But the "redwood of the coral forest" has declined 90% over the past decade, in part due to highly contagious white pox disease, which causes large lesions that bare the coral's white skeleton and kill...
  • Suicide-Bombing Bacteria Could Fight Infections

    08/19/2011 11:39:20 AM PDT · by neverdem · 5 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 16 August 2011 | Sara Reardon
    Enlarge Image Guerrilla tactics. Biologists have created synthetically engineered E. coli (left) that explode and kill pathogenic P. aeruginosa (right). Credit: CDC Like any good military unit, infectious bacteria have access to numerous weapons and efficient communication systems. But like soldiers in the field, they're also susceptible to suicide bombers. Researchers have used the tools of synthetic biology to create an Escherichia coli cell that can infiltrate foreign bacteria and explode, killing off the pathogens along with itself. The project, says bioengineer Chueh Loo Poh of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, was "inspired by nature," particularly by quorum sensing,...
  • U of Minnesota researchers discover a natural food preservative that kills food-borne bacteria

    08/04/2011 4:18:55 PM PDT · by decimon · 5 replies
    University of Minnesota ^ | August 4, 2011 | Unknown
    University of Minnesota researchers have discovered and received a patent for a naturally occurring lantibiotic — a peptide produced by a harmless bacteria — that could be added to food to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and listeria. The U of M lantibiotic is the first natural preservative found to kill gram-negative bacteria, typically the harmful kind. "It's aimed at protecting foods from a broad range of bugs that cause disease," said Dan O'Sullivan, a professor of food science and nutrition in the university's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. "Of the natural preservatives, it has...
  • Antibodies linked to long-term Lyme symptoms

    08/09/2011 10:53:23 AM PDT · by neverdem · 9 replies
    Nature News ^ | 5 August 2011 | Amy Maxmen
    Researchers find molecules that might mark elusive syndrome. Some patients with Lyme disease still show symptoms long after their treatment has finished. Now proteins have been discovered that set these people apart from those who are easily cured. People who experience the symptoms of Lyme disease, which include fatigue, soreness and memory or concentration loss, after treatment for the disorder are sometimes diagnosed as having chronic Lyme disease or post-Lyme disease syndrome. But these diagnoses are difficult to make, because the individuals no longer seem to harbour the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. And the symptoms could instead be indicative...
  • Respiratory virus jumps from monkeys to humans

    07/17/2011 12:06:38 AM PDT · by neverdem · 16 replies
    Nature News ^ | 14 July 2011 | Zoe Cormier
    Adenovirus remained infectious after crossing species barrier. A class of virus has for the first time been shown to jump from animals to humans — and then to infect other humans. The virus is described in PLoS Pathogens today1. The team that discovered it might also have found the first human to be infected: the primary carer for a colony of titi monkeys (Callicebus cupreus) that suffered an outbreak. The culprit is an adenovirus, one of a class of viruses that cause a range of illnesses in humans, including pneumonia. But this particular strain has never been seen before. It...
  • Chemist solves riddle of killer diseases (Gram-positive bacteria)

    06/23/2011 9:01:38 AM PDT · by decimon · 16 replies
    University of Copenhagen ^ | June 24, 2011 | Unknown
    Bacterial poisonAnthrax, septicemia and meningitis are some of the planet's most deadly infections. In part because doctors lack basic insights to prevent and cure diseases caused by so called Gram-positive bacteria. Now, a chemist from the University of Copenhagen has revealed the mechanism behind these deadly infections.By creating a synthetic version of a Gram-bacterial endotoxin, Danish synthetic chemist Christian Marcus Pedersen has made a contribution that'll compel immune biologists to revise their textbooks. More importantly, he has paved the first steps of the way towards new and effective types of antibiotics. Chemist in international collaboration with biologists and physiciansThe research...
  • Unusual Traits Blended in Germany E. Coli Strain

    06/23/2011 1:04:56 PM PDT · by neverdem · 34 replies
    NY Times ^ | June 22, 2011 | GINA KOLATA
    University Hospital Münster/Institute for HygieneThe E. coli O104:H4 strain has a pattern that looks like a stack of bricks on cultured intestinal epithelial cells. The E. coli bacteria that killed dozens of people in Germany over the past month have a highly unusual combination of two traits and that may be what made the outbreak among the deadliest in recent history, scientists there are reporting. One trait was a toxin, called Shiga, that causes severe illness, including bloody diarrhea and, in some patients, kidney failure. The other is the ability of this strain to gather on the surface of an...
  • Lyme disease bacteria take cover in lymph nodes

    06/16/2011 2:11:48 PM PDT · by decimon · 15 replies
    University of California - Davis ^ | June 16, 2011 | Unknown
    The bacteria that cause Lyme disease, one of the most important emerging diseases in the United States, appear to hide out in the lymph nodes, triggering a significant immune response, but one that is not strong enough to rout the infection, report researchers at the University of California, Davis. Results from this groundbreaking study involving mice may explain why some people experience repeated infections of Lyme disease. The study appears online in the journal Public Library of Science Biology at: http://tinyurl.com/3vs8pm9. "Our findings suggest for the first time that Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease in people, dogs...
  • The Dirty 11: Panel Names Pathogens That Pose Biggest Security Risk for Research

    06/16/2011 8:46:01 PM PDT · by neverdem · 6 replies · 1+ views
    ScienceInsider ^ | 15 June 2011 | Yudhijit Bhattacharjee
    A United States federal panel of scientists and security experts has identified 11 microorganisms that it wants designated as Tier 1 select agents, a new category of biological agents that would be subject to higher security standards than other pathogens and toxins used in biomedical research. The category would include anthrax, Ebola, Variola major and Variola minor (the two viruses that cause small pox), the Marburg virus, the virus that causes foot and mouth disease, and bacterial strains that produce the botulinum neurotoxin. At the same time, the panel has recommended dropping 19 pathogens and six toxins from the broader...
  • Phage on the rampage - Antibiotic use may have driven the development of Europe's deadly E. coli.

    06/09/2011 8:53:08 PM PDT · by neverdem · 16 replies
    Nature News ^ | 9 June 2011 | Marian Turner
    Women, beansprouts, cucumbers, bacteria, cows: the cast of the current European Escherichia coli outbreak is already a crowd. Enter the phage. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria, and they are star players in the chain of events that led to this outbreak. Bacterial infections often originate from contaminated food, but it is now about six weeks since the start of this outbreak and the trail is going cold. It's hard to be sure of the culprit — but this simply serves to highlight the importance of understanding how infectious bacteria get into the food chain in the first place. Case-control...
  • Discovery of canine hepatitis C virus opens up new doors for research on deadly human pathogen

    06/07/2011 4:32:19 PM PDT · by neverdem · 7 replies
    EurekAlert! ^ | 23-May-2011 | NA
    Contact: Daniela Hernandez dfh2101@columbia.edu 310-991-2391 Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health In a study to be published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers report the discovery of a novel hepatitis C-like virus in dogs. The identification and characterization of this virus gives scientists new insights into how hepatitis C in humans may have evolved and provides scientists renewed hope to develop a model system to study how it causes disease. The research was conducted at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, the University...
  • New Data Spark Retraction Request for Chronic Fatigue Virus Study

    06/03/2011 10:19:46 PM PDT · by neverdem · 10 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 31 May 2011 | Jon Cohen
    Enlarge Image Buggy research? Increasing evidence suggests that contamination explains ties between CFS and XMRV, pictured here in a cross-sectional illustration and an electron micrograph. Credit: Bob Silverman/Cleveland Clinic/Illustration by David Schumick; (inset, right) Lombardi et al., Science You cannot un-ring a bell, but you can retract a scientific study. Then again, as a raging debate over a Science paper that linked a mouse retrovirus to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) makes clear, retractions can be a tall order, too. In conjunction with their decision to publish two additional papers that strongly question the link between the virus, known as...
  • New Superbug Found in Cows and People

    06/02/2011 5:26:28 PM PDT · by neverdem · 6 replies
    ScienceNOW ^ | 2 June 2011 | Jocelyn Kaiser
    A novel form of deadly drug-resistant bacteria that hides from a standard test has turned up in Europe. Researchers found the so-called MRSA strain in both dairy cows and humans in the United Kingdom, suggesting that it might be passed from dairies to the general population. But before you toss your milk, don't panic: The superbug isn't a concern in pasteurized dairy products. MRSA, short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a drug-resistant form of the widespread and normally harmless S. aureus bacteria. Many people walk around with MRSA in their noses or on their skin yet don't get sick. But...
  • DNA Sequence Yields Clues to Germany's 'Super Toxic' E. coli outbreak

    06/02/2011 4:18:36 PM PDT · by neverdem · 52 replies
    ScienceInsider ^ | 2 June 2011 | Martin Enserink
    Just from the high number of deaths and severe cases, scientists and public health experts battling Germany's massive E. coli outbreak knew they were up against something unusual. Now, early results from sequencing projects of the enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) strain appear to confirm that a never-before-seen hybrid, combining the worst of several bacterial strains, is causing the havoc. The Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), in Shenzhen, China—which today announced that it has sequenced the microbe's entire 5.2-million-base-pair genome—says that its acquisition of several virulence genes make this EHEC strain "supertoxic." The outbreak, which has caused mayhem in European trade relations,...
  • Does Disease Cause Autocracy?

    05/31/2011 8:29:54 PM PDT · by neverdem · 14 replies
    Reason ^ | May 31, 2011 | Ronald Bailey
    New studies say that lowering the rate of infection helps lead to political liberalization. Greater wealth strongly correlates with property rights, the rule of law, more education, the liberation of women, a free press, and more social tolerance. The enduring puzzle for political scientists is how do the social processes that produce freedom and wealth get started in the first place? Many political theorists have associated democracy with the rise of wealth and the establishment of a large middle class. As Ronald Inglehart, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, and Christian Welzel, a political scientist at Jacobs University...
  • MRC Scientists Identify Genes That Make MRSA Difficult To Beat

    05/13/2011 12:42:04 PM PDT · by neverdem · 18 replies
    Medical Research Council ^ | May 12, 2011 | NA
    Research at the Medical Research Council (MRC) has highlighted genes in the bacterium Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that may help the superbug to survive after it has been targeted by antibacterial agents. This discovery could inform the development of future drugs to overcome MRSA’s defence systems. The research team, including scientists at the MRC Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh and the Universities of St Andrews, Dundee and London, developed a gene map to improve understanding of how MRSA escapes being killed by antimicrobials. For the first time, they were able to map relationships between 95 per cent of MRSA genes,...
  • Salmonella hits US teaching labs - Wave of infections triggers investigation into biosafety...

    05/10/2011 4:27:32 PM PDT · by neverdem · 10 replies
    Nature News ^ | 10 May 2011 | Erika Check Hayden
    Wave of infections triggers investigation into biosafety practices. A spate of lab-associated Salmonella infections has swept across the United States during the past year, prompting public-health officials to examine how closely labs are following infection-prevention protocols. "The fact that cases seem to be happening all over the country has raised the question of whether there are issues with laboratory safety and appropriate training techniques," says Mack Sewell, state epidemiologist at the New Mexico Department of Health in Santa Fe. Between August 2010 and March this year, 73 infections due to Salmonella typhi­murium, a relatively common strain of the bacterium, caused...
  • FDA clears first test to quickly diagnose and distinguish MRSA and MSSA

    05/09/2011 7:09:21 PM PDT · by neverdem · 6 replies
    FDA NEWS RELEASE ^ | May 6, 2011 | NA
    For Immediate Release: May 6, 2011Media Inquiries: Erica Jefferson, 301-796-4988, erica.jefferson@fda.hhs.govConsumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDAFDA clears first test to quickly diagnose and distinguish MRSA and MSSA The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today cleared the first test for Staphylococcus aureus (S.aureus)  infections that is able to quickly identify whether the bacteria are methicillin resistant (MRSA) or methicillin susceptible (MSSA).There are many different types of Staphylococci bacteria, which cause skin infections, pneumonia, food and blood infections (blood poisoning). While some S.aureus infections are treated easily with antibiotics, others are resistant (MRSA) to commonly prescribed antibiotics such as penicillin and amoxicillin. The KeyPath MRSA/MSSA...