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74 posts tagged with Bacteria.
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Highway to the danger zone.

1 in 6 Americans become sick from foodborne illness each year, and like a norovirus infection, the blame is easy to spread around. Where does foodborne illness happen, and does it matter? Doug Powell of Barfblog (previously) notes that peer reviewed studies claim in-home food safety failures account for anywhere from 15 to 90% of food poisoning cases, which is enough variance to make anyone shrug. But what do we really know when it comes to foodborne illness? Read on for a stomach-turning romp through what food safety research tells us about a question as old as Ask Metafilter. [more inside]
posted by deludingmyself on Dec 15, 2014 - 110 comments

Digesting polyethylene

Some waxworms (abstract) are the first animal discovered to eat polyethylene, the world's most common plastic. The waxworms - larvae of the Indian meal moth - have not one, but two different gut bacteria capable of digesting the persistent plastic.
posted by clawsoon on Nov 28, 2014 - 61 comments

Coming soon to a health store near you?

AS THE SUN set over Lake Eyasi in Tanzania, nearly thirty minutes had passed since I had inserted a turkey baster into my bum and injected the feces of a Hadza man – a member of one of the last remaining hunter-gatherers tribes in the world – into the nether regions of my distal colon. I struggled to keep my legs in the air with my toes pointing towards what I thought was the faint outline of the Southern Cross rising in the evening sky. With my hands under my hips – and butt perched against a large rock for support – I peddled an imaginary upside down bicycle in the air to pass the time as I struggled to make sure my new gut ecosystem stayed put inside me.
Jeff Leach's attention grabbing opening starts a fascinating overview about researching gut fauna, microbiomes and the hunter-gatherer diet of the Hadza people of Tanzania in the quest to rediscover humanity's "natural" guts. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Oct 9, 2014 - 59 comments

Exploring the Invisible

Dr. Simon Park is Exploring the Invisible, the world of microbial art, with Physarum (writeup), A New Field Guide To The Wild Flowers Of The Crystal World, Designing Flowers For A Bee-Less World, Ghost. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Aug 17, 2014 - 2 comments

I, for one, welcome our new...

Meet the electric life forms that live on pure energy
posted by jojomnky on Jul 18, 2014 - 24 comments

Radioactivity is in the air for you and me

What zombie trees tell us about the world's worst nuclear disaster: in the abandoned forests around Chernobyl the trees that died in the accident are still standing because all the bacteria and fungi died off and hasn't come back, according to research done by Timothy A. Mousseau.
posted by MartinWisse on May 23, 2014 - 47 comments

Bathing in bacteria

Spray on some friendly bacteria and skip the soap? (NYT) Plenty of people have tried the 'no-poo' method to switch from shampoos, but what about skipping everything, and adding some bacteria instead? We bathed without soap for a long time and antibacterial soap is really bad for us. AOBiome wants you to think Bacteria is the New Black.
posted by viggorlijah on May 22, 2014 - 112 comments

Gut Feeling

The future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach.
posted by monospace on Apr 14, 2014 - 29 comments

Protein Packing

Harvard University and XVIVO have come together again (Previouslyw/ a commercial focus, Previouslierw/an Academic focus) to add to the growing series of scientific animations for BioVisions -- Harvard's multimedia lab in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. 'Protein Packing' strives to more accurately depict the molecular chaos in each and every cell, with proteins jittering around in what may seem like random motion. Proteins occupy roughly 40% of the cytoplasm, creating an environment that risks unintentional interaction and aggregation. Via diffusion and motor protein transport, these molecules are directed to sites where they are needed.
Much of this is no doubt inspired by the beautiful art and explained illustrations of David Goodsell, a biologist at Scripps who has been accurately portraying the crowdedness of the cellular landscape for a long time now.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 10, 2014 - 9 comments

The Fat Drug

IF you walk into a farm-supply store today, you’re likely to find a bag of antibiotic powder that claims to boost the growth of poultry and livestock. That’s because decades of agricultural research has shown that antibiotics seem to flip a switch in young animals’ bodies, helping them pack on pounds. Manufacturers brag about the miraculous effects of feeding antibiotics to chicks and nursing calves. Dusty agricultural journals attest to the ways in which the drugs can act like a kind of superfood to produce cheap meat. But what if that meat is us?
posted by brenton on Mar 13, 2014 - 71 comments

FDA to Require Proof That Antibacterial Soaps Are Safe

F.D.A. to Require Proof That Antibacterial Soaps Are Safe - SLNYT
posted by Evilspork on Dec 16, 2013 - 96 comments

Imagining the Post-Antibiotics Future

Five years after my great-uncle’s death, penicillin changed medicine forever. Infections that had been death sentences—from battlefield wounds, industrial accidents, childbirth—suddenly could be cured in a few days. So when I first read the story of his death, it lit up for me what life must have been like before antibiotics started saving us. -- Lately, though, I read it differently. In Joe’s story, I see what life might become if we did not have antibiotics any more.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Nov 26, 2013 - 103 comments

Blessed are the cheesemakers

Bacteria from personalities has been used to make human cheese as part of an exhibition on synthetic biology in Dublin. This included cheeses grown from bacteria from various belly buttons, noses, armpits, tears, mouths and toes. If that's a bit too strong for you, then other exhibits in the show include humans reproducing dolphins for food, and mice cloned from Elvis Presley's DNA.
posted by Wordshore on Nov 20, 2013 - 40 comments

As Paracelsus put it, "the dose makes the poison."

Dr Bruce Ames, a toxicologist and one of the world's most cited scientists, discusses the impact of his Ames test, "toxic chemicals," and scaremongering [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 6, 2013 - 22 comments

we are bacteria all the way down

Some of My Best Friends Are Germs
It is a striking idea that one of the keys to good health may turn out to involve managing our internal fermentation. Having recently learned to manage several external fermentations — of bread and kimchi and beer — I know a little about the vagaries of that process. You depend on the microbes, and you do your best to align their interests with yours, mainly by feeding them the kinds of things they like to eat — good “substrate.” But absolute control of the process is too much to hope for. It’s a lot more like gardening than governing. The successful gardener has always known you don’t need to master the science of the soil, which is yet another hotbed of microbial fermentation, in order to nourish and nurture it. You just need to know what it likes to eat — basically, organic matter — and how, in a general way, to align your interests with the interests of the microbes and the plants. The gardener also discovers that, when pathogens or pests appear, chemical interventions “work,” that is, solve the immediate problem, but at a cost to the long-term health of the soil and the whole garden. The drive for absolute control leads to unanticipated forms of disorder.
[more inside]
posted by ninjew on Jun 1, 2013 - 24 comments

No Shit

Can fecal transplants save 14,000 lives a year?
posted by Artw on May 26, 2013 - 51 comments

Cities Of The Future

Cities Of The Future, Built By Drones, Bacteria, And 3-D Printers. [Via]
posted by homunculus on May 2, 2013 - 21 comments

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind: E. Coli & Cloud Formation

Scientists Find Bacteria Survive at High Altitudes
Study finds significant microorganism populations in middle and upper troposphere
Microbiome of the upper troposphere: Species composition and prevalence, effects of tropical storms, and atmospheric implications
See also Properties of biological aerosols and their impact on atmospheric processes

posted by y2karl on Jan 29, 2013 - 17 comments

The players in a mutualistic symbiosis: insects, bacteria, viruses, and virulence genes.

One of the many problems farmers of various kinds of legumes need to deal with is the pea aphid. They reproduce incredibly fast and live by sucking the sap out of the plants, an electron micrograph of one in action. However, while they are terrifying parasites of legumes, they have their own yet more horrific parasites, a parasitoid wasp. Here is a really nice close up picture of one doing its thing, a video of the act, and here is a brain meltingly horrific video of a dissection of the mummified aftermath 8 days later. Essentially, these wasps deposit their eggs in a pea aphid and the growing larva feeds on it, developing there for about a week, and then consuming the host from the inside out like a Xenomorph. When it’s done, the wasp larva dries the aphid’s cuticle into a papery brittle shell and an adult wasp emerges from the aphid mummy. Legume farmers love them, and you can even order their mummies online these days. However, farmers noticed that the wasps didn't work as effectively on all of the aphids, and so researchers went to work figuring out why. It turns out that all aphids have a primary bacterial endosymbiont living inside their cells, in addition to and just like a mitochondria, and that many have some combination of five other secondary endosymbionts. Interestingly, two of those other five, Hamiltonella defensa and Serratia symbiotica have been shown to confer varying levels of resistance to the parasitoid wasp, allowing the aphid to survive infection. However, it turns out that there is yet one more layer to this story, [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 22, 2012 - 50 comments

Constitutive formation of caveolae in a bacterium.

Constitutive formation of caveolae in a bacterium. [Full Text]
Caveolin plays an essential role in the formation of characteristic surface pits, caveolae, which cover the surface of many animal cells. The fundamental principles of caveola formation are only slowly emerging. Here we show that caveolin expression in a prokaryotic host lacking any intracellular membrane system drives the formation of cytoplasmic vesicles containing polymeric caveolin. Vesicle formation is induced by expression of wild-type caveolins, but not caveolin mutants defective in caveola formation in mammalian systems. In addition, cryoelectron tomography shows that the induced membrane domains are equivalent in size and caveolin density to native caveolae and reveals a possible polyhedral arrangement of caveolin oligomers. The caveolin-induced vesicles or heterologous caveolae (h-caveolae) form by budding in from the cytoplasmic membrane, generating a membrane domain with distinct lipid composition. Periplasmic solutes are encapsulated in the budding h-caveola, and purified h-caveolae can be tailored to be targeted to specific cells of interest.
Elio Schaechter writes in plain English about how fantastically amazing and unexpected the researchers actually pulling this off is, and he also talks about it in more detail in his podcast.
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 18, 2012 - 22 comments

Humans are less human than we thought.

Icky face-pooping flesh mites are only the tip of the iceberg. You've heard that your gut bacteria are necessary to help you digest, meaning not all germs are bad. Without them, we couldn't digest healthily. But stop and look at how far our interconnectedness with other forms of life goes: 1. Human DNA itself is at least 8.3% ancient viruses; without one of these viruses you could never have been born. 2. Mitochondria in human cells originated when the same type of bacteria that causes typhus disease raided one of our cellular ancestors and instead of hijacking it was pressed into service. (The same origin as chloroplasts in plants from cyanobacteria). 3. Far more of the cells in your body are non-human microorganisms than actual human cells. This relationship is not just interconnectedness. This is integration. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Sep 13, 2012 - 59 comments

UC-Davis doctors banned from research.

2 UC Davis neurosurgeons accused of experimental surgery are banned from human research. Bacterial infection after surgery to remove glioblastoma is thought (anectodally by neurosurgeons) to confer survival advantage to patients, despite limited and contradicting information from previous studies (abstract 1, abstract 2). Drs. J. Paul Muizelaar and Rudolph J. Schrot, with patient consent, introduced Enterobacter aerogenes into open wounds of 3 terminally ill patients in an effort to prolong life. Two patients later died due to sepsis. Upon learning that Muizelaar and Schrot had given patients the bacteria, UC-Davis notified (pdf) the Food and Drug Administration of the serious non-compliance issue. Currently, both Muizelaar and Schrot remain employed at UC-Davis, and Muizelaar remains chairman of the Nuerological surgery department.
posted by nasayre on Jul 24, 2012 - 49 comments

Dirtying Up Our Diets

Increasing evidence suggests that the alarming rise in allergic and autoimmune disorders during the past few decades is at least partly attributable to our lack of exposure to microorganisms that once covered our food and us. [more inside]
posted by j03 on Jun 22, 2012 - 84 comments

Gene Map of Body's Microbes Is New Health Tool

Gene Map of Body's Microbes Is New Health Tool
posted by noaccident on Jun 13, 2012 - 11 comments

Fascinating time lapse movies of molds and fungi

"This gallery contains time lapse movies of fungi, molds, bacteria, slime molds and insects of interest to plant pathologists." Be sure and check out the peach and plum, Homer Simpson growing "hair", a rotting book and mushrooms growing and dying.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 29, 2012 - 22 comments

I wouldn't put my tongue on that.

Afterlife: Making rotten food beautiful.
posted by shakespeherian on May 24, 2012 - 18 comments

Though the mountains divide and the oceans are wide...

Since 1977, Nikon has held a Small World Photomicrography Competition, to showcase that which cannot be seen with the naked eye. This year's winner will be announced in November, but until October 31, we have been invited to vote for one of this years' 115 finalists to receive the 'Small World Popular Vote Award.' [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 26, 2011 - 13 comments

I really dig infectious diseases (much to the dismay of those dining with me).

How did hookworm infections slow the economy of the postbellum South? Do body mites play a role in diseases such as rosacea? Did fermenting seal flippers in Tupperware instead of traditional containers increase Native Alaskan botulism rates? Body Horrors is the blog of microbiologist Rebecca Kreston, who aims to explore the intersection of infectious diseases, the human body, public health and anthropology.
posted by emjaybee on Sep 24, 2011 - 36 comments

Dengue Control

Australian scientists have successfully trialled a method for controlling Dengue fever that involves infecting populations of mosquitoes with an endosymbiotic bacteria. The bacteria kills non-infected mosquitoes that mate with an infected individual, is passed to offspring of an infected individual, and confers resistance to Dengue upon infected individuals. [more inside]
posted by Ahab on Aug 25, 2011 - 56 comments

Belly Button Wonderland

"Out of 53 species [of bacteria found in my belly button], 35 were present in only 10 or fewer other volunteers. And 17 species in my navel didn’t show up in anyone else. In the column for notes in Dunn’s spreadsheet, he’s annotated these species with scientific descriptions like “weird one” and “totally crazy.” Several species I’ve got, such as Marimonas, have only been found in the ocean before. I am particular baffled that I carry a species called Georgenia. Before me, scientists had only found it living in the soil. In Japan." (via Sullivan)
posted by LarryC on Jul 5, 2011 - 74 comments

Re-usable grocery bags: A-ok!

A new study finds that re-usable grocery bags don't harbor sickening bacteria as much as previously found. Turns out, the previous study (June, 2010), which reported significant levels of sickness producing bacteria present in the bags they tested, was sponsored by the American Chemistry Council, an organization that represents the interests of the people who manufacture plastic bags. “A person eating an average bag of salad greens gets more exposure to these bacteria than if they had licked the insides of the dirtiest bag from this study,” says an expert.
posted by crunchland on Jun 28, 2011 - 67 comments

Microbe Wiki

MicrobeWiki is a free wiki resource on microbes and microbiology [more inside]
posted by Confess, Fletch on Apr 23, 2011 - 6 comments

Eat the Titanic? Or, Biological Relay Chat.

In 2000, microbial ecologist Roy Cullimore and Charles Pellegrino (author of Ghosts of the Titanic) discovered that the Titanic was being eaten by an extremeophile super-organism, transforming the steel into huge pillars of rust. [Previously, regarding the Titanic.] [more inside]
posted by mephron on Apr 18, 2011 - 17 comments

Trans*POO*sion

Fecal transplants have been used with success to treat C.difficile infections, often acquired in hospital or nursing homes and notoriously difficult to treat. They have also shown some efficacy in treatment of ulcerative colitis (pdf). [more inside]
posted by ursus_comiter on Mar 28, 2011 - 97 comments

NASA Scientist Finds Extraterrestrial Bacteria In Meteorite

Dr. Hoover has discovered evidence of microfossils similar to Cyanobacteria in freshly fractured slices of the interior surfaces of the Alais, Ivuna, and Orgueil CI1 carbonaceous meteorites. The scientist's conclusion is that the fossilized bacteria are not Earthly contaminants but are the fossilized remains of living organisms which lived in the parent bodies of these meteors, e.g. comets, moons, and other astral bodies. The implications are that life is everywhere, and that life on Earth may have come from other planets.
posted by Surfin' Bird on Mar 5, 2011 - 150 comments

The Science of Eggnog

Want to make eggnog weeks ahead of time? You might try this recipe, courtesy of The Rockefeller University's Dr. Rebecca Lancefield (PDF biographic article). In this 2008 video, her colleagues demonstrate how to make it; they suggest starting it now, tasting it at Thanksgiving, and drinking it at Christmas. In their 2009 follow-up video, they intentionally add Salmonella to the recipe as they make it, to see if the added liquor kills off the infection. Videos courtesy of Science Friday. (BONUS LINK: if you missed last year's Puerto Rican Nog celebration, get ready for the 9th annual NYC Coquito Contest!)
posted by Greg Nog on Nov 10, 2010 - 24 comments

Bacteria 'R' Us

Bacteria can communicate with each other, take concerted action, influence human physiology, alter human thinking, and work together to change their environment. The bacteria in your gut are talking to each other, and to you, and you are talking back to them. The mind boggles. [more inside]
posted by exphysicist345 on Oct 19, 2010 - 55 comments

Gingers and daywalkers rejoice!

The human body is made up of more bacteria cells than human cells. Now, researchers at Harvard have isolated the genes responsible for producing amino acids that can block ultraviolet light and managed get E. coli bacteria to produce them too. Can I interest you in some sunblocking bacteria living on your skin?
posted by T.D. Strange on Sep 3, 2010 - 40 comments

The Linux Gene Network

Yale scientists analogize the Linux call graph with the E. coli gene regulatory network in an open access PNAS article. Carl Zimmer explores the implications of network design versus evolution, suggesting that a more modular architecture in bacteria leads to a rugged (i.e. robust) system that does not "crash" like a computer.
posted by jjray on May 5, 2010 - 26 comments

A new branch of animal life is discovered

Meet three new species of Loricifera, the first multicellular forms of life found that can live entirely without oxygen (figures and full article, PDF). [more inside]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 8, 2010 - 30 comments

Video of your immune system at work

B is bacteria and that's good enough for a white cell!
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Feb 6, 2010 - 39 comments

It's a livin' thing... It's a terrible thing to lose...

Back before refrigeration, humanity turned to fermentation for much of our food preservation. With the help of some friendly bacteria and/or yeasts, home cooks can transmute tea into kombucha, and milk into yogurt, creme fraiche and buttermilk. [more inside]
posted by mccarty.tim on Jan 18, 2010 - 66 comments

Infect. Reproduce. Repeat.

Phage Wars 2: Now with customizable traits and retro interface fun! (previously) (related)
posted by The Whelk on Dec 17, 2009 - 14 comments

Blood Tide

Blood Falls - The iron rich red liquid gushing from a buried Antarctica lake shows how life may have existed on a snowball Earth, or on Europa.
posted by Artw on Apr 18, 2009 - 52 comments

Discovering bacteria's amazing communication system

The secret, social lives of bacteria. "Bonnie Bassler discovered that bacteria 'talk' to each other, using a chemical language that lets them coordinate defense and mount attacks. The find has stunning implications for medicine, industry -- and our understanding of ourselves." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 10, 2009 - 52 comments

Om nom nom nom

A Hunter-killer stalks its prey in your bloodstream.
posted by orthogonality on Oct 5, 2008 - 30 comments

Another week, another benefit

We all know that marijuana has some medical uses. It has been discussed on Mefi many times before. Earlier this month a group of pharmacists and chemists published a study in which they found that cannabis is a source of antibacterial chemicals for multidrug resistant bacteria. If you are a pharmacists or chemist here is the actual study. A synopsis of the study for everyone else.
posted by Mr_Zero on Aug 27, 2008 - 48 comments

Why Do Beans Make You Fart?

ilovebacteria.com explains science to people who do not necessarily have a scientific background. You'll find a selection of DIY experiments like egg osmosis, and strange facts like the ever popular why does asparagus make your wee smell? And don't forget to meet the microbes.
posted by netbros on Jun 11, 2008 - 9 comments

Natural selection observed in a lab

In the 1980s, Richard Lenski hypothesized that his research team should be able to watch random mutations and natural selection taking place in a lab by observing a bacteria population over many generations. In 1988, beginning with a single bacterium, he started several replicate colonies. Recently, after 33,127 generations, his team has observed natural selection.
posted by Tehanu on Jun 10, 2008 - 55 comments

You got your E.coli in my pancakes and it's AWESOME

Cool: Scientists have genetically tweaked bacteria to create simple computers. Scary (probably unnecessarily): They're E.coli bacteria. Funny: The bacteria are able to solve the “Burnt Pancake Problem”. Money quote: “It’s kind of like that computer in ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. It’s been working on a problem so long that by the time it comes up with an answer, everybody forgot the question.”
posted by wendell on Jun 2, 2008 - 41 comments

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