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Can We Save the World by Remixing Life?

Can We Save the World by Remixing Life? | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it

In 2011, a team of undergraduate students from Imperial College London devised a fresh way of halting the spread of deserts: Make bacteria that will persuade plants to grow more roots. …

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Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news
A collection of material relating to microbiology and food safety in general
Curated by Iain Haysom
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Bacteriophage behavioral ecology: How phages alter their host's habits

Bacteriophage behavioral ecology: How phages alter their host's habits | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
Bacteriophages direct many aspects of bacterial behaviour.
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Salmonella outbreak investigated

Salmonella outbreak investigated | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it

Public Health England is investigating an outbreak of Salmonella which has affected 156 people in England over the past few months.

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Small Things Considered: Pictures Considered #19. The Basal End of Bacterial Flagella

Small Things Considered: Pictures Considered #19. The Basal End of Bacterial Flagella | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
by Elio | The end of bacterial flagella that is near the cell is a marvel of mechanical miniaturization — a molecular wheel that turns, just like the axle of a car. The assembly consists of a stator, the part that holds it in place, and a rotor, the part that…
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Antibiotics vs. the Microbiome « Science-Based Medicine

Antibiotics vs. the Microbiome « Science-Based Medicine | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it

The rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma, food allergies, hay fever, eczema, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, acid reflux disease, and esophageal cancer are all on the rise. Martin Blaser, MD, director of the Human Microbiome Program at NYU, thinks antibiotics may be to blame, either as a causal or a contributing factor.

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Recommended - a good read.

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5 Big Myths About Ebola, Debunked

5 Big Myths About Ebola, Debunked | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
What you need to know about the deadly disease.
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Clostridium botulinum - One Nasty Bug - The Cause of Botulism | Marler Blog

Clostridium botulinum - One Nasty Bug - The Cause of Botulism | Marler Blog | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it

Botulism is a rare, life-threatening paralytic illness caused by neurotoxins produced by an anaerobic, gram-positive, spore-forming bacterium, Clostridium botulinum.

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'Normal' bacteria vital for keeping intestinal lining intact

'Normal' bacteria vital for keeping intestinal lining intact | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
Scientists have found that bacteria that aid in digestion help keep the intestinal lining intact. The findings could yield new therapies for inflammatory bowel disease and a wide range of other disorders.
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Monitoring rise and fall of the microbiome

Monitoring rise and fall of the microbiome | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
Close analysis of bacteria in the human digestive tract reveals links to diet and other lifestyle factors, researchers report. Trillions of bacteria live in each person's digestive tract. Scientists believe that some of these bacteria help digest food and stave off harmful infections, but their role in human health is not well understood.
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Revealed: the dirty secret of the UK’s poultry industry

Revealed: the dirty secret of the UK’s poultry industry | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
Two-thirds of fresh retail chicken in the UK is contaminated with campylobacter, a nasty bug that affects about 280,000 people a year. We investigate why
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Why Has This Really Common Virus Only Just Been Discovered? – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science

Why Has This Really Common Virus Only Just Been Discovered? – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
The most common viruses in your body don’t make you ill. Instead, they infect the legions of microbes that live in your gut. These bacteriophages, or phages for short, number in their trillions. An...
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How Microbes Can Help Feed the World, 2013

How Microbes Can Help Feed the World, 2013 | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
"How Microbes can Help Feed the World" explains how plant-microbe interactions can be used to increase crop production.
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Fussy eaters: the favoured food of Salmonella | Lab Rat, Scientific American Blog Network

Fussy eaters: the favoured food of Salmonella | Lab Rat, Scientific American Blog Network | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
As antibiotic resistance increases the search for new anti-bacterial treatments becomes more and more important. One way to design anti-bacterials is to find specific biochemical pathways ...
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These Microbes Drive The Planet’s Breath And Ocean’s Pulse – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science

These Microbes Drive The Planet’s Breath And Ocean’s Pulse – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
A few years ago, a team of scientists took an expensive robot, attached it to a buoy floating off the coast of Hawaii, and left it there. From the outside, it would have looked like an elaborate ga...
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Our Microbiome May Be Looking Out for Itself

Our Microbiome May Be Looking Out for Itself | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
Microbes are beneficial to humans in many ways, but research suggests they may be influencing our behavior for the sake of their evolutionary success.
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Early Antibiotics Change Gut Microbes, Fuel Obesity – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science

Early Antibiotics Change Gut Microbes, Fuel Obesity – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
What’s the short version? There are tens of trillions of microbes in our guts, which are important for our digestion and our health. The antibiotics that we take to kill off disease-causing bacteri...
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UK food watchdog admits chicken factory breached hygiene laws

UK food watchdog admits chicken factory breached hygiene laws | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
Food Standards Agency says it was wrong to clear Scunthorpe plant of any failings, as more workers make dirty poultry claims
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Small Things Considered: Oddly Microbial: Selfish Genes*

Small Things Considered: Oddly Microbial: Selfish Genes* | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
by Marcia Stone | Evolution is largely driven by conflict, not collaboration, according to cell evolutionist Harmit Malik at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). Mammalian cells are contentious places, he explains, populated by alien and host genomic sequences fighting for dominance. “In the competition between one gene faction and another, the side…
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The Quantified Microbiome Self – Phenomena: The Loom

The Quantified Microbiome Self – Phenomena: The Loom | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it

Eric Alm, a biologist at MIT, and a graduate student of his named Lawrence David decided to plumb this change by tracking a year in the life of their microbiomes. Each day, they saved some of their stool, and later, they extracted DNA from it to figure out which species of bacteria were living in their guts. David also spat some of his saliva into a tube each day so that he could compare how his microbiome changed in his gut compared to his mouth.

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Food Standards Agency - Campylobacter survey results published

Food Standards Agency - Campylobacter survey results published | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it

The FSA has today published the first set of quarterly results from a new survey of Campylobacter on fresh shop-bought chickens. The results show 59% of birds tested positive for the presence of Campylobacter. In 4% of samples Campylobacter was identified on the outside of the packaging.

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7 things you should know about Ebola virus

7 things you should know about Ebola virus | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
7 things you should know about Ebola virus
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Viruses: Friends, Foes, Change Agents

Viruses: Friends, Foes, Change Agents | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
In contrast to their negative reputation as disease causing agents, some viruses perform crucial biological and evolutionary functions that help to shape the world we live in.
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Small Things Considered: Microbial to Human Cell Ratio: Just Bragging Rights?

Small Things Considered: Microbial to Human Cell Ratio: Just Bragging Rights? | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
by Jeffrey L. Fox | Microbiota buffs repeat it often these days, proudly reminding the public that the microbial cells associated with humans outnumber their host cells by a ratio of ten-to-one. In his letter in the February 2014 Microbe, however, Judah L. Rosner of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) makes a strong case for…
Iain Haysom's insight:

I often use this 1:10 figure; in future I will be more careful to stress it is just a rough estimate.

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Bug cases rise at athletes' village

Bug cases rise at athletes' village | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it

A suspected norovirus outbreak at the Commonwealth Games athletes' village in Glasgow has affected a further 20 people.

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New Catalog of Human Gut Microbes | The Scientist Magazine®

New Catalog of Human Gut Microbes | The Scientist Magazine® | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
An updated analysis of the gut microbiome extends the list of known bacterial genes to 9.8 million. 
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It's Okay To Be Smart • The oldest living thing in the world: These...

It's Okay To Be Smart • The oldest living thing in the world: These... | Media Cultures: Microbiology in the news | Scoop.it
The oldest living thing in the world: These actinobacteria, recovered from the subterranean brrrrr-osphere that is Siberian permafrost, are estimated to be 500,000 years old. While many ancient microbes have been revived from ancient dormant states, these bacterial cells have been continuously living for half a million years. It’s known that the bacteria aren’t mobile in the frozen Earth, so by radioactively dating the layers of soil around the microbes, scientists were able to estimate their age.


Unable to divide and reproduce, these microbes were shown to be actively repairing their DNA despite the frigid temperatures, their enzymes uniquely adapted to an environment that would mean certain death for perhaps every other creature on Earth. While not growing, moving, or reproducing, this sort of cryostasis counts as living if you ask me (and the scientists who study them).


What do you think this means for the possibility of life on other planets?


(via Rachel Sussman and Brain Pickings. Check out the original 2007 research paper here)
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