This feature was originally published in the February 2015 issue of Popular Science. Kenneth Nealson is looking awfully sane for a man who’s basically just told me that he has a colony of aliens incubating in his laboratory.
Plastic is well-known for sticking around in the environment for years without breaking down, contributing significantly to litter and landfills. But scientists have now discovered that bacteria from the guts of a worm known to munch on food packaging can degrade polyethylene, the most common plastic.The finding could lead to new ways to help get rid of the otherwise persistent waste, the scientists say.
One of the oldest and most widely used antibiotics, penicillin, attacks enzymes that build the bacterial cell wall. Researchers have now shown that penicillin and its variants also set in motion a toxic malfunctioning of the cell's wall-building machinery, dooming the cell to a futile cycle of building and then immediately destroying that wall.
Iain Haysom's insight:
Great new data showing how it is not just blocking of peptidoglycan cross-linking by penicillin that causes bacterial cell death.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has today published the cumulative results from the first two quarters of its year-long survey of campylobacter on fresh chickens. Tackling campylobacter is the FSA’s number one food safety priority and it is spearheading a campaign to bring together the whole food chain to tackle the problem.