Last fall, with the Medici Chapel in Florence operating on reduced hours because of Covid-19, scientists and restorers completed a secret experiment: They unleashed grime-eating bacteria on the artist’s masterpiece marbles.
A team of international researchers has assembled an atlas of microorganisms present in 60 cities around the world.
More than 160 illnesses and dozens of hospitalizations have been reported across 43 states, officials said. “These are not house pets and a lot of people confuse that,” a poultry educator said.
“Long Covid” is just the latest example of a pathogen causing surprising persistent effects.
As Buruli ulcer cases have risen, they have taken a physical and psychological toll but also offered hope that scientists can solve the bacteria’s many mysteries.
People whose gut bacteria transformed over the decades tended to be healthier and live longer.
Eyeless roundworms may have hacked other cellular warning systems to give themselves a form of color vision.
Deaths at a Sierra Leone sanctuary that stumped people for 15 years have now been linked to a bacterium that seems to cause similar ailments in humans.
The spread of other dangerous germs is surging — a result, in part, of the chaotic response to the pandemic.
An experiment aboard the space station showed that bacteria were effective at extracting rare earth elements from rocks.
While microscopic and little known, predatory bacteria are among the world’s fiercest and most effective hunters.
The best vaccines don’t just prevent a disease; they also prevent the pathogen causing the disease from being transmitted. So why aren’t we focusing more on those?
An outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to tainted onions has mushroomed in North America. So far, the outbreak has sickened 879 people, hospitalizing 114 across 43 US states and seven Canadian provinces.
The US Food and Drug Administration traced the outbreak back to red onions produced by Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, California. Thomson issued a recall of all of its onions August 1, covering red, yellow, white, and sweet bulbs that were shipped any time after May 1. But the outbreak numbers will likely continue to climb, given the potentially week-long period between eating a bad onion and developing symptoms, plus a typical two-to-four-week lag in case reporting.
The tainted onions were shipped to wholesalers, restaurants, and grocery stores across Canada as well as in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Affected stores include Walmart, Kroger, Fred Meyer, Publix, Giant Eagle, Food Lion, and H-E-B. The onions were sold under brand names: Thomson Premium, TLC Thomson International, Tender Loving Care, El Competitor, Hartley’s Best, Onions 52, Majestic, Imperial Fresh, Kroger, Utah Onions, and Food Lion.
You know those videos where people open (or even eat?) military rations from World War II? It’s shocking to see just how well-preserved these “foods” can be after all those decades. In a way, Yuki Morono and his team of researchers at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology flipped that experience around by giving modern food to some old organisms. But their case involved bringing up ancient mud from the seafloor and adding some food to see if anything was alive in there.
There were, in fact, bacteria in the mud, which likely doesn’t sound surprising. But given the environment and the age of this stuff—100 million years—it’s actually pretty remarkable.
Life deep below ground or below the seafloor isn’t studied as well as the readily accessible surface world. Sampling has shown that seafloor mud in different parts of the ocean differ a lot in terms of the types and abundance of microbial life that are present. But in this case, the researchers sampled deep sediments in the middle of the South Pacific, where there’s extremely little organic matter available for life to grow on.
Rescued from their cold, cramped and nutrient-poor homes, the bacteria awoke in the lab and grew.
Bacteria in the small intestine may drive inflammation that makes it harder for children to get the calories and nutrients they need.
When these mammals are ill, they have fewer interactions with family and friends, new study suggests. “It’s like us,” said one researcher.
There are other persistent, grave health crises brewing besides the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: Antibiotic resistance is one, and the troubling trend is that it’s on the rise, leading to an increase in so-called ‘superbugs’ that are difficult to treat. IBM Research, working in partnership with Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, has developed a synthetic macromolecule polymer that can potentially be used to significantly increase the effectiveness of existing antibiotics, rendering them able to fight off emerging superbugs.
In a new paper published in academic journal Advanced Science, the IBM researchers detail their work in creating a polymer that can be combined with course of antibiotics that are used to treat non-resistant strains of infections, in does equal or even lower to those that are found to be effective in treating the varieties of the infections that lack the ability to overcome antibiotics.
The macromolecule works by essentially hitching itself to the enzymes that bacteria modify when they are treated using antibiotics, but not completely eliminated. That’s a big reason why you’re always told to take the entire course of an antibiotic when it’s prescribed: If it isn’t completely wiped out, it can rebound and develop resistance to the treatment used when it comes back.
The IBM polymer basically shorts out the protective measures developed by the bacteria when to counter the effects of the antibiotic, returning (or potentially even slightly improving) their efficacy.
This is still relatively early research that’s been done in the highly controlled environment of the lab, and would require a lot more development and testing, including proper clinical trials involving human patients before it actually becomes anything to be used in the real world. But these lab-based results provide a very promising basis upon which to build that work, having shown demonstrated efficacy with real multidrug-resistant bacterial infections.
When it comes to finding a vaccine for chlamydia, the world’s most popular sexually transmitted infection, koalas may prove a key ally.
Many infections come from within. Doctors explain what they are and what to do about them.
Britain’s National Collection of Type Cultures, a library of human bacterial pathogens, turned 100 this year.
Modern medicine still depends on this animal’s blood to test for bacteria in vaccines. And an alternative test requires further study.
Stagnant plumbing systems in emptied commercial buildings could put returning employees at risk of Legionnaire’s and other illnesses.
Next time you cook chicken, don’t rely on the color of the meat to tell you if it’s cooked enough to avoid food poisoning.
The men might have been among the earliest to be stolen from their homeland and brought to the Americas.
Before this underwater forest disappears, scientists recently raced to search for shipworms and other sea life that might conceal medicine of the future.