A close examination of human skin found that each pore had a single variety of bacteria living inside.
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America’s response to the variant highlights both how much progress we have made over the past two years — and how much work remains
Some fungi sprout in fiery shades of orange and pink after wildfires, feasting on what was left behind by the burn.
Founded in 1930, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is not just a popular tourist attraction. Its staff also aids in worldwide conservation efforts and conducts essential research on animal health and behavior, nutrition, genetics, aquatic filtration, and molecular and microbial ecology. Over the last four years, those staffers have been puzzled by the mysterious disappearance of an antiparasitic drug routinely added to the water in the aquarium’s quarantine habitat. Now, with the help of microbiologists at Northwestern University, they’ve cracked the case. The culprits: some 21 members of a family of microbes who were munching regularly on the medicine in the water, according to a recent paper published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
The aquarium’s Center for Conservation and Research includes an Animal Care and Science Division, with a state-of-the-art animal hospital for monitoring the health of all the animals in the exhibits and treating them as necessary. (If you want to know how to give an electric eel an MRI, the center’s team has you covered.)
Since 2015, the center has been working on a special research project investigating aquarium microbiomes. Among other topics, the project involves studying microbial communities in aquarium bio-filters. Such closed aquatic systems can quickly become toxic, thanks to ammonia waste from the fish, and certain microbial communities can help keep those levels in check. But other microbes are less beneficial, as evidenced by the Case of the Missing Chloroquine.
Ask a random person to picture a bee, and they’ll likely conjure up the familiar black-and-yellow striped creature buzzing from flower to flower collecting pollen to bring back to the hive. But a more unusual group of bees can be found “slicing chunks of meat from carcasses in tropical rainforests,” according to the authors of a new paper published in the journal mBio. As a result, these bees have gut microbiomes that are markedly different from their fellow buzzers, with populations more common to carrion-loving hyenas and vultures. So they are commonly known as “vulture bees” (or “carrion bees”).
According to the authors—entomologists who hail from the University of California, Riverside (UCR), the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Columbia University, and the American Museum of Natural History—most bees are essentially “wasps that switched to a vegetarian lifestyle.” But there are two recorded examples of bumblebees feeding on carrion dating back to 1758 and 1837, and some species are known to occasionally feed on carrion in addition to foraging for nectar and pollen. (They are considered “facultatively necrophages,” as opposed to vulture bees, which are deemed “obligate necrophages” because they only eat meat.)
An entomologist named Filippo Silvestri identified the first “vulture bee” in 1902 while analyzing a group of pinned specimens, although nobody called it that since they didn’t know at the time that this species fed on carrion. Silvestri dubbed it Trigona hypogea, and he also described their nests as being used for honey and pollen, although later researchers noted a surprising absence of pollen. Rather, biochemical analysis revealed the presence of secretions similar to those fed to queen bees in the nests of honeybees.
Scientists have created a bacterial ink that reproduces itself and can be 3D-printed into living architecture.
Companies can tell you the kinds of microbes that live in your gut, but the results may not help you lose weight or fend off disease.
A new generation of detectors let scientists identify a dozen large episodes of bioluminescence, one a hundred times larger than Manhattan — and that’s the smallest.
Is all yogurt created equal? Does it matter if the kimchi is spicy? And what if my kombucha has sugar? Your questions answered.
Foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha increased the diversity of gut microbes and led to lower levels of inflammation.
A food safety specialist offers tips on helping to keep your food safe.
The microscopic animals were frozen when woolly mammoths still roamed the planet, but were restored as though no time had passed.
A team of international researchers has assembled an atlas of microorganisms present in 60 cities around the world.
The coronavirus could turn sewage surveillance into a mainstream public health practice.
The health of our bodies and microbiomes may depend on society’s return to lifestyles that expose us to bacteria, despite the risks.
In 1966, he found heat-resistant bacteria in a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park. That led to the development of the chemical process behind the coronavirus test.
A small study suggests that soil microbes could play a role in the ring-like grass formations in parts of Australia’s wilderness.
People whose gut bacteria transformed over the decades tended to be healthier and live longer.
B.1.351 may sound sweet to a molecular epidemiologist, but what’s the alternative, other than stigmatizing geographical names?
An oily, 100-nanometer-wide bubble of genes has killed more than two million people and reshaped the world. Scientists don’t quite know what to make of it.
Unexpected species of nematodes, some of them new to science, were found living on the skin of the marine mammals.
Despite doubts from many scientists, a team of researchers who said they had detected an unusual gas in the planet’s atmosphere were still confident of their findings.
Scientists are exploring the physics of viruses, to understand how these pathogens assemble themselves — and might be rent apart.
Researchers have banded together to find safe, virtual ways to teach the principles of microbiology and epidemiology.
A diet full of highly processed foods with added sugars and salt promoted gut microbes linked to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
Microbiomes are all the scientific rage, even in art conservation, where studying the microbial species that congregate on works of art may lead to new ways to slow down the deterioration of priceless aging artwork, as well as potentially unmask counterfeits. For instance, scientists have analyzed the microbes found on seven of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings, according to a recent paper published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology. And back in March, scientists at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) collected and analyzed swabs taken from centuries-old art in a private collection housed in Florence, Italy, and published their findings in the journal Microbial Ecology.
The researchers behind the earlier March paper were JCVI geneticists who collaborated with the Leonardo da Vinci DNA Project in France. The work built on a prior study looking for microbial signatures and possible geographic patterns in hairs collected from people in the District of Columbia and San Diego, California. They concluded from that analysis that microbes could be a useful geographic signature.
For the March study, the JCVI geneticists took swabs of microbes from Renaissance-style pieces and confirmed the presence of so-called “oxidase positive” microbes on painted wood and canvas surfaces. These microbes munch on the compounds found in paint, glue, and cellulose (found in paper, canvas, and wood), in turn producing water or hydrogen peroxide as byproducts.
Psychological strain can show up as “stress skin.” Treating it is easier (and more affordable) than you think.
The city’s sewers, known for alligator tales and other lore, are routinely tested for traces of the coronavirus.
The city’s underground pungent waterways, known for alligator tales and other lore, are routinely tested for traces of the coronavirus.
Laboratory technologists have been working nonstop to help the nation diagnose an ever-growing number of coronavirus cases.
Testing companies have revealed little about how their products perform in minors. That could be a problem.
Scientists at Columbia University have developed a treatment that blocks the virus in the nose and lungs, is inexpensive and needs no refrigeration.
President Trump’s recent tests are a reminder that although many products exist, none test for infectiousness.
A fungus known as white mold can kill a plant in days. Unless, that is, a virus is around to tame it.
A week of talks, panels and discussions seeks to counter an impression “that this talent pool just does not exist.”
New genetic evidence builds the case that single-celled marine microbes might chow down on viruses.
Astrobiologists shift their gaze, and speculations, to Earth’s broiling sister planet.
The detection of a gas in the planet’s atmosphere could turn scientists’ gaze to a planet long overlooked in the search for extraterrestrial life.
While microscopic and little known, predatory bacteria are among the world’s fiercest and most effective hunters.
Studies of patients with severe cases of Covid-19 show the immune system lacks its usual coordinated response.
In the Mojave Desert, a translucent crystal offers bryophytes much-needed respite from the heat of the sun.