The Mysterious Dance of the Cricket Embryos

A team of biologists and mathematicians studied hours of video to learn how insects take shape in the egg. The secret is geometry.

#anatomy-and-physiology, #biology-and-biochemistry, #crickets, #di-talia-stefano, #donoughe-seth, #evolution-biology, #extavour-cassandra, #hoffmann-jordan-mathematician, #internal-sub-only, #laboratories-and-scientific-equipment, #mathematics, #microbiology, #nakamura-taro, #rycroft-christopher, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

A Remote Controlled Carnivorous Plant?

Researchers design an artificial neuron that can trigger closure of a Venus flytrap.

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#biology, #microbiology

New bacterium roughly the size, shape of an eyelash smashes size record

The bacteria, <em>Ca. Thiomargarita magnifica</em>, discovered in the French Caribbean mangroves is a member of the genus <em>Thiomargarita</em>.

Enlarge / The bacteria, Ca. Thiomargarita magnifica, discovered in the French Caribbean mangroves is a member of the genus Thiomargarita. (credit: Tomas Tyml)

Clinging to sunken debris in shallow, marine mangrove forests in the French Caribbean, tiny thread-like organisms—perfectly visible to the naked eye—have earned the title of the largest bacteria ever known.

Measuring around a centimeter long, they are roughly the size and shape of a human eyelash, batting away the competition at 5,000 times the size of garden-variety bacteria and 50 times the size of bacteria previously considered giant. In human terms, this is akin to coming across a person as tall as Mount Everest.

Olivier Gros, a biologist at the University of the Antilles, discovered the prokaryotes in 2009, noticing them gently swaying in the sulfur-rich waters among the mangroves in the Guadeloupe archipelago. The bacteria clung to the leaves, branches, oyster shells, and bottles that sunk into the tropical swamp, Gros said in a press briefing.

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#bacteria, #biology, #microbiology, #science

Scientists Discover the Largest Bacteria Ever Seen

Researchers found bacterial cells so large they are easily visible to the naked eye, challenging ideas about how large microbes can get.

#bacteria, #guadeloupe, #microbiology, #research, #science-journal, #your-feed-science

Marine Microbe Lures Prey into Custom Slime Traps

These organisms’ private “mucospheres” play an outsize role in the planet’s carbon cycle

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #biology, #environment, #microbiology, #oceans

Acne Inflammation Discovery Could Lead to New Treatments

A key player is revealed in the acne-causing immune battle

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #biology, #microbiology

Kitchen Sponges Help Breed Bacteria Better

There’s a structural reason your sponge hosts so many microbes

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #biology, #microbiology

Should You Use Probiotics for Vaginal Health?

Pills and suppositories that promise to balance the vaginal microbiome are lining drugstore shelves and online marketplaces. But are they backed by science?

#content-type-service, #digestive-tract, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #microbiology, #probiotics, #sexually-transmitted-diseases, #vagina, #women-and-girls, #yeast-infections

Gut Healing Is TikTok’s Latest Trend. Does It Work?

Despite what social media might have you believe, there is no overnight shortcut to better digestive health.

#bowels, #constipation, #content-type-service, #diarrhea, #diet-and-nutrition, #digestive-tract, #fiber-dietary, #food, #irritable-bowel-syndrome, #microbiology, #sonnenburg-justin-l, #tiktok-bytedance

Ancient Molecule Helps Bacteria Untangle Genetic Activity

New studies reveal the complex world of bacterial epigenetics

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #biology, #microbiology

In the Ocean, It’s Snowing Microplastics

Tiny bits of plastic have infiltrated the deep sea’s main food source and could alter the ocean’s role in one of Earth’s ancient cooling processes, scientists say.

#carbon-capture-and-sequestration, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #global-warming, #microbiology, #monterey-bay-calif, #oceans-and-seas, #plastics, #squid, #water-pollution, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Insect Trash Could Be a Farmer’s Treasure

Insect feces and exoskeletons can make agriculture more sustainable and produce less waste, scientists say.

#agriculture-and-farming, #insects, #microbiology, #trends-in-plant-science-journal, #wageningen-university-and-research-center, #your-feed-science

Lichens Could Need More than a Million Years to Adapt to Climate Change

The composite organisms, formed from the symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae, are crucial members of myriad ecosystems

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#climate-change, #environment, #microbiology

Omicron’s Surprising Anatomy Explains Why It Is Wildly Contagious

Specific mutations hide the COVID variant from the immune system and give it a new route into more cells

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#health, #microbiology

Is the Coronavirus in Your Backyard?

White-tailed deer could become a reservoir for the virus, putting people and animals at risk, health experts say.

#agriculture-and-farming, #animals, #canada, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-delta-variant, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #deer, #hunting-and-trapping, #illinois, #iowa, #livestock, #livestock-diseases, #microbiology, #minks-animals, #north-america, #ohio, #pennsylvania, #pets, #quebec-province-canada, #staten-island-nyc, #veterinary-medicine, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

In New York City Sewage, a Mysterious Coronavirus Signal

For the past year, scientists have been looking for the source of strange coronavirus sequences that have appeared in the city’s wastewater.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #genetics-and-heredity, #microbiology, #nature-communications-journal, #new-york-city, #rats, #rodents, #sewers-and-sewage, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

Every Pore on Your Face Is a Walled Garden

A close examination of human skin found that each pore had a single variety of bacteria living inside.

#acne, #bacteria, #cell-hostmicrobe-journal, #microbiology, #research, #skin, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

10 Lessons We’ve Learned About Eating Well

Water vs. seltzer? Can food affect the brain? We’ve rounded up useful research on diet and nutrition to stay healthy in the new year.

#anxiety-and-stress, #depression-mental, #diabetes, #diet-and-nutrition, #digestive-tract, #gastroesophageal-reflux-acid-reflux, #health-foods, #kimchi-south-korean-food, #mental-health-and-disorders, #microbiology, #obesity, #vegetables, #water, #weight

Bacterial Builders Churn Out Lengthy Muscle Proteins

Such proteins can be woven into resilient fibers

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #biology, #microbiology

Omicron Is a Dress Rehearsal for the Next Pandemic

America’s response to the variant highlights both how much progress we have made over the past two years — and how much work remains

#bright-rick-a, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #chiu-charles, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-delta-variant, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #genetics-and-heredity, #laboratories-and-scientific-equipment, #microbiology, #san-francisco-calif, #sewers-and-sewage, #tests-medical, #topol-eric-j, #vaccination-and-immunization, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

This Fire-Loving Fungus Eats Charcoal, if It Must

Some fungi sprout in fiery shades of orange and pink after wildfires, feasting on what was left behind by the burn.

#carbon-dioxide, #charcoal, #frontiers-in-microbiology-journal, #fungi, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #microbiology, #research, #soil, #wildfires, #your-feed-science

Microbiologists have cracked the case of Shedd Aquarium’s missing medicines

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago partnered with microbiologists at Northwestern University to find out why chloroquine kept disappearing from the water in the quarantine habitat.

Enlarge / The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago partnered with microbiologists at Northwestern University to find out why chloroquine kept disappearing from the water in the quarantine habitat. (credit: lan Schein Photography / Getty Images)

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.

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#microbiology, #science, #shedd-aquarium

“Vulture bees” evolved a taste for flesh—and their microbiomes reflect that

Jungle insects crawl over a hunk of pink flesh.

Enlarge / University of California, Riverside scientists suspended fresh pieces of raw chicken from branches to attract carrion-feeding “vulture bees” in Costa Rica. (credit: Quinn McFrederick/UCR)

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.

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#bees, #biology, #entomology, #microbiology, #microbiome, #science, #vulture-bees

This Ink Is Alive and Made Entirely of Microbes

Scientists have created a bacterial ink that reproduces itself and can be 3D-printed into living architecture.

#3-d-printers, #e-coli-bacteria, #genetic-engineering, #microbiology, #nature-communications-journal, #polymers, #sustainable-living, #synthetic-biology, #your-feed-science

Do Childhood Colds Help the Body Respond to COVID?

A mechanism known as “original antigenic sin” protects some people from flu; whether it helps immune reactions to coronaviruses is still unclear

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#biology, #epidemiology, #health, #microbiology, #public-health

Gut Bacteria Change as You Get Older–and May Accelerate Aging

Microbe types in older people’s intestines are different and are linked to disease

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#health, #microbiology

Should You Get a Microbiome Test?

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.

#bacteria, #content-type-service, #depression-mental, #diabetes, #diet-and-nutrition, #digestive-tract, #food, #genetics-and-heredity, #microbiology, #obesity, #weight

These Bacteria Steal from Iron and Could Be Secretly Helping to Curb Climate Change

Photoferrotrophs have been around for billions of years on Earth, and new research suggests that they have played an outsize roll in the natural capture of carbon dioxide.

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#biology, #climate-change, #microbiology

Engineered Bacteria Produce a Rainbow of Colors

By inserting some genes and knocking down others, scientists solved a core problem in synthetic biology

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #biology, #microbiology

COVID Advances Win $3-million Breakthrough Prizes

Pioneers of mRNA vaccines and next-generation sequencing techniques are among the winners of science’s most lucrative awards

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#biology, #microbiology

Satellites Spot Oceans Aglow With Trillions of Organisms

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.

#bioluminescence, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #indian-ocean, #indonesia, #light, #marine-biology, #microbiology, #oceans-and-seas, #research, #scientific-reports-journal, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Fermented Foods: The Dos and Dont’s

Is all yogurt created equal? Does it matter if the kimchi is spicy? And what if my kombucha has sugar? Your questions answered.

#cider, #content-type-service, #diet-and-nutrition, #digestive-tract, #food, #kimchi-south-korean-food, #microbiology, #probiotics, #sauerkraut, #sugar, #yogurt

Watch Countless Small Worlds Pulse: From Liquid Crystals to Sea Cucumbers

Nikon’s Small World in Motion video competition is filled with moving delights.

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#biology, #microbiology

How Fermented Foods May Alter Your Microbiome and Improve Your Health

Foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha increased the diversity of gut microbes and led to lower levels of inflammation.

#cell-journal, #diabetes, #diet-and-nutrition, #digestive-tract, #fiber-dietary, #microbiology, #obesity, #weight

Inside Millions of Invisible Droplets, Potential Superbug Killers Grow

New research has created microscopic antibiotic factories in droplets that measure a trillionth of liter in volume.

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#biology, #health, #microbiology, #pharmaceuticals

How to Wash Fruits and Vegetables

A food safety specialist offers tips on helping to keep your food safe.

#cleansers-detergents-and-soaps, #content-type-service, #food, #food-contamination-and-poisoning, #fruit, #hygiene-and-cleanliness, #microbiology, #vegetables, #water

This Tiny Creature Survived 24,000 Years Frozen in Siberian Permafrost

The microscopic animals were frozen when woolly mammoths still roamed the planet, but were restored as though no time had passed.

#animals, #current-biology-journal, #microbiology, #research, #siberia, #temperature, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Subway Swabbers Find a Microbe Jungle — And Thousands of New Species

A team of international researchers has assembled an atlas of microorganisms present in 60 cities around the world.

#bacteria, #cell-journal, #drug-resistance-microbial, #geography, #microbiology, #subways, #transit-systems, #your-feed-science

From the Wastewater Drain, Solid Pandemic Data

The coronavirus could turn sewage surveillance into a mainstream public health practice.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #kansas-city-mo, #medicine-and-health, #microbiology, #sewers-and-sewage, #tests-medical, #waste-materials-and-disposal, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

After Covid, Your Health May Depend on Living With Germs

The health of our bodies and microbiomes may depend on society’s return to lifestyles that expose us to bacteria, despite the risks.

#chronic-condition-health, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #hygiene-and-cleanliness, #immune-system, #microbiology

Thomas Brock, Whose Discovery Paved the Way for PCR Tests, Dies at 94

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.

#brock-thomas-1926-2021, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-obituaries, #microbiology, #mullis-kary-b, #research, #tests-medical, #university-of-wisconsin, #yellowstone-national-park

Fairy Circles in Australia May Be Due to Microbes, Study Says

A small study suggests that soil microbes could play a role in the ring-like grass formations in parts of Australia’s wilderness.

#australia, #australian-journal-of-botany, #grass, #microbiology, #research, #soil, #your-feed-science

A Changing Gut Microbiome May Predict How Well You Age

People whose gut bacteria transformed over the decades tended to be healthier and live longer.

#bacteria, #diet-and-nutrition, #digestive-tract, #fiber-dietary, #immune-system, #microbiology, #weight

How Do Virus Variants Get Their Names?

B.1.351 may sound sweet to a molecular epidemiologist, but what’s the alternative, other than stigmatizing geographical names?

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #discrimination, #microbiology, #names-geographical, #world-health-organization, #your-feed-science

The Secret Life of a Coronavirus

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.

#almeida-june-1930-2007, #animals, #bats, #biodiversity, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #genetics-and-heredity, #microbiology, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #rna-ribonucleic-acid, #science-and-technology, #smallpox, #van-leeuwenhoek-antonie-1632-1723, #viruses

Manatees May Carry Half a Million Microscopic Hitchhikers

Unexpected species of nematodes, some of them new to science, were found living on the skin of the marine mammals.

#florida, #manatees, #microbiology, #research, #scientific-reports-journal, #skin, #worms, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Life on Venus? The Picture Gets Cloudier

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.

#chemistry, #extraterrestrial-life, #microbiology, #research, #space-and-astronomy, #telescopes-and-observatories, #venus-planet

If You Squeeze the Coronavirus, Does It Shatter?

Scientists are exploring the physics of viruses, to understand how these pathogens assemble themselves — and might be rent apart.

#biology-and-biochemistry, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #genetics-and-heredity, #immune-system, #microbiology, #physics, #proteins, #rna-ribonucleic-acid, #vaccination-and-immunization, #viruses, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

Amid One Pandemic, Students Train for the Next

Researchers have banded together to find safe, virtual ways to teach the principles of microbiology and epidemiology.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #education-k-12, #education-secondary, #microbiology, #sarasota-fla, #science-and-technology, #tucson-ariz, #van-cortlandt-park-bronx-ny, #viruses, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

Foods That May Lead to a Healthier Gut and Better Health

A diet full of highly processed foods with added sugars and salt promoted gut microbes linked to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

#cholesterol, #diabetes, #diet-and-nutrition, #digestive-tract, #health-foods, #heart, #microbiology, #nature-medicine-journal, #obesity, #research, #vegetables, #weight