News: Sponge Bacteria Clean Heavy Metals & Toxins Like Arsenic from Water, Saving Turtles & Humans Alike
Arsenic occurs naturally in the environment, but it is also one of the most commonly found heavy metals in wastewater, deposited there by inappropriate disposal and arsenical pesticides, for example.
Plants all around us capture sunlight every day and convert it to energy, making them a model of solar energy production. And while the energy they make may serve the needs of a plant, the process isn't efficient enough to generate power on a larger scale. So, scientists from the University of California found a way to treat bacteria with chemicals that turned them into photosynthesis machines, capable of generating products we can convert into food, fuels, and plastics.
Peach trees and other related plants are susceptible to the devastation caused by fire blight, a contagious bacterial disease. Once contracted, infected trees have to be burned to contain the disease and prevent spread to nearby trees. Increasing resistance to antibiotic treatment has sent scientists in search of alternative ways to deal with the bacteria and prevent its catastrophic damage.
A recent study underscores a connection between climate change and infectious disease, raising concerns about our quickly warming planet.
Bioluminescence — the ability of an organism to produce and emit light — is nature's light show. Plants, insects, fish, and bacteria do it, and scientists understand how. Until now, though, we didn't know how fungi glow.
Prime Directive: How NASA's Planetary Protection Officer Keeps Our Germs from Contaminating Other Planets (& Vice Versa)
On July 20, 1969, humans set foot on the moon for the first time. But some say our microbes beat us there. With the Space Age came new questions about microscopic invaders from outer space and concern about where we are leaving our microbial footprints. The questions are even more relevant today.
Growing populations and higher temperatures put pressure on world food supplies. Naturally occurring soil bacteria may save crops in drought-stressed areas, put more land into crop production, and produce more food.
About a third of the methane released into the environment comes from the production and transport of natural gas. The gas leaks as it moves along the transport chain from gas wellheads to market.
Wherever there are people, the party is sure to follow. Well, a party of microbes, at least. That is what scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have found after a 30-day microbial observation of the inflatable lunar/Mars analog habitat (IMAH).
Earlier this year, NASA reported on findings that might point to water, and microbial life, on moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn. Named Europa and Enceladus, those moons contain large oceans under their icy surfaces, which many speculate could hold microbial life.
Some bacteria can already do it—generate electric current, that is—and those microbes are called "electrogenic." Now, thanks to the work of a research group from the University of California, Santa Barbara, we know how to easily turn non-electrogenic bacteria into electricity producers.
Six people have died from fungal infections in Pittsburgh hospitals since 2014—that fact is indisputable. The rest of the situation is much vaguer. A lawsuit has been filed against the hospitals on behalf of some of the deceased patients, alleging that moldy hospital linens are to blame. While the lawyers argue over who's at fault, let's look at how this could have happened.
News: Melting Ice Sheets Are Releasing Toxins in Our Water — Bacteria Could Take Some of That Out of Play
Windborne microbes shifting in the snows of the great ice sheet of Greenland may be able to neutralize some of the industrial contaminants oozing out of the melting ice.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began on April 20, 2010, was the largest maritime oil spill in history. Killing 11 people and discharging 4.1 million barrels of oil and natural gas into the Gulf of Mexico, the event was an unparalleled personal, environmental, and business disaster. It was also the first major oil spill to take place in the deep ocean.
Citrus greening disease — caused by a bacteria spread by psyllid insects — is threatening to wipe out Florida's citrus crop. Researchers have identified a small protein found in a second bacteria living in the insects that helps bacteria causing citrus greening disease survive and spread. They believe the discovery could result in a spray that could potentially help save the trees from the bacterial invasion.
The beauty of southern Europe won't protect it from invasions of disease-carrying ticks and mosquitoes—in fact, the Mediterranean climate and landscape may be part of the reason the bloodsuckers are expanding there, bringing unique and terrifying diseases in their wake.
On the airplane, in the middle of cold and flu season, your seatmate is spewing, despite the clutch of tissues in their lap. Your proximity to an infectious person probably leaves you daydreaming (or is it a nightmare?) of pandemics and estimating how likely it is that this seatmate's viral or bacterial effusions will circulate throughout the plane and infect everyone on board.
Add breathing in your house as another possible danger to your health. If your home is sick, it's possible you could get sick too.
Using mathematical modeling, researchers suggest weather and warming created the "perfect storm" that drove the Zika outbreak in 2016.
When a dead body is discovered, finding out when the person died is just as important as finding out how the person died. Determining the time of death has always involved lots of complicated scientific detective work and less-than-reliable methods. However, a study by Nathan H. Lents, a molecular biologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, is the first of its kind to show how microbes colonize a body's ears and nose after death.