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Fuck Yeah Microbiology

I like viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, and weird other shit that invades your membranes.
Sep 17 '13

20 notes Tags: antibiotic resistance antibiotics CDC threat

Sep 6 '13

cheesenotes:

Wired Science has a post and slideshow delving into the wonderful, wooly world of microbes and their essential role in so many of our favorite foods. Dr’s Rachel Dutton and Ben Wolfe — who by now have made many an appearance on this blog — contributed to the post. Pictured above are a few favorites, including Geotrichum Candidum at the top:  

These Funky Microbes Make Your Favorite Foods More Delicious

If you ask me, the best things to eat and drink almost always have a little something funky going on. Cucumbers are OK, but pickles are what I reach for when I want to make a kickass sandwich. Cabbage is boring, but kimchi rocks. When it comes to cheeses, a blue always trumps a jack. Edamame? Edama-meh. Give me miso soup and sake.

What makes these foods better is the hard work of bacteria and fungi.

These bugs transform the sugars and proteins in raw ingredients like fruits and grains into something else entirely, creating new flavors and more complexity. They’re the reason an aged cheese tastes more interesting than milk and a well-made craft beer tastes better than a mouthful of barley. They put the umami in miso and make pickles more piquant.

Humans have been intentionally inoculating food with microbes for millenia, says food writer Harold McGee, whose classic book On Food and Cooking is a trove of information on microbe-enhanced cuisine (and everything else you need to know about the science of cooking). It probably started by accident.

Many of the macronutrients in the foods we eat — the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats — are too big to trigger our taste and odor receptors. As the microbes go about the business of breaking these molecules down into smaller pieces they can make use of themselves, they create amino acids, fatty acids, and sugars that we can taste and smell. They also synthesize new compounds for communication and other purposes, and some of these compounds contribute to taste or aroma as well, McGee says.

"This process of breaking down and building up makes food much more complex in its sensory characteristics and more interesting."

"We’re starting to look at that in the lab right now," said Rachel Dutton, a microbiologist at Harvard who’s consulted [David] Chang and other chefs. "I don’t think there’s good evidence one way or the other."

In this gallery several scientists — including Dutton and mycologist Benjamin Wolfe, who works in her lab — helped us explore the biology of some of the microbes that make our food and drink more delicious. Isn’t it time you got to know them a little better?

check out the full post.

41 notes (via cheesenotes)Tags: microbiology science biology

Sep 5 '13
23pairsofchromosomes:

Scanning electron Micrograph of Helicopterbacter pylori - as already mentioned this bacteria is found in the stomach lining and can increase the chances of stomach cancer (brown cells in photo) along with stomach ulcers. 
Photograph by Martin Oeggerli, with support from School of Life Sciences, FHNW
(Source)

My favorite story about H. Pylori is the one about it’s discoverer.  It’s as follows: 
Helicobacter pylori was first discovered in the stomachs of patients with gastritis and stomach ulcers in 1982 by Dr. Barry Marshall and Dr. Robin Warren. At the time, the conventional thinking was that no bacterium could live in the stomach, as the stomach produced similar strength acid to that of a car battery. Marshall and Warren rewrote the textbooks with reference to what causes gastritis and gastric ulcers. In recognition of their discovery, they were awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

After many unsuccessful attempts at culturing the bacteria from the stomach, they finally succeeded in culturing and visualizing colonies in 1982, when they unintentionally left their Petri dishes incubating for 5 days over the Easter weekend. In their original paper, Warren and Marshall contended that most stomach ulcers and gastritis were caused by infection by this bacterium and not by stress or spicy food, as had been assumed before.
Although there was some skepticism initially, within several years numerous research groups verified the association of H. pylori with gastritis and ulcers. To demonstrate H. pylori caused gastritis and was not merely a bystander, Marshall drank a beaker of H. pylori culture. He became ill with nausea and vomiting several days later. An endoscopy ten days after inoculation revealed signs of gastritis and the presence of H. pylori. These results suggested H. pylori was the causative agent of gastritis. Marshall and Warren went on to demonstrate that antibiotics are effective in the treatment of many cases of gastritis. In 1994, the NIH published an opinion stating most recurrent duodenal and gastric ulcers were caused by H. pylori, and recommended antibiotics be included in the treatment regimen.

23pairsofchromosomes:

Scanning electron Micrograph of Helicopterbacter pylori - as already mentioned this bacteria is found in the stomach lining and can increase the chances of stomach cancer (brown cells in photo) along with stomach ulcers. 

Photograph by Martin Oeggerli, with support from School of Life Sciences, FHNW

(Source)

My favorite story about H. Pylori is the one about it’s discoverer.  It’s as follows: 

Helicobacter pylori was first discovered in the stomachs of patients with gastritis and stomach ulcers in 1982 by Dr. Barry Marshall and Dr. Robin Warren. At the time, the conventional thinking was that no bacterium could live in the stomach, as the stomach produced similar strength acid to that of a car battery. Marshall and Warren rewrote the textbooks with reference to what causes gastritis and gastric ulcers. In recognition of their discovery, they were awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

After many unsuccessful attempts at culturing the bacteria from the stomach, they finally succeeded in culturing and visualizing colonies in 1982, when they unintentionally left their Petri dishes incubating for 5 days over the Easter weekend. In their original paper, Warren and Marshall contended that most stomach ulcers and gastritis were caused by infection by this bacterium and not by stress or spicy food, as had been assumed before.

Although there was some skepticism initially, within several years numerous research groups verified the association of H. pylori with gastritis and ulcers. To demonstrate H. pylori caused gastritis and was not merely a bystander, Marshall drank a beaker of H. pylori culture. He became ill with nausea and vomiting several days later. An endoscopy ten days after inoculation revealed signs of gastritis and the presence of H. pylori. These results suggested H. pylori was the causative agent of gastritis. Marshall and Warren went on to demonstrate that antibiotics are effective in the treatment of many cases of gastritis. In 1994, the NIH published an opinion stating most recurrent duodenal and gastric ulcers were caused by H. pylori, and recommended antibiotics be included in the treatment regimen.

29 notes (via 23pairsofchromosomes)Tags: H pylori Microbiology science science stories

Sep 4 '13

skeptv:

Why Microbiology? ASM Members Share their Stories

Members of the American Society for Microbiology share their stories of how they discovered microbiology. To learn more about becoming a member visit http://www.asm.org/advance

via Microbe World.

43 notes (via skeptv)Tags: microbiology science biology

Sep 4 '13
drsohm:

Public health success story: rotavirus vaccines protects more than just babies (LA Times)
The rotavirus vaccine is a relatively new vaccine to the market (2006) that is given to babies in their first year.  Rotavirus causes watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever and used to be contracted by nearly all children by age 5.  Incidence of rotavirus in children under 5 has dropped 80% since the vaccine was introduced.  While the vaccine is only being given to infants, significant reduction in rotavirus have been seen in people of all age groups.  Herd immunity in action!

drsohm:

Public health success story: rotavirus vaccines protects more than just babies (LA Times)


The rotavirus vaccine is a relatively new vaccine to the market (2006) that is given to babies in their first year.  Rotavirus causes watery diarrhea, vomiting, fever and used to be contracted by nearly all children by age 5.  Incidence of rotavirus in children under 5 has dropped 80% since the vaccine was introduced.  While the vaccine is only being given to infants, significant reduction in rotavirus have been seen in people of all age groups.  Herd immunity in action!

20 notes (via drsohm)Tags: microbiology science

Aug 22 '13
nprglobalhealth:

Antibody Cocktail Cures Ebola In Monkeys, Even After Symptoms Appear
Ebola, your days as one of the world’s scariest diseases may be numbered.
A team of U.S. government researchers has shown that deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever can be vanquished in monkeys by an experimental drug given up to five days after infection — even when symptoms have already developed.
An antibody cocktail aimed at Ebola’s outer surface rescued three of seven macaques infected with lethal doses of the hemorrhagic virus in the U.S. Army’s high-security labs at Fort Detrick, Md.
Looked at the other way, Ebola killed nearly 60 percent of the monkeys despite the experimental treatment. So there’s still a long way to go before the infection can be reliably treated — in monkeys or humans.
Still, this experiment, whose results were publishedWednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, marks the first time researchers have shown that Ebola can be successfully treated after the infection is well underway.
Continue reading.
Image of the Ebola virus from Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC.

nprglobalhealth:

Antibody Cocktail Cures Ebola In Monkeys, Even After Symptoms Appear

Ebola, your days as one of the world’s scariest diseases may be numbered.

A team of U.S. government researchers has shown that deadly Ebola hemorrhagic fever can be vanquished in monkeys by an experimental drug given up to five days after infection — even when symptoms have already developed.

An antibody cocktail aimed at Ebola’s outer surface rescued three of seven macaques infected with lethal doses of the hemorrhagic virus in the U.S. Army’s high-security labs at Fort Detrick, Md.

Looked at the other way, Ebola killed nearly 60 percent of the monkeys despite the experimental treatment. So there’s still a long way to go before the infection can be reliably treated — in monkeys or humans.

Still, this experiment, whose results were publishedWednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, marks the first time researchers have shown that Ebola can be successfully treated after the infection is well underway.

Continue reading.

Image of the Ebola virus from Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC.

119 notes (via femscinerd & nprglobalhealth)Tags: microbiology science

Aug 22 '13
currentsinbiology:

Bacteria in Mouth Implicated in Colorectal Cancer (Science Daily)
Gut microbes have recently been linked to colorectal cancer, but it has not been clear whether and how they might cause tumors to form in the first place. Two studies published by Cell Press on August 14th in the journal Cell Host & Microbe reveal how gut microbes known as fusobacteria, which are found in the mouth, stimulate bad immune responses and turn on cancer growth genes to generate colorectal tumors. The findings could lead to more effective strategies for the early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of colorectal cancer.
“Fusobacteria may provide not only a new way to group or describe colon cancers but also, more importantly, a new perspective on how to target pathways to halt tumor growth and spread,” says senior study author Wendy Garrett of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Dental plaque. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of plaque, which consists of a film of bacteria (green) embedded in a matrix of glycoprotein (brown). The bacteria shown are mainly spindle-shaped Fusobacteria. If left untreated, bacteria in the plaque produce acids which erode dental enamel, leading to decay and infection.

currentsinbiology:

Bacteria in Mouth Implicated in Colorectal Cancer (Science Daily)

Gut microbes have recently been linked to colorectal cancer, but it has not been clear whether and how they might cause tumors to form in the first place. Two studies published by Cell Press on August 14th in the journal Cell Host & Microbe reveal how gut microbes known as fusobacteria, which are found in the mouth, stimulate bad immune responses and turn on cancer growth genes to generate colorectal tumors. The findings could lead to more effective strategies for the early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of colorectal cancer.

Fusobacteria may provide not only a new way to group or describe colon cancers but also, more importantly, a new perspective on how to target pathways to halt tumor growth and spread,” says senior study author Wendy Garrett of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Dental plaque. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of plaque, which consists of a film of bacteria (green) embedded in a matrix of glycoprotein (brown). The bacteria shown are mainly spindle-shaped Fusobacteria. If left untreated, bacteria in the plaque produce acids which erode dental enamel, leading to decay and infection.

36 notes (via currentsinbiology)Tags: microbiology science cool

Aug 17 '13
themicrobiologist:

A strain of bacteria that causes skin and soft tissue infections in humans originally came from cattle, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The researchers who conducted the genetic analysis of strains of Staphylococcus aureus known as CC97 say these strains developed resistance to methicillin after they crossed over into humans around forty years ago. Today, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strain CC97 is an emerging human pathogen in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia. The findings highlight the potential for cows to serve as a reservoir for bacteria with the capacity for pandemic spread in humans. The researchers sequenced the genomes of 43 different CC97 isolates from humans, cattle, and other animals, and plotted their genetic relationships in a phylogenetic tree. Corresponding author Ross Fitzgerald of the Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland says strains of CC97 found in cows appear to be the ancestors of CC97 strains from humans.
Primary source: mBio

themicrobiologist:

A strain of bacteria that causes skin and soft tissue infections in humans originally came from cattle, according to a study to be published in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The researchers who conducted the genetic analysis of strains of Staphylococcus aureus known as CC97 say these strains developed resistance to methicillin after they crossed over into humans around forty years ago. Today, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strain CC97 is an emerging human pathogen in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia. The findings highlight the potential for cows to serve as a reservoir for bacteria with the capacity for pandemic spread in humans. The researchers sequenced the genomes of 43 different CC97 isolates from humans, cattle, and other animals, and plotted their genetic relationships in a phylogenetic tree. Corresponding author Ross Fitzgerald of the Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland says strains of CC97 found in cows appear to be the ancestors of CC97 strains from humans.

Primary source: mBio

(Source: esciencenews.com)

43 notes (via femscinerd & themicrobiologist)

Aug 8 '13

14 notes (via ofscienceandgeeks)Tags: science see look cool biology virology

Aug 7 '13
currentsinbiology:

Copper Nanoparticles Could Protect Food from Bacteria (Science Daily)
Microbes lurk almost everywhere; most of the time, they are harmless to humans. But sometimes they aren’t. Every year, thousands of people sicken from E. coli infections and hundreds die in the US alone. Now Michigan Technological University scientist Jaroslaw Drelich has found a new way to get them before they get us.
His innovation relies on copper, an element valued for centuries for its antibiotic properties. Drelich, a professor of materials science and engineering, has discovered how to embed nanoparticles of the red metal into vermiculite, an inexpensive, inert compound sometimes used in potting soil. In preliminary tests on local lake water, it killed 100 percent of E. coli bacteria in the sample. Drelich also found that it was effective in killing Staphylococcus aureus, the common staph bacteria.
 Scanning electron micrograph of Staphylococcus aureus

currentsinbiology:

Copper Nanoparticles Could Protect Food from Bacteria (Science Daily)


Microbes lurk almost everywhere; most of the time, they are harmless to humans. But sometimes they aren’t. Every year, thousands of people sicken from E. coli infections and hundreds die in the US alone. Now Michigan Technological University scientist Jaroslaw Drelich has found a new way to get them before they get us.

His innovation relies on copper, an element valued for centuries for its antibiotic properties. Drelich, a professor of materials science and engineering, has discovered how to embed nanoparticles of the red metal into vermiculite, an inexpensive, inert compound sometimes used in potting soil. In preliminary tests on local lake water, it killed 100 percent of E. coli bacteria in the sample. Drelich also found that it was effective in killing Staphylococcus aureus, the common staph bacteria.

Scanning electron micrograph of Staphylococcus aureus

72 notes (via currentsinbiology)Tags: science microbiology copper antimicrobial