Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Agriculture

MRSA ST398: Now It’s in Chickens

The emerging MRSA strain ST398 has found a new home–chickens.

Over at What’s New in Life Science Research, I have a post about Potential Harm from Genetically Modified Foods that looks at the effect of GM foods on aquatic systems. Make our Benevolent Seed Overlords happy and go read it.

Go Read Tara’s Paper About Piggies!

The Harbingers of the Apocalypse NOW!! Actually, it’s pretty good (and it’s publicly available as a pdf). ScienceBlogling Revere has a good summary.

Corn Was Patriotic…in WWI

While corn, and particularly corn derivatives such as corn syrup and ethanol additives, is seen as the devil, an excellent exhibit of posters at the Boston Public Library portrays a time when corn products were seen as a really good thing:

With all of the stories about bacterial contamination of food, a recent paper describes one possible way to reduce the virulence–the ability to cause disease–of the bacterium Escherichia coli.

…seven years later? The bad news–for years, cephalosporin antibiotics (antibiotics derived from penicillin, such as ceftiofur, cephalothalin, cefoxitin, and ceftriaxone) were used ‘off-label’ (meaning irresponsibly) in agriculture (italics mine):

There’s a really interesting article in last week’s NY Times magazine about global warming and the spread of weeds. There was, however, one jarring note, and it had to do with an incorrect definition of natural selection (italics mine):

The ‘Piggy’ MRSA: It’s Here…

So while I was at the American Society for Microbiology meeting this week (and my talk went fine, thanks for asking), I saw a poster by one of ScienceBlogling Tara‘s students, Abby Harper, about MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in pigs.

Skyscrapers as Farms: “Skyfarming”

Photo: Architectural Design by Rolf Mohr; Modeling and Rendering by Machine Films; Interiors by James Nelms ­Digital Artist @ Storyboards Online A while back, I posted about apartment buildings that double as farms. New York magazine has a really interesting article about urban skyscrapers that would function as vertical hydroponic farms.

Salmonella as a Commensal(?!?)

An article in Emerging Infectious Diseases describes a joint collaboration between the CDC and Mexican health authorities that built a system to monitor the spread of Salmonella through the food chain and into people. One finding shocked me.