Microbiology

Category archives for Microbiology

Oil for Food – Microbe Style

Yesterday on Marketplace, there was a great piece by Alex Chadwick on the fate of all the oil released during the BP oil spill two years ago. Oil is a product of organic matter that was deposited many, many years ago. It’s gone through many, many changes deep in earth under high pressure, high temperature…

Fuel from Seaweed

I grew up on the coast of California, and I loved to surf. At my favorite break, Pleasure Point, the best waves were often at low tide, but low tide also meant seaweed. Lots of seaweed. [Source] The giant kelp of Monteray Bay is an astonishing organism. It’s not actually a plant, it’s a brown…

Petroplague – Book Review

Disclosure Note: I was given a free digital copy of this book for review. Thrillers aren’t typically my cup of tea. I most often stick to non-fiction, and when it comes to novels, I tend to favor books that use the plot to develop characters, rather than the other way around. But when Amy Rogers…

In other words, you’re more likely to catch a cold from shaking their hand than to get an STI from Sitting on the same bench. There isn’t much reason to fear getting a sexually transmitted disease from naked sitters. These infections are most commonly the result of vigorous and prolonged exposure of a person’s mucous…

When folks in my lab think about biological problems, we think about basics. A pathogen has some molecular component that trips a sensor on the outside of a cell. That sensor (the receptor) grabs on to some adapter proteins and starts a cascade of chemical reactions catalyzed by various enzymes, which eventually leads to the…

Check out the sea floor… live

Ever wondered what the bottom of the ocean looks like? Well, now’s your chance to check out streaming live HD footage from the ROV ROPOS which is currently working out at Axial Volcano on the Juan de Fuca Ridge. Currently they are checking out a brand new lava flow, but later this evening and tomorrow…

Heather at Sea

In some ways, I’m kinda jealous of the research Heather does. I love my macrophages, but studying the bugs that live in the extreme environment of deep sea hydrothermal vents has always fascinated me. As a consequence of the stuff she studies, Heather also has to (gets to?) take multi-week sea voyages to travel out…

There’s a great post at the Sciam guest blog describing the science of antimicrobial cleaners, and it doesn’t look promising: perhaps the most comprehensive study of the effectiveness of antibiotic and non-antibiotic soaps in the U.S., led by Elaine Larson at Columbia University (with Aiello as a coauthor), found that while for healthy hand washers…

Badass Bacteria vs Malaria

In the wild, as I wrote about last week, some strains of commensal bacteria in mosquitoes seem to confer some resistance to infection with Plasmodium, the parasite that causes malaria in humans. Not content to wait for for nature to get around to it, researchers at Johns Hopkins University decided to see if they could…

Not bored of Arsenic yet?

The arsenic story continues. After much discussion in the blogosphere and elsewhere about the controversial paper claiming to have discovered life that uses arsenic rather than phosphorus in its DNA, Science has published 8 critiques of the paper and a response by the author. You can find them here. I enjoyed reading them, and was…