The US Centres for Disease Control has released a report in which it identifies over a dozen cases of a deadly, antibiotic-resistant fungus called Candida auris. It's the first time this super-strain has been found in the US, and disturbingly, four of the first seven patients infected with it have died.
Tagged With microbes
Hundreds of millions of years ago, a tiny green microbe joined forces with a fungus, and together they conquered the world. It's a tale of two cross-kingdom organisms, one providing food and the one other shelter, and it's been our touchstone example of symbiosis for 150 years. The trouble is, that story is nowhere near complete.
Nearly half the gold ever mined comes from the Witwatersrand Basin, a layer of gold-flecked rock that spreads out under South Africa. The mines there are famously deep and prolific. Why is there so much gold concentrated in this one small part of the Earth's crust?
In the otherwise barren space 350km above Earth's surface, a capsule of life-sustaining oxygen and water orbits at 27,000km/h. You might know this capsule as the International Space Station (ISS), currently home to six humans — and untold billions of bacteria. Microbes have always followed us to the frontiers, but it's only now that scientists at NASA and elsewhere are seriously investigating what happens when we bring Earth's microbes into space.
The European Space Agency has been collecting examples of "spacecraft-associated biology" in a small collection housed at the Leibniz-Institut DSMZ in Brunswick, Germany. 298 strains of "extremotolerant" bacteria, isolated from spacecraft-assembly rooms because they managed to survive the incredible methods used to clean spacecraft, are now being studied for their biological insight. How on earth can they still be alive?