Flood waters are receding in Houston after the historic rainfall from Hurricane Harvey earlier this month. But the water itself was not the only threat. Flooding breached dozens of waste treatment centres, sending a deluge of bacteria throughout the city. The New York Times reports on the victims of the bacterial spread, including an elderly woman who contracted a rare, "gruesome and often deadly infection commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria" after she fell while evacuating.
Tagged With bacteria
To learn more about why some germs seem harder to kill in near-weightless conditions, scientists aboard the ISS recently doused a batch of bacteria with antibiotics -- an experiment which resulted in a series of startling physical changes that may be helping the bacteria to survive and thrive in space.
Reading science news all day can be real grim. Animals are dying, the climate is changing, the nuke's a coming, yadda yadda. But sometimes (in fact, often) scientists do something that's just neat, important, and won't keep you up at night -- that is, if you're cool with photosynthesising cyborg bacteria.
What's a strand of DNA but data? We often think of its units, the As, Cs, Ts, and Gs, as letters of the words in an instruction manual. But what if, instead, we think of them as biological computer bits, storing the smallest unit of information? What stops scientists from harnessing the power of those units, using the latest biological technology to treat DNA like a writable disk?
The human body isn't just your cells, but a home for trillions of bacteria. We know that many of those bacteria serve important purposes, and imbalances or a lack of diversity could lead to illness. But research into this field is pretty new. At least, new enough that you shouldn't just transplant someone else's gut bacteria into your own colon without good reason.
Bacteria have had some pretty great PR, recently. Thanks to a lot of new research about their importance to our bodies, they aren't really seen as soulless microscopic murderers any more. They're colourful, misunderstood beings living together outside the spotlight, freeloading in our guts in exchange for favours. In other words, they're artists.
We consume all sorts of things before really knowing how they're going to affect us, including probiotics and dietary supplements. But given how preliminary our understanding of our gut bacteria is, it's very likely that some supplements can work in direct opposition of others. For instance, vitamin A might kill a bacteria hypothesised to promote childhood growth.
The bacterial world is rife with unusual talents, among them a knack for producing electricity. In the wild, "electrogenic" bacteria generate current as part of their metabolism, and now researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), have found a way to give that ability to non-electrogenic bacteria.
This researchers say this discovery could be used in sustainable electricity generation and wastewater treatment.
Researchers at Ghent University have hit on a method of harvesting energy from raw sewage that treats the wastewater without using external electricity. It's all thanks to starving bacteria. Although this method is still in its lab testing stage, industry leaders are already interested in utilising it.
British red squirrels are being afflicted by a medieval strain of leprosy that was thought to have disappeared from Europe over 700 years ago, according to a new DNA analysis. Researchers say the chances of the dreaded disease spreading to humans is low, but the discovery suggests this strain of leprosy has been lingering for quite some time.
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.