Tag Archives: Microbiology (Bacteriology and fungi)

* First public collection of bacteria from the intestine of mice

Mouse models are extensively used in pharmaceutical and medical research, and it is known that the communities of microbes in their intestine can have a significant impact on the research output. However, there is still insufficient information available about many bacteria inhabiting the intestine of mice. For the first time, a collection of cultured bacterial […]

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CRISPR gene-editing system unleashed on RNA

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Researchers who discovered a molecular “scissors” for snipping genes have now developed a similar approach for targeting and cutting RNA. The new cutting tool should help researchers better understand RNA’s role in cells and diseases, and some believe it could one day be useful in treatments for illnesses from Huntington’s to heart disease. To develop […]

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New material kills E. coli bacteria in 30 seconds

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Every day, we are exposed to millions of harmful bacteria that can cause infectious diseases, such as the E. coli bacteria. Now, researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, have developed a new material that can kill the E. coli bacteria within 30 seconds. […]

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Targeting metals to fight pathogenic bacteria

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Researchers at the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS) at Umeå University in Sweden participated in the discovery of a unique system of acquisition of essential metals in the pathogenic bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. This research was led by scientists at the CEA in France, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Pau, the […]

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Deadly fungus threatens African frogs

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Misty mountains, glistening forests and blue-green lakes make Cameroon, the wettest part of Africa, a tropical wonderland for amphibians. The country holds more than half the species living on the continent, including dozens of endemic frogs — an animal that has been under attack across the world by the pervasive chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis). Africa […]

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Superbug infections tracked across Europe

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For the first time, scientists have shown that MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and other antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ infections can be tracked across Europe by combining whole-genome sequencing with a web-based system. In mBio, researchers at Imperial College London and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute worked with a European network representing doctors in 450 hospitals in 25 […]

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Tuberculosis in mongoose driven by social communication behavior

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Tuberculosis infection in mongoose driven by social communication behaviour. An emerging strain of tuberculosis (TB), closely related to human TB, has been killing banded mongoose in Northern Botswana in significant numbers. This novel pathogen, Mycobacterium mungi, did not infect mongoose through a primary airborne or oral route as normally seen in TB disease in humans […]

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* Infection alert system in catheters could tackle hospital superbugs

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A new infection alert system in catheters could prevent serious infections in millions of hospital patients worldwide. The system, detailed in a new paper in Biosensors and Bioelectronics, changes the color of the urine so patients and carers can see easily if bacteria are starting to block the catheter. The researchers who invented the new […]

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Antibiotic resistance: it’s a social thing

Trace concentrations of antibiotic, such as those found in sewage outfalls, are enough to enable bacteria to keep antibiotic resistance, new research from the University of York has found. The concentrations are much lower than previously anticipated, and help to explain why antibiotic resistance is so persistent in the environment. Antibiotic resistance can work in […]

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New compounds discovered as candidates for new antimicrobial drugs against Listeria infection

Scientists at Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR) have discovered chemical compounds which are able to attenuate the virulence of the bacterial human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Their findings are published today in the high impact journal Cell Chemical Biology. The dramatic increase of antibiotic resistance makes new antimicrobial strategies necessary. The researchers at Umeå University […]

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Botulism in waterbirds: Mortality rates and new insights into how it spreads

Outbreaks of botulism killed large percentages of waterbirds inhabiting a wetland in Spain. During one season, more than 80 percent of gadwalls and black-winged stilts died. The botulinum toxin’s spread may have been abetted by an invasive species of water snail which frequently carries the toxin-producing bacterium, Clostridium botulinum, and which is well adapted to […]

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Study finds vast diversity among viruses that infect bacteria

Viruses that infect bacteria are among the most abundant life forms on Earth. Our oceans and soils, and potentially even our own bodies, would be overrun with bacteria were it not for bacteria-eating viruses–called bacteriophages–that keep the microbial balance in check. Now, a new study suggests that bacteriophages made of RNA — a close chemical […]

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Fungal pathogen sheds gene silencing machinery and becomes more dangerous

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For more than a decade, a rare but potentially deadly fungus called Cryptococcus deuterogatti has taken up residence in the Pacific Northwest and Vancouver Island. Unlike its cousin Cryptococcus neoformans, which mostly infects patients with compromised immune systems, this fungus has sickened hundreds of otherwise healthy people. Now, researchers have found that the pathogen tossed […]

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Investigators trace emergence and spread of virulent salmonella strain

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Since it first emerged more than half a century ago, a particular strain of multidrug-resistant Salmonella has spread all over the world. Now researchers have figured out why this strain, Salmonella Typhimuriam DT104, has been so successful. This new knowledge could prove valuable in combating other successful pathogens, according to the authors. The study is […]

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* What makes a bacterial species able to cause human disease?

An international team of scientists, led by researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), have created the first comprehensive, cross-species genomic comparison of all 20 known species of Leptospira, a bacterial genus that can cause disease and death in livestock and other domesticated mammals, wildlife […]

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Mental abilities are shaped by individual differences in the brain

Everyone has a different mixture of personality traits: some are outgoing, some are tough and some are anxious. A new study suggests that brains also have different traits that affect both anatomical and cognitive factors, such as intelligence and memory. “A major focus of research in cognitive neuroscience is understanding how intelligence is shaped by […]

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New experimental test detects signs of Lyme disease near time of infection

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When it comes to early diagnosis of Lyme disease, the insidious tick-borne illness that afflicts about 300,000 Americans annually, finding the proverbial needle in the haystack might be a far easier challenge — until now, perhaps. An experimental method developed by federal and university researchers appears capable of detecting the stealthy culprit Lyme bacteria at […]

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* Are we losing the fight against antibiotic resistance?

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Tackling antibiotic resistance on only one front is a waste of time because resistant genes are freely crossing environmental, agricultural and clinical boundaries, new research has shown. Analysis of historic soil archives dating back to 1923 has revealed a clear parallel between the appearance of antibiotic resistance in medicine and similar antibiotic resistant genes detected […]

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* Researchers identify new Borrelia species that causes Lyme disease

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Mayo Clinic researchers, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health officials from Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, have discovered a new bacterial species that causes Lyme disease in people. The new species has been provisionally named Borrelia mayonii. Prior to this finding, the only species believed to cause Lyme […]

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Invasive amphibian fungus could threaten U.S. salamander populations

A deadly fungus causing population crashes in wild European salamanders could emerge in the United States and threaten already declining amphibians, according to a report released today by the U.S. Geological Survey. The Department of the Interior is working proactively to protect the nation’s amphibians. The USG report released today highlights cooperative research and management […]

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Researchers identify areas of plague risk in western United States

Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center have identified and mapped areas of high probability of plague bacteria in the western United States. Their findings were published in a recent edition of the journal PeerJ. This investigation predicted animal plague occurrence across western states based on reported occurrences of plague in sylvan (wild) and domestic animal […]

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Bacillus cereus is able to resist certain antibiotic therapies

The pathogenic bacterium Bacillus cereus causes vomiting and diarrhea as well as systemic and local infections. A team of researchers has reported for the first time that B. cereus, following contact with certain antibiotics, can switch into a special slowed-down mode. The bacteria then form small colony variants (SVCs) that are difficult to diagnose and […]

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Save the salamanders

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) is an emerging fungal pathogen that has caused recent die-offs of salamanders in Europe. Laboratory experiments have shown that it can kill some North American species as well, confirming a serious threat to salamander populations on the continent. A Pearl (a short essay) published on December 10th in PLOS Pathogens summarizes what […]

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Devising an inexpensive, quick tuberculosis test for developing areas

Tuberculosis (TB) is a highly infectious disease and a major global health problem, especially in countries with developing health care systems. Because there is no fast, easy way to detect TB, the deadly infection can spread quickly through communities. Now, a team reports in ACS Sensors the development of a rapid, sensitive and low-cost method […]

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Wild toads saved from killer fungal disease

After a six-year effort, biologists say they have for the first time managed to rid a wild toad species of a lethal fungal disease that threatens amphibians around the world. Midwife toads on the Spanish island of Mallorca are now free of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, says Jaime Bosch, an evolutionary biologist at Spain’s […]

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Preventing dental implant infections

One million dental implants are inserted every year in Germany, and often they need to be replaced due to issues such as tissue infections caused by bacteria. In the future, these infections will be prevented thanks to a new plasma implant coating that kills pathogens using silver ions. Bacterial infection of a dental implant is […]

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* Intensive farming link to bovine TB

Intensive farming practices such as larger herd size, maize growth, fewer hedgerows and the use of silage have been linked to higher risk of bovine TB, new research has concluded. A study by the University of Exeter, funded by BBSRC and published in the Royal Society journal Biological Letters, analysed data from 503 farms which […]

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Human handouts could be spreading disease from birds to people

People feeding white ibises at public parks are turning the normally independent birds into beggars, and now researchers at the University of Georgia say it might also be helping spread disease. They recently launched a study to find out how being fed by humans is changing the health, ecology and behavior of white ibises in […]

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* Staphylococcus aureus Achilles’ heel

Staphylococcus aureus is both a transient skin colonizer and a formidable human pathogen, ranking amongst the leading causes of skin and soft tissue infections, as well as severe pneumonia. Scientists attempt to work out new strategies to fight against this pathogen, of which numerous strains are now resistant to antibiotic treatments. One of the bacterium’s […]

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Novel theoretical approach to reduce antibiotic resistance

The combination and sequence of antibiotics can promote or hinder the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It is estimated that each year in the United States 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to one or more types of antibiotics, and at least 23,000 people will die because of these infections. This problem […]

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