Public restroom hand dryers found to harbor Staphylococcus and fecal matter

Automatic hand dryers in men’s and women’s public restrooms can harbor and spread bacteria, including Staphylococcus and fecal matter, according to research presented during ASM Microbe, which is being held virtually this year. To assess the contamination of public restroom hand dryers, Craig Oberg, PhD, Brady Distinguished Professor of Microbiology at Weber State University inContinue reading “Public restroom hand dryers found to harbor Staphylococcus and fecal matter”

Eating too much salt seems to impair body’s ability to fight bacteria

By Michael Le Page Eating too much salt may impair the body’s ability to fight bacterial infections, according to studies in mice and in 10 human volunteers. Christian Kurts at the University Hospital of Bonn in Germany and his team first showed that mice given a high salt diet were less able to fight kidneyContinue reading “Eating too much salt seems to impair body’s ability to fight bacteria”

There Are Striking Similarities in The Way Bacteria And Humans Settle Into Colonies

by CARLY CASSELLA The way oral bacteria sets up shop in our mouths is not unlike how we humans settle into our cities, a new study has found. There’s a reason bacteria are said to live in ‘colonies’, and the more we learn about how these tiny architects build their communities, the more familiar theirContinue reading “There Are Striking Similarities in The Way Bacteria And Humans Settle Into Colonies”

Scientists create strain of bacteria that consumes carbon dioxide

Researchers have engineered Escherichia coli bacteria to make energy exclusively from carbon dioxide, according to a paper published November 27 in Cell. E. coli are normally heterotrophs—organisms that get their energy sources from ingesting organic compounds, such as glucose—but the new study shows that they can be turned into autotrophs, making their own energy byContinue reading “Scientists create strain of bacteria that consumes carbon dioxide”

Spider webs don’t rot easily and scientists may have figured out why: bacteria key to decomposition can’t get at the silk’s nitrogen, a nutrient needed for growth

By Priyanka Runwal From spooky abandoned houses to dark forest corners, spider webs have an aura of eternal existence. In reality, the silk threads can last hours to weeks without rotting. That’s because bacteria that would aid decomposition are unable to access the silk’s nitrogen, a nutrient the microbes need for growth and reproduction, aContinue reading “Spider webs don’t rot easily and scientists may have figured out why: bacteria key to decomposition can’t get at the silk’s nitrogen, a nutrient needed for growth”

Young children’s oral bacteria may predict obesity

Weight gain trajectories in early childhood are related to the composition of oral bacteria of two-year-old children, suggesting that this understudied aspect of a child’s microbiota — the collection of microorganisms, including beneficial bacteria, residing in the mouth — could serve as an early indicator for childhood obesity. A study describing the results appears SeptemberContinue reading “Young children’s oral bacteria may predict obesity”

Gut bacteria’s shocking secret – they produce electricity.

Listeria bacteria transport electrons through their cell wall into the environment as tiny currents, assisted by ubiquitous flavin molecules (yellow dots). (Amy Cao graphic, copyright UC Berkeley) By Robert Sanders While bacteria that produce electricity have been found in exotic environments like mines and the bottoms of lakes, scientists have missed a source closer toContinue reading “Gut bacteria’s shocking secret – they produce electricity.”

Bacteria can be turned into living hard drives

When scientists add code to bacterial DNA, it’s passed on to the next generation. By Bryan Nelson The way DNA stores genetic information is similar to the way a computer stores data. Now scientists have found a way to turn this from a metaphorical comparison into a literal one, by transforming living bacteria into hardContinue reading “Bacteria can be turned into living hard drives”

Plastic-eating bacteria discovered in recycling plant

By Eva Botkin-Kowacki Plastic is everywhere around us. We drink out of plastic cups, buy disposable water bottles, unwrap new electronics from plastic packaging, take home plastic shopping bags, and even wear plastic in polyester fabrics. Some 311 million tons of plastic is produced across the globe annually, and just 10 percent makes it backContinue reading “Plastic-eating bacteria discovered in recycling plant”

Scientific testing of the ‘5 second rule’ of food on the floor

The five-second rule is based on the not-entirely-scientific belief that bacteria cannot contaminate food within five seconds, so you won’t get sick eating things you have picked up from the floor. The first person to investigate this urban myth scientifically was Jillian Clarke, an American high-school student, during an apprenticeship in a microbiology laboratory atContinue reading “Scientific testing of the ‘5 second rule’ of food on the floor”