For decades, only three mechanisms for spreading DNA (such as antibiotic resistance genes) from one bacterium to another were known. Now researchers have characterized a fourth, adding a new wrinkle in our war on bacteria and a new page to microbiology textbooks.
Microbiologists have long known that the kitchen is an incredibly fertile field for bacterial growth — and a prime source is the kitchen sponge. A recent study of sponges found that even those that are "cleaned" by their users provide a soup of bacteria — some of which are pathogenic.
Telling the difference between a viral and bacterial infection isn't always easy. Physicians end up guessing, which results in prescriptions being given for unnecessary antibiotics. A group is working on a new tool that could take the guesswork out of this important issue.
Think your coffee tastes like ... well ... crap? With recent reports revealing ice from three of the largest coffee companies was contaminated with fecal matter, expect a little panic to ensue. As for now, here's the medical scoop on this poop.
As essential to scientific research as beakers, the sequence of an organism's genome is a staple in today's world of scientific experimentation. That means the sequencing and publication of more than 1,000 new bacterial genomes is akin to "making it rain" in the microbiology-research community.
University of Montana researchers discovered that when grown in co-culture, two different species of the fungus Penicillium – the same genus that produces the antibiotic penicillin – cooperate to synthesize an antibiotic that neither species produces when grown alone.
Most motorists, as they glide their cars carefully around the bloody remains, find highway carcasses repulsive. But a team of microbiologists and chemists from the University of Oklahoma hope that roadkill will prove to be a biomedical gold mine.
UV light is dangerous to humans. That's part of the reason why there's widespread interest in discovering light sources that can kill unwanted organisms – while leaving humans unscathed.
Classifying species is a notoriously sticky problem in biology. As a very broad rule, organisms can be classified as belonging to a distinct species if they can successfully mate with each other to produce offspring that can also successfully mate. But this rule completely falls apart for microbes.
With winter approaching, perhaps you or somebody you know will be unlucky enough to catch a nasty "stomach flu" or "24-hour flu," (which will produce some quality time in the bathroom). Now while you will almost certainly feel better within 24-72 hours, here's the catch: There's no such thing as the stomach or 24-hour flu.
A team of German researchers swabbed 400 bathroom door handles from 136 airports in 59 countries. More than 5 percent produced strains of Staphylococcus aureus, a result that underscores the importance of proactive global epidemiological surveillance. There is no such thing as local outbreak anymore.
Roughly 1 in 3 women douche, but there is no good health reason to do so. Douching can change the makeup of the bacteria that normally live in the vagina, and it can even make women more susceptible to STDs. Now, researchers have added another concern: Douching appears to increase the risk of infection with HPV (human papillomavirus), which causes cervical cancer.