Microbiology

No one knows for sure how they got there. But the discovery that bacteria that normally live in the gut can be detected in the lungs of critically ill people and animals could mean a lot for intensive care patients. 

Today, scientists are reporting that they found gut bacteria in the deepest reaches of failing lungs -- an environment where they normally aren't found and can't survive. The more severe the patients' critical illness, the more their usual lung bacteria were outnumbered by the misplaced gut bugs.


Beer is the world's most commonly fermented beverage and lager beer commands 94 percent of the global market. Making the beer possible is a biological oddity: a hybrid yeast that combines two distinct species and confers the ability to make cold-brewed beer, a product that first emerged 500 years ago in Europe.

 Without question, the domesticated hybrid yeast that gives us lager beer is an organism worth many billions of dollars, but just how Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the well-known domesticated yeast that gives us wine and bread, combined with Saccharomyces eubayanus, a yeast species only recently discovered in nature, to give us the hybrid organism that makes cold-brewed beer remains a mystery.


Gut microbes are all the rage and scholars everywhere are latching onto the fad. If you are over the age of 30, you have seen this too many times to count. Sugar causes diabetes, salt causes heart disease, trans fats cause everything, saturated fats were bad until they were good. 

Now a paper in Nature claims an altered gut microbiota causes obesity. 

In an earlier study, Gerald I. Shulman, M.D., the George R. Cowgill Professor of Medicine, observed that acetate, a short-chain fatty acid, stimulated the secretion of insulin in rodents. To learn more about acetate's role, they conducted a series of experiments in rodent models of obesity. 


Though the claims that acrylamide is dangerous seem to be more manufactured hype than science, that isn't stopping the free market from providing an alternative.
You might think microbreweries are novel and trendy. Okay, they may be trendy but they are not novel. An ancient microbrewery dating around 5,000 years old was recently unearthed in China at the archaeological site of Mijiaya. 

Analyzing the remnants of the grains used has even provided a recipe for ancient Chinese beer!

Alcoholic drinks have a long and complicated history. Indeed, long before humans even came on the scene, other animals were indulging in fruit that had naturally fermented.

The news that the Department of Defense had found a woman in Pennsylvania with a strain of E. coli carrying the gene mcr-1, the first time plasmid-mediated resistance to colistin (MCR) has been found in the United States, should have brought calls to action, because MCR creates resistance against colistin, a powerful antibiotic seldom prescribed due to side effects that remains effective as a last resort.

Instead it brought political posturing. Democratic Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (NY-25) immediately demonized farmers and drug companies - again.

Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. Using state-of-the-art tools, EPFL scientists have described a million-atom "tail" that bacteriophages use to breach bacterial surfaces. The breakthrough has major implications for science and medicine, as bacteriophages are widely used in research.


By the time Michelle Marineau saw her patient, James*, there was little she could do to help him. His big toe had been removed, a complication from years of uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, but the amputation site had stubbornly refused to heal. An infection had eaten away flesh and left tendon and bone exposed, streaks of off-white against the angry, red, weeping wound. Several of his other toes had developed gangrene, turning black and slowly dropping off.

Viruses that infect bacteria are among the most abundant life forms on Earth. Indeed, our oceans, soils and potentially even our bodies would be overrun with bacteria were it not for bacteria-eating viruses, called bacteriophages, that keep the microbial balance of ecological niches in check.

Now, a new study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that bacteriophages made of RNA -- a close chemical cousin of DNA -- likely play a much larger role in shaping the bacterial makeup of worldwide habitats than previously recognized.


Honing in on when life on Earth evolved from single-celled to multicellular organisms is no easy task. Organisms that old lacked many distinguishing characteristics of modern life forms, making their fossils exceptionally rare.

But University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee paleontologist Stephen Dornbos and his research partners have discovered new clues in the quest. The team found fossils of two species of previously unknown ancient multicellular marine algae, what we now know as seaweed - and they're among the oldest examples of multicellular life on Earth.