Microbiology

Bacteria transfer to candy that has fallen on the floor no matter how fast you pick it up.  

Rutgers researchers have disproven the widely accepted notion that it's OK to scoop up food and eat it within a "safe" five-second window. Donald Schaffner, professor and extension specialist in food science, found that moisture, type of surface and contact time all contribute to cross-contamination. In some instances, the transfer begins in less than one second. Their findings appear online in the American Society for Microbiology's journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology.


You recently saw how a build-up of microbes in bagpipes recently doomed a Scottish man. That could apply to all wind instruments, and a U.S. Food and Drug Administration microbiologist warns that several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections.

Obviously that doesn't mean they caused them but associations are important in making health policy, and alternatives to cigarette smoking, in the interests of harm reduction and smoking cessation, are controversial, with the U.S. government being squarely against them, a legacy of the 'quit or die' mentality that has keep cigarette smoking as (not very) popular that it is.


Many of society’s energy challenges require gigawatts of power, but many more are small – and some are entirely microscopic. To drive a new generation of tiny micromachines that could deliver drugs or clean traces of pollution, physicists are increasingly looking to biology for inspiration.

In work published in the journal Science Advances, my co-authors and I present a simulation of a sort of tiny “windfarm” powered by the natural self-organization of bacteria. It’s a small step towards harnessing the energy potential of microorganisms.

What research looks like when it is and is not performed by scientists

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.