The Doctor Who Tested Infectious Bacteria On Himself, And Won A Nobel

In 2005, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren were awarded a Nobel Prize in medicine for their study of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria's role in causing stomach ulcers. But Marshall's experience with the bacteria began much earlier, when he dosed himself with it to test out its effects. » 3/23/15 4:20pm 3/23/15 4:20pm

How Scientists Will Find Your Next Antibiotic in this Pile of Dirt

Nearly a century after scientists dug up penicillin, researchers are turning once more to the soil for new pharmaceuticals. But this time, they have tiny, powerful technologies on their side. Here's how scientists are unlocking the secrets of soil microbes and discovering the next generation of medicine. » 3/13/15 11:00am 3/13/15 11:00am

Bacteria Can Refuel Via Microscopic Tubes When Times Get Tough

Bacteria can share vital nutrients if their bacterial neighbors happen to have a surplus. Scientists have now determined that this sharing is accomplished not through diffusion of those nutrients into the surrounding environment, but rather via nanotubes that physically link the insides of two bacterial cells together. » 3/02/15 4:30pm 3/02/15 4:30pm

The Harmonious Ecosystem That You Destroy To Make Bread 

A loaf of bread isn't fluffed up by chemistry alone. It's slowly built up by colonies of yeast, which you heartlessly extinguish when you bake the dough in the oven. There's an ecosystem in every loaf, and a special kind of loaf, sourdough, is built by a special kind of ecology. » 2/23/15 6:20am 2/23/15 6:20am

A new study has shown that pregnant mice can pass traits to offspring through bacterial DNA. The discovery means scientists will have to increasingly consider the role of microbes when working to understand how genes influence illness and health. » 2/17/15 2:40pm 2/17/15 2:40pm

One Of The Ways The Bubonic Plague Kills You Is By Stealing Your Iron

The bubonic plague kills you all kinds of ways. One of the more fascinating ways it kills you is engaging in a protracted war with your cells over the mineral rights to your body. » 2/16/15 8:20am 2/16/15 8:20am

A Bacteria That Hasn't Had To Evolve In More Than Two Billion Years

Scientists from UCLA have discovered a deep-sea microorganism that's the same today as it was two billion years ago. It's an observation that actually bolsters Darwin's theory of natural selection, while offering the most extreme example of evolution's "null hypothesis." » 2/03/15 6:30am 2/03/15 6:30am

Researchers Engineer 'Kill Switch' To Keep GM Bacteria In Check

As we venture deeper into the era of GMOs and synthetic life, it's critical that we develop safeguards to prevent the contamination of natural systems. To that end, researchers have devised a clever solution to ensure this never happens – at least in GM bacteria. » 1/22/15 4:00pm 1/22/15 4:00pm

The Extremely Gross Reason Why Limburger Cheese Attracts Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are drawn to the scent of limburger cheese and its derivatives. They love it so much that it can even lure them away from tasty human targets. Why? For a reason you don't want to know if you plan to eat limburger cheese ever again. » 1/09/15 11:30am 1/09/15 11:30am

A microbe found in a grassy field appears to contain a remarkably powerful antibiotic. Called teixobactin, it kills dangerous pathogens without any observable resistance (at least not yet). Moreover, it destroys many types of drug-resistant bacteria and it's safe in mammals. Its use may be limited, but it could… » 1/07/15 7:00pm 1/07/15 7:00pm

What Would Happen If All The Earth's Microbes Suddenly Disappeared?

It's generally agreed that life on this planet would not be possible if it weren't for microbes. In a fascinating thought experiment, a pair of biologists scrutinized this assumption to find out. As their paper makes clear, a microbe-free world would be a strange place, indeed. » 12/17/14 9:40am 12/17/14 9:40am

Why Buttermilk Was One of Chemistry's Greatest Innovations

Every day, we eat scientific innovations, and not just when snarf powdered cheese flavor. Our food is the result of remarkable discoveries by long-forgotten scientists. And one of their most important innovations resulted in the chemical wonder known as buttermilk. » 12/05/14 8:20am 12/05/14 8:20am

Over 80 Million Bacteria Are Transferred During A 10 Second Kiss

Couples who give each other intimate kisses several times a day share similar communities of saliva-dwelling oral bacteria. Romantic, right? But don't panic — many of these bacteria are essential for the digestion of food, synthesizing nutrients, and preventing disease. » 11/17/14 3:55pm 11/17/14 3:55pm

New "Programmable" Antibiotic Targets Drug-Resistant Genes

A fundamental drawback to antibiotics is that they indiscriminately target all of the bacteria in your body, including the good ones. So how cool would it be if we could engineer a smart antibiotic that targets specific strains of bacteria? Researchers at Rockefeller University have just taken us one major step… » 10/06/14 2:40pm 10/06/14 2:40pm

How A Biochemical Invention Of The Mongols Gave Us Sour Cream

When you're enjoying your burrito, you should briefly think of the biochemical ingenuity of the horse-riding culture that nearly overran Europe. The Mongols had to process their food in a special way, and they liked getting drunk — this led to a culinary treasure. » 7/21/14 9:20am 7/21/14 9:20am

Discovery Of 'Electric Bacteria' Hints At The Potential For Alien Life

Microbiologists have learned that certain strains of bacteria are capable of using energy in its purest form by eating and breathing electrons. It's a discovery that demonstrates an entirely new mode of life on Earth — and possibly beyond. » 7/17/14 8:40am 7/17/14 8:40am

The Bacteria That Got Spread Throughout The US By Military Testing

Have you ever heard of serratia marcescens bacteria? Today they are a cause of hospital infections. In the 1960s, they were secretly sprayed across Washington, San Francisco, and New York. » 7/07/14 9:40am 7/07/14 9:40am

"White Blood Cell Chases Bacteria" Is Our New Favorite Suspense Movie

From a nail-bitingly tense chase sequence all the way to a seemingly impossible run down an all too narrow alleyway, this video of a ridiculously-dogged white blood cell in hot pursuit of some fleeing bacteria is a master class in suspense done right. » 6/17/14 4:20pm 6/17/14 4:20pm

Why Washing Raw Chicken Could Be Hazardous To Your Health

Some two-fifths of people wash raw chicken in preparation for cooking. But health experts say the practice could cause more harm than good. » 6/16/14 3:20pm 6/16/14 3:20pm

Dogs Are Now At Risk From Super Bacteria, Too

Humans aren't the only ones at risk from antibiotic-resistant MRSA. The super bacteria has also trained its sights on our collective best friends: Dogs. » 5/30/14 4:20pm 5/30/14 4:20pm