Meet the Scientist Who Is Solving the Mystery of Zombie Ants

Throughout the tropical forests of the world, there's a parasitic fungus that turns unwitting ants into "zombies." Just how the fungus is able to control the brains of its insect slaves is unknown, but Charissa de Bekker, a post-doctoral researcher at Penn State University, is determined to find out. We caught up with… » 1/03/14 12:15pm 1/03/14 12:15pm

Here's why wine snobs should probably be called bacteria snobs

Differences in wine quality between vineyards have long been attributed to processing techniques and seasonal variation. But research now suggests that regional differences between wines are shaped by microbes — specifically, fungi and bacteria. Cultivating certain grape microbes may actually improve wine flavor. » 11/26/13 12:38pm 11/26/13 12:38pm

To help clean up toxic mine water, let fungi bloom

In order to render mine water a whole lot less toxic, the key could be letting a fungus bloom. Some fungi produce a superoxide when they grow, which is instrumental in cleaning up polluting metals. This superoxide reacts with locally available Magnesium(II), and is oxidized to Mn(III) or Mn(IV), which in turn suck up… » 7/21/12 11:00am 7/21/12 11:00am

10 Ways the Human Microbiome Project Could Change the Future of Science…

When astronomers talk about the number of planets in the Milky Way Galaxy, they talk in terms of hundreds of billions. When microbiologists talk about the Human Microbiome — the bacteria, viruses and fungi living in and on each of our bodies — they talk in terms of hundreds of trillions. » 6/25/12 10:28am 6/25/12 10:28am