Bad Bacteria Have Broken Genes

Bad bacteria have broken genes.  We all carry an enormous population of microbes, known as the “microbiome,” in our digestive systems and on other internal and external body surfaces.  These include some bacteria that can cause serious disease if they get into body tissues and organs, but most of the time they are harmless or […]

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Cicada

Cicada Wings Clean Up Bacteria. 

Cicada and dragonfly wings are known to have a surface layer that kills bacteria by tearing them apart and then removing the dead bacteria.  Getting rid of dead bacteria is an important property as it prevents other bacteria from colonising the surface and feeding on the debris of the shredded bacteria.  It was thought that […]

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Trigona bee

Vulture Bees Lost and Gained Microbes

Almost all bees get their nutrients from flowers. Pollen provides protein and nectar provides carbohydrates. A group of scientists have found three closely related bees of the genus Trigona that feed off dead flesh, rather than flowers. These “vulture bees” get their protein by chewing pieces of flesh from dead animals and gain additional carbohydrates […]

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Seagrass

Seagrass Symbiosis

Seagrasses are not seaweed. They are flowering plants, just like grasses that grow on land, but they grow on the sea beds in shallow coastal waters, and form an important food source and habitat for many sea creatures. Like land plants they need a good supply of nitrogen to grow well, and plants can usually […]

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It Must Be Global Warming

Pandemic? Taliban? It Must Be Global Warming.  For the last couple of decades global warming has been blamed for every natural disaster, but currently the dominant doom and gloom stories are the coronavirus pandemic and the Taliban taking over Afghanistan.  And, yes, there are some people who claim there is a link between global warming […]

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Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator

‘Shocking!’ They Are Not Evolving!

‘Shocking!’ They are not evolving! according to reports in Bigelow News and ScienceDaily 8 April 2021, Science Alert 9 April 2021, and The ISME Journal, 6 April 2021; doi: 10.1038/s41396-021-00965-3. Originally found deep in a South African mine, a bacterium named Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator was found to survive on a diet of chemicals produced from radioactivity […]

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Hitchhiking Microbes Protect Plants and People

Hitchhiking microbes protect plants and people, according to articles in Science (AAAS) News 22 March 2021, and The ISME Journal, 15 March 2021. Doi 10.1038/s41396-021-00952-8.  Soil dwelling bacteria known Streptomyces are known to colonise plant roots and protect plants from damage by other microbes by producing antibiotics.  Many of these antibiotics are also used in […]

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Bacteriophages

140 Thousand Viruses Found in Human Guts

140 thousand viruses found in human guts, according to reports in ScienceDaily 18 February 2021, Science Alert 28 February 2021, and Cell 19 February 2021 doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.01.029.  Scientists at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have analysed 28,060 samples of gut microbiomes from around the world and found 142,809 bacteriophage viruses.  Bacteriophages are a type of virus […]

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Parasites in blood

Blood Parasites in Dino Bones

Blood parasites in dino bones found, according Smithsonian Magazine 18 November 2020 and Cretaceous Research 15 October 2020, doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2020.104672. A group of scientists in Brazil were studying a deformity in a leg bone of a titanosaur, which they thought could be a bone tumour. When they examined it under a microscope they found microscopic […]

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coronavirus

Containing the Coronavirus

Containing the coronavirus is proving to be difficult in spite of efforts by some governments and health authorities.  This newly found virus, officially designated “2019-nCoV” is similar to two previously known deadly coronaviruses – SARS and MERS.  Here is the testimony of one of our colleagues from a SARS outbreak.  “All passengers from the affected […]

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