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Your search has returned 186 articles:
  • News in Brief

    Mini ‘solar panels’ help yeast shine at churning out drug ingredients

    Bionic microbes outfitted with tiny semiconductor components can generate useful chemicals more efficiently than normal cells.

    Microorganisms like fungi are commonly used in biomanufacturing to convert simple carbon-based molecules, such as sugar, into a wide range of chemical ingredients for pharmaceuticals and other products. But much of a microbe’s carbon intake typically gets used to...

    11/15/2018 - 14:00 Microbes, Chemistry, Technology
  • News

    These ancient mounds may not be the earliest fossils on Earth after all

    Tiny mounds touted as the earliest fossilized evidence of life on Earth may just be twisted rock.

    Found in 3.7-billion-year-old rocks in Greenland, the mounds strongly resemble cone-shaped microbial mats called stromatolites, researchers reported in 2016. But a new analysis of the shape, internal layers and chemistry of the structures suggests that the mounds weren’t shaped by microbes...

    10/17/2018 - 13:00 Earth, Paleontology, Microbes
  • News

    In cadaver caves, baby beetles grow better with parental goo

    Growing up inside a dead mouse could really stink, but not for some burying beetles. Their parents’ gut microbes keep the cadaver fresh, creating a nursery where the larvae can thrive.

    What burying beetle parents can do with a small dead animal is remarkable, says coauthor Shantanu Shukla of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany.  “It looks different. It smells...

    10/15/2018 - 18:27 Animals, Microbes
  • News

    These light-loving bacteria may survive surprisingly deep underground

    Deep below Earth's surface, life finds a way.

    Traces of cyanobacteria have been found more than 600 meters underground in a rocky outcrop in Spain, suggesting the microbes can survive without sunlight. Instead of photosynthesizing like others of their kind, these light-starved microorganisms may create energy using hydrogen, researchers report October 1 in the Proceedings of the National...

    10/09/2018 - 16:13 Earth, Microbes
  • Feature

    How plant microbes could feed the world and save endangered species

    One fine Hawaiian day in 2015, Geoff Zahn and Anthony Amend set off on an eight-hour hike. They climbed a jungle mountain on the island of Oahu, swatting mosquitoes and skirting wallows of wild pigs. The two headed to the site where a patch of critically endangered Phyllostegia kaalaensis had been planted a few months earlier. What they found was dispiriting.

    “All the plants were gone,”...

    09/06/2018 - 11:00 Agriculture, Plants, Microbes
  • News

    A newly approved drug could be a boon for treating malaria

    The first new treatment in 60 years for a particularly stubborn kind of malaria is raising hopes that it might help eradicate the disease, even though the treatment can cause a dangerous side effect.

    Called tafenoquine, the drug targets the parasite that causes relapsing malaria. Plasmodium vivax infects an estimated 8.5 million people, mainly in Asia and Latin America. Each time...

    08/09/2018 - 10:00 Health, Microbes, Genetics
  • Science Ticker

    Rat lungworm disease is popping up in the mainland United States

    Health officials have confirmed 12 cases of rat lungworm disease in the continental United States since January 2011 — including six patients who had not traveled abroad but still contracted the illness caused by a parasite endemic to tropical regions in Asia and Hawaii.

    While the disease can be mild, it can become extreme and cause severe neurological problems. In most of the new cases...

    08/03/2018 - 09:00 Health, Animals, Microbes
  • News

    A medical mystery reveals a new host for the rat lungworm parasite

    When a 78-year-old woman went to a hospital in Guangzhou, China, in November 2012 complaining of a headache, drowsiness and a stiff neck, doctors initially were puzzled. The patient had meningitis, but no signs of bacteria or viruses that can cause the illness. Then a cerebrospinal fluid test revealed she had a high number of white blood cells called eosinophils, a clue that she was fighting a...

    07/30/2018 - 17:00 Health, Animals, Microbes
  • News

    How a slime mold near death packs bacteria to feed the next generation

    In the final frenzy of reproduction and death, social amoebas secrete proteins that help preserve a starter kit of food for its offspring.

    Dictyostelium discoideum, a type of slime mold in soil, eats bacteria. Some wild forms of this species essentially farm the microbes, passing them along in spore cases that give the next generation of amoebas the beginnings of a fine local patch of...

    07/27/2018 - 15:35 Microbes, Cells, Physiology
  • Mystery Solved

    Finally, there’s a way to keep syphilis growing in the lab

    For more than a century, scientists have tried to grow Treponema pallidum, the corkscrew-shaped bacterium that causes syphilis. But the stubborn spirochete has refused to thrive any place outside of a human or rabbit for more than 18 days. That doesn’t give researchers much time to study it.

    “I’ve basically spent my entire career watching these organisms die,” says microbiologist Steven...

    07/02/2018 - 07:00 Health, Microbiology, Microbes