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  • Teaser

    A new plastic film glows to flag food contaminated with dangerous microbes

    Pathogen detectors built into plastic patches could someday spare you food poisoning.

    Carlos Filipe, a chemical engineer at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, and colleagues have developed a new kind of flexible film that’s coated in molecules that glow when they touch E. coli cells. This type of sensor also glows in the presence of molecules secreted by E. coli, so the material...

    04/17/2018 - 07:00 Materials, Microbes, Health
  • News in Brief

    This material uses energy from ambient light to kill hospital superbugs

    PHOENIX — A new material that harnesses the power of ambient light to produce bacteria-killing molecules could help stem the spread of hospital infections, including those with drug-resistant bacteria.

    About 1 in 10 patients worldwide get an infection while receiving treatment at a hospital or other health care facility, according to the World Health Organization. “Contaminated hospital...

    04/10/2018 - 07:00 Microbes, Materials, Technology
  • News

    A new way to make bacteria glow could simplify TB screening

    A new molecule that reveals active tuberculosis bacteria in coughed-up mucus and saliva could simplify TB diagnoses and speed up tests for detecting strains of the disease that are resistant to drugs.

    This synthetic molecule is a modified version of a sugar that TB bacteria consume to help build their cell walls. The sugar is tagged with a dye that lights up under a fluorescent...

    02/28/2018 - 14:03 Microbes, Microbiology, Biomedicine
  • News

    Genes could record forensic clues to time of death

    Dying, it turns out, is not like flipping a switch. Genes keep working for a while after a person dies, and scientists have used that activity in the lab to pinpoint time of death to within about nine minutes.

    During the first 24 hours after death, genetic changes kick in across various human tissues, creating patterns of activity that can be used to roughly predict when someone died,...

    02/13/2018 - 17:12 Epigenetics, Microbes, Science & Society
  • The Science Life

    Here’s why so many saiga antelope mysteriously died in 2015

    Spring calving season for the saiga antelope of central Kazakhstan is a delight for the researchers who keep tabs on the critically endangered animals. During the day, thousands of newborn saigas lie quiet, hidden within a sea of waving grass. Mothers return twice daily to feed them. “If you come at dawn and dusk, it’s magical,” says E.J. Milner-Gulland, a conservation biologist at the...

    01/29/2018 - 07:00 Animals, Conservation, Microbes
  • News

    The secret to icky, sticky bacterial biofilms lies in the microbes’ cellulose

    To build resilient colonies, bacteria make a surprising tweak to a common substance found in cells.

    A  biochemical addition to the cellulose produced by E. coli and other species of bacteria lets them create colonies that are resistant to disruption, researchers report in the Jan. 19 Science. Called biofilms, these microbial colonies can form on medical devices or inside the body,...

    01/18/2018 - 14:31 Microbes, Chemistry
  • Teaser

    A new gel could help in the fight against deadly, drug-resistant superbugs

    A new antibacterial ointment could help take down drug-resistant bacteria.

    In human skin samples and mice, the medicine completely cleared wounds of MRSA, the strain of Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to methicillin and other antibiotics, and antibiotic-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii. Both microbes are known to cause serious infections in hospital patients. Researchers in the...

    01/10/2018 - 14:00 Microbes, Health, Technology
  • News

    New pill tracks gases through your gut

    Ingestible electronics are giving their first full tours of the gas in people’s guts.

    Newly constructed capsules, described online January 8 in Nature Electronics, sense various gases while traveling through a person’s digestive tract, revealing how the gut’s chemical composition reacts to factors like diet.

    What exactly each person’s gut gas could reveal about his or her health “...

    01/08/2018 - 11:00 Microbes, Technology
  • News

    These disease-fighting bacteria produce echoes detectable by ultrasound

    Ultrasound can now track bacteria in the body like sonar detects submarines.

    For the first time, researchers have genetically modified microbes to form gas-filled pouches that scatter sound waves to produce ultrasound signals. When these bacteria are placed inside an animal, an ultrasound detector can pick up those signals and reveal the microbes’ location, much like sonar waves bouncing...

    01/03/2018 - 13:00 Microbes, Technology
  • News

    New 3-D printed materials harness the power of bacteria

    A new type of 3-D printing ink has a special ingredient: live bacteria.

    Materials made with this “living ink” could help clean up environmental pollution, harvest energy via photosynthesis or help make medical supplies, researchers report online December 1 in Science Advances.

    This study “shows for the first time that 3-D printed bacteria can make useful materials,” says Anne Meyer...

    12/01/2017 - 14:22 Materials, Microbes, Technology