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  • News

    E. coli evade detection by going dormant

    Researchers think they now know why a particularly virulent form of E. coli that swept through northern Germany last May was so hard to trace: The germs responsible eluded detection by going into a self-induced deep sleep.

    Two new studies show that when stressed, E. coli can turn off most signs of life. That’s a problem for food-safety officials because their germ-screening...

    12/06/2011 - 11:04 Nutrition, Earth & Environment
  • Science & the Public

    How resveratrol (in grapes, peanuts and wine) fights fat and disease

    Resveratrol, a constituent of grapes, peanuts and certain other plants, can fight the proliferation of fat cells and improve the uptake of sugar from the blood, a pair of new studies show. Their findings suggest mechanisms to explain why grape products, including wine, have developed a reputation as heart healthy, obesity-fighting and beneficial for people developing diabetes.

    The...

    06/23/2010 - 22:21 Biomedicine, Nutrition, Humans & Society
  • Feature

    Nurturing Our Microbes

    Each of us is a metropolis. Bustling about in everyone's body are tens of trillions of microbes. Some are descended from starter populations provided by mom during birth. Additional bacteria, yeasts, and other life forms hitchhike in with foods. By age 3, everyone's gut hosts a fairly stable, yet diverse, ecosystem.

    Most of the tiny stowaways hide out in the...

    02/26/2008 - 12:45 Biomedicine
  • Food for Thought

    It's Spud Time

    As 2007 winds down, thoughts naturally turn towards what might lie ahead. Meals rich in high-carb tubers, perhaps? That's what the United Nations would like everyone to contemplate throughout 2008, which it is designating the International Year of the Potato.

    Farmers now harvest more than 300 million tons of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) worldwide. That makes it the fourth biggest food...

    12/18/2007 - 18:43 Nutrition
  • Food for Thought

    No Peanuts for Your Peanut

    Peanuts are a protein-rich snack food packing plenty of vitamins and trace nutrients. However, these legumes can elicit potentially life-threatening immune reactions within the one in 100 American adults who are allergic to them. Rates of peanut allergy are even higher among children. And the really disturbing news: A new study finds that the age at which this common food allergy first shows...

    12/11/2007 - 08:49 Nutrition
  • Feature

    Lettuce Liability

    Little more than a year ago, supermarkets from coast to coast stripped fresh spinach from produce aisles as a food-poisoning outbreak swept the nation. From mid-August through September 2006, virulent bacterial infections sickened at least 204 spinach consumers. Five died and 30 others suffered acute kidney failure.

    Among more than 3,500 genetically unique...

    12/03/2007 - 19:41 Agriculture
  • Feature

    Taken for a Spin

    To illustrate the amazing properties of spider silk, Nikola Kojic offers an arresting example. Imagine a circular web with a diameter of 100 meters—about the length of a football field—spun from a silk thread about a centimeter thick. Concentric circles 4 cm apart attach to the web's spokes, also 4 cm apart. This larger-than-life web "could stop a jumbo jet in midflight," says Kojic.

    ...

    04/10/2007 - 10:34 Materials
  • News

    Too Few Jaws: Shark declines let rays overgraze scallops

    A shortage of big sharks along the U.S. East Coast is letting their prey flourish, and that prey is going hog wild, demolishing bay scallop populations.

    That's the conclusion of researchers led by the late Ransom Myers of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, who died this week. Combining census surveys from the past 35 years, Myers' team found shrinking...

    03/28/2007 - 11:47 Animals
  • News

    Mafia Cowbirds: Do they muscle birds that don't play ball?

    Cowbirds in Illinois that sneak their eggs into other birds' nests retaliate violently if their scam gets foiled, researchers say.

    The brown-headed cowbirds of North America outsource nest building and chick raising. Female cowbirds dart into other birds' nests, quickly lay eggs, and rush away. The nest owners are left to care for big, demanding cowbird chicks.

    ...
    03/07/2007 - 11:56 Animals
  • Food for Thought

    Birds Don't Have to Be So Hot

    Last week, Iowa State University issued a news release about how long it takes to cook a turkey if you place it into the oven frozen. The answer: 5.5 hours for a 13- to 15-pound bird cooked in a 325°F oven.

    However, what really caught my attention was something a little lower in the release—that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had issued a statement earlier this year...

    11/20/2006 - 14:15 Nutrition