Microbes

  1. Koolau mountain range
    Agriculture

    How plant microbes could feed the world and save endangered species

    Scientists have only scratched the surface of the plant microbiome, but they already believe it might increase crop yield and save species from extinction.

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  2. mosquito
    Health & Medicine

    A newly approved drug could be a boon for treating malaria

    Tafenoquine could help prevent the recurring form of malaria, but the drug may also be dangerous for people who have a certain genetic mutation.

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  3. rat lungworm
    Health & Medicine

    Rat lungworm disease is popping up in the mainland United States

    A disease caused by a parasite endemic to Asia sickened at least 12 people in eight states in the continental United States from 2011 to 2017.

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  4. Chinese red-headed centipede
    Health & Medicine

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

    Doctors report that A. cantonensis was transmitted to two people who ate raw centipedes, but you can get it from other creatures as well.

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  5. amoeba
    Microbes

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

    Social amoebas that farm bacteria for food use proteins to preserve the crop for their offspring.

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  6. Treponema pallidum
    Health & Medicine

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

    Scientists have figured out how to keep a sample of the bacteria Treponema pallidum alive and infectious for over eight months.

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  7. a giant clam
    Animals

    How a squishy clam conquers a rock

    Old boring clam research is upended after 82 years.

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  8. Health & Medicine

    ‘Outbreak’ puts the life cycle of an epidemic on display

    At the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the exhibit “Outbreak” highlights how infectious diseases shape our world.

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  9. African pouch rat
    Animals

    With a little convincing, rats can detect tuberculosis

    TB-sniffing rats prove more accurate in detecting infection, especially in children, than the most commonly used diagnostic tool.

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  10. pile of plastic trash
    Microbes

    This plastic-gobbling enzyme just got an upgrade

    Scientists tweaked a bacterial enzyme and made it more efficient in breaking down plastics found in polyester and plastic bottles.

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  11. packaged meat
    Materials Science

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

    Plastic patches that glow when they touch some types of bacteria could be built into food packaging to reduce the spread of foodborne illness.

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  12. hospital
    Microbes

    This material uses energy from ambient light to kill hospital superbugs

    A quantum dot–powered material could help reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections, including those with drug-resistant bacteria.

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