Microbes

  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. tuberculosis bacteria
    Microbes

    A new way to make bacteria glow could simplify TB screening

    A new dye to stain tuberculosis bacteria in coughed-up mucus and saliva could expedite TB diagnoses and drug-resistance tests.

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  7. body in morgue
    Genetics

    Genes could record forensic clues to time of death

    Scientists have found predictable patterns in the way our genetic machinery winds down after death.

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  8. saiga
    Animals

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

    Higher than normal temperatures turned normally benign bacteria lethal, killing hundreds of thousands of the saiga antelopes.

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  9. E. coli colony
    Microbes

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

    Bacteria use a modified form of cellulose to form sticky networks that can coat various surfaces.

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  10. illustration of biofilm
    Microbes

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

    An antibacterial ointment breaks down the defenses of drug-resistant microbes such as MRSA in lab tests.

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  11. Microbes

    New pill tracks gases through your gut

    Swallowing these pill-sized sensors could give new insight into what’s going on in your gut.

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  12. bacteria illustration
    Microbes

    These disease-fighting bacteria produce echoes detectable by ultrasound

    Ultrasound can help keep tabs on genetically modified bacteria to better fight disease inside the body.

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