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Interesting facts about Microorganisms

May - 2022

Under anaerobic conditions, common microbial communities can break the ultra-strong carbon-fluorine bond

        Under anaerobic conditions, a carbon-carbon double bond is crucial for the shattering the ultra-strong carbon-fluorine bond by microbial communities. While breaking the carbon-carbon bond does not completely degrade the molecule, the resulting products could be relayed to other microorganisms for defluorination under in aerobic conditions.

Source: Phys

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Using bacteria to accelerate CO2 capture in oceans

        You may be familiar with direct air capture, or DAC, in which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere in an effort to slow the effects of climate change. Now a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has proposed a scheme for direct ocean capture. Removing CO2 from the oceans will enable them to continue to do their job of absorbing excess CO2 from the atmosphere.

Source: Phys

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Fungi-based meat alternatives could help save Earth's forests

        Market-ready fungi-based meat alternatives are similar to meat in taste and texture. They involve reduced land resources and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and land-use change. This goes under the assumption of a growing world population's increasing appetite for beefy bites, and it is the first time researchers have projected the development of these market-ready meat substitutes into the future, assessing their potential impact on the environment.

Source: Phys

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Soil microbes use different pathways to metabolize carbon

        Much of what scientists think about soil metabolism may be wrong. New evidence from Northern Arizona University suggests that microbes in different soils use different biochemical pathways to process nutrients, respire, and grow. The study, published last month in Plant and Soil, upends long-held assumptions in the field of soil ecology and calls for more investigation and higher-resolution methods to be applied to what has been a black box for the field.

Source: Phys

 

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April - 2022

Microbial response to a changing and fire-prone arctic ecosystem

        Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities have caused Earth's climate to change—and in Arctic regions, air temperatures are warming twice as fast as the global average. Permanently frozen Arctic soils located in tundra ecosystems store approximately twice the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere. This frozen organic matter is thawing, thus increasing microbial decomposition, which releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Arctic climate change can also lead to more droughts, lower air moisture, and more lightning—all factors that can increase the frequency and intensity of wildfires.

Source: Phys

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How bacteria evade bacteriophages in vivo

        Phage therapy, which uses viruses known as bacteriophages to treat bacterial infections, is a long-standing medical procedure whose mechanisms of action are still poorly understood. Scientists from the Institut Pasteur and CNRS have demonstrated in vivo in a murine model that bacteria are capable of regulating their gene expression to evade the numerous bacteriophages present in the gut environment. This research explains the difference in bacteriophage efficacy between in vitro and in vivo conditions. The findings were published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe on April 13, 2022.

Source: Phys

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Ocean water samples yield treasure trove of RNA virus data

        Ocean water samples collected around the world have yielded a treasure trove of new data about RNA viruses, expanding ecological research possibilities and reshaping our understanding of how these small but significant submicroscopic particles evolved. Combining machine-learning analyses with traditional evolutionary trees, an international team of researchers has identified 5,500 new RNA virus species that represent all five known RNA virus phyla and suggest there are at least five new RNA virus phyla needed to capture them.

Source: Phys

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Researchers discover vulnerability of a dangerous hospital pathogen

        Each year, more than 670,000 people in Europe fall ill through pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and 33,000 die of the diseases they cause. In 2017, the WHO named antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest threats to health worldwide. Especially feared are pathogens that are resistant to several antibiotics. Among them, Acinetobacter baumannii stands out; it's a bacterium with an extraordinarily pronounced ability to develop multi-resistance, and as a hospital superbug, dangerous above all for immunosuppressed patients. Acinetobacter baumannii is highly resilient because it can remain infectious for a long time even in a dry environment and thus endure on the keyboards of medical devices or on ward telephones and lamps. This property also helps the microbe to survive on dry human skin or in body fluids such as blood and urine, which contain relatively high concentrations of salts and other solutes.

Source: Phys

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March - 2022

Scientists propose a new mechanism by which oxygen may have first built up in the atmosphere

        For the first 2 billion years of Earth's history, there was barely any oxygen in the air. While some microbes were photosynthesizing by the latter part of this period, oxygen had not yet accumulated at levels that would impact the global biosphere. But somewhere around 2.3 billion years ago, this stable, low-oxygen equilibrium shifted, and oxygen began building up in the atmosphere, eventually reaching the life-sustaining levels we breathe today. This rapid infusion is known as the Great Oxygenation Event, or GOE. What triggered the event and pulled the planet out of its low-oxygen funk is one of the great mysteries of science.

Source: Phys

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Research reveals how global ecosystems produce greenhouse emissions

        Oakland University biology researchers banded with scientists across the world to understand the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions produced by ecosystems and environmental change. Their findings offer new methods and baseline information to follow changing ecosystems as the earth warms.

Source: Phys

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Researchers discover speargun-​like mo­lecu­lar in­jec­tion sys­tems in two types of bacteria

        Biologists from ETH Zurich have discovered speargun-like molecular injection systems in two types of bacteria and have described their structure for the first time. The special nanomachines are used by the microbes for the interaction between cells and could one day be useful as tools in biomedicine.

Source: Phys

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Harmless or deadly? Examining the evolution of E. coli

        Genetic material from E. coli bacteria in farm animals could be contributing to the evolution of deadly pandemic strains of E. coli in humans, new research shows. E. coli usually live as harmless bacteria in the gastrointestinal tracts of birds and mammals, including humans. They also reside, independent of a host, in environments such as water and soil, and in food products including chicken and turkey meat, raw milk, beef, pork and mixed salad.

Source: Phys

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February - 2022

A fresh view of microbial life in Yellowstone's hot springs

        Yellowstone National Park is home to more than 10,000 hydrothermal features. The park's hot springs, geysers, mud pots, and fumaroles are home to trillions of heat-loving microbes. For photosynthetic biofilms, the rule of thumb is that algae tend to dominate in acidic springs (pH less than 3), whereas cyanobacteria dominate in alkaline environments (pH greater than 6). However, this generalization is rooted in 50-year-old research, and most studies have overlooked the intermediate pH values between the extremes.

Source: Phys

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Researchers find hybrid metabolism in fermented food microbe

        Lactic acid bacteria are essential in creating fermented foods like yogurt, cheese and sauerkraut. Certain strains are also used as probiotics to improve human gut health. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, and Rice University have discovered that lactic acid bacteria use a previously unknown energy metabolism, which radically changes the scientific understanding of how these bacteria may thrive in their natural environments.

Source: Phys

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'Taste' and 'smell' of coral reefs provide insights into a dynamic ecosystem

        Coral reefs are hotspots of biodiversity and are amazingly productive, with a vast number of organisms interacting simultaneously. Hundreds of molecules that are made by important members of the coral reef community were recently discovered by a team of scientists. Together, the compounds—modified amino acids, vitamins and steroids—comprise the "smell" or "taste" of corals and algae in a tropical reef, and will help scientists understand both the food web dynamics and the chemical ecology of these ecosystems.

Source: Phys

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Microbes making tree methane 'farts' in ghost forests are in the soils, study shows

        This escaping methane gas, known colloquially as ghost forest tree "farts," is actually generated by different tiny microorganisms. Researchers wanted to know if different communities of microbes are making methane gas inside the soils or in the dead trees, which are also known as snags. They found that although the methane gas is generated in the soils, the trees act like filtering straws as the gas rises through the wood. Microbes in the wood further chemically alter and consume the gas as it rises.

Source: Phys

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January - 2022

Researchers identify new bacteria and viruses on human skin

        Researchers at EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the NIH National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and colleagues have identified new bacterial and fungal species, as well as viruses in the human skin microbiome.

Source: Phys

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Current marsh pollution has dramatic, negative effects on sea anemone's survival

        Stationary marine organisms that don't ply the ocean, but spend their lives rooted in one spot, have evolved impressive ways to capture prey. The sea anemone Nematostella, for instance, burrows into salt marsh sediments and stays there for life. But it has specialized 'stinging cells' that hurl toxins into passing prey, immobilizing the morsel so the anemone can snatch it with its tentacles.

Source: Phys

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Scientists use Summit supercomputer, deep learning to predict protein functions at genome scale

        A team of scientists led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Georgia Institute of Technology is using supercomputing and revolutionary deep learning tools to predict the structures and roles of thousands of proteins with unknown functions.

Source: Phys

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Genetically engineered E. coli could improve drug development

        Whether you are taking a muscle relaxant or a heart medication, you are possibly using a medication that contains a synthetically produced benzoxazole. Although natural benzoxazoles show more significant promise in pharmaceuticals, their time to develop organically and inherent undesired properties impede their usage.

Source: Phys

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