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Interesting facts about Microorganisms

March - 2021

New study shows microplastics turn into 'hubs' for pathogens, antibiotic-resistant bacteria

        It's estimated that an average-sized wastewater treatment plant serving roughly 400,000 residents will discharge up to 2,000,000 microplastic particles into the environment each day. Yet, researchers are still learning the environmental and human health impact of these ultra-fine plastic particles, less than 5 millimeters in length, found in everything from cosmetics, toothpaste and clothing microfibers, to our food, air and drinking water.

Source: Phys

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Researchers create more accurate model of how some microbes search for nutrients

       Many bacteria swim towards nutrients by rotating the helix-shaped flagella attached to their bodies. As they move, the cells can either 'run' in a straight line, or 'tumble' by varying the rotational directions of their flagella, causing their paths to randomly change course. Through a process named 'chemotaxis,' bacteria can decrease their rate of tumbling at higher concentrations of nutrients, while maintaining their swimming speeds. In more hospitable environments like the gut, this helps them to seek out nutrients more easily.

Source: Phys

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How an 'antibiotic' helps bacteria eat

        For years, scientists have known that certain bacteria produce molecules that are toxic to other bacteria when there is competition for food and space. Now, Caltech researchers have discovered these so-called antibiotics have another purpose: they help the bacteria acquire essential nutrients when resources are scarce.

Source: Phys

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Roundworms 'read' wavelengths in the environment to avoid dangerous bacteria that secrete colorful toxins

        Roundworms don't have eyes or the light-absorbing molecules required to see. Yet, new research shows they can somehow sense color. The study, published in the journal Science, suggests worms use this ability to assess the risk of feasting on potentially dangerous bacteria that secrete blue toxins. The researchers pinpointed two genes that contribute to this spectral sensitivity and are conserved across many organisms, including humans.

Source: Phys

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February - 2021

Visualizing the process of digestion in the oldest known animal-microbe symbiosis

        Marine biologists have been able to visualize for the first time how tropical sponges and their symbiotic bacteria work together to consume and recycle organic food. The research led by Meggie Hudspith and Jasper de Goeij from the University of Amsterdam, was a collaborative project with colleagues from the Australian Universities of Sydney, Queensland and Western Australia, and the research institute Carmabi on Curaçao, and is now published in the scientific journal Microbiome.

Source: Phys

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A unique prototype of microbial life designed on actual Martian material

        Experimental microbially assisted chemolithotrophy provides an opportunity to trace the putative bioalteration processes of the Martian crust. A study on the Noachian Martian breccia Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, composed of ancient (ca. 4.5 Gyr old) crustal materials from Mars has delivered a unique prototype of microbial life experimentally designed on actual Martian material. As the researchers show in the current issue of Nature Communications Earth and Environment, this life form of a pure Martian design is a rich source of Martian-relevant biosignatures. The study was led by Tetyana Milojevic, the head of the Space Biochemistry group at the University of Vienna.

Source: Phys

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Secret to how cholera adapts to temperature revealed

        Scientists have discovered an essential protein in cholera-causing bacteria that allows them to adapt to changes in temperature, according to a study published today in eLife.

Source: Phys

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Lab 3-D prints microbes to enhance biomaterials

        Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists have developed a new method for 3-D printing living microbes in controlled patterns, expanding the potential for using engineered bacteria to recover rare-earth metals, clean wastewater, detect uranium and more.

Source: Phys

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January - 2021

Microbes fuelled by wind-blown mineral dust melt the Greenland ice sheet

        Scientists have identified a key nutrient source used by algae living on melting ice surfaces linked to rising sea levels.The Greenland ice sheet—the second largest ice body in the world after the Antarctic ice sheet—covers almost 80% of the surface of Greenland. Over the last 25 years, surface melting and water runoff from the ice sheet has increased by about 40%.The international research team, led by the University of Leeds, analysed samples from the southwestern margin on Greenland's 1.7 million km2 ice sheet over two years.They discovered that phosphorus containing minerals may be driving ever-larger algal blooms on the Greenland Ice Sheet. As the algal blooms grow they darken the ice surface, decreasing albedo—the ability to reflect sunlight. The blooms cause increased melting thus contributing to higher sea levels. In particular, a band of low-albedo ice, known as the Dark Zone, has developed along the western margin of the massive ice sheet.

Source: Phys

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Volcanic microbes

        Oak Ridge National Laboratory contributed to an international study that found almost 300 novel types of microbes living near a deep sea volcano. These microbes, which could be used in biotechnology, reveal new insights about their extreme underwater environment.

Source: Phys

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Scientists uncover the genomic differences of marine and freshwater microalgae

        Associate Professor of Biology Kourosh Salehi-Ashtiani and NYUAD Senior Research Scientist David Nelson report in a new study that they have successfully cultured and sequenced 107 microalgae species from 11 different phyla indigenous to varied locations and climates to gain insights on genomic differences in saltwater and freshwater microalgae. The researchers have also discovered that these algae genomes show widespread widespread viral-origin gene content.

Source: Phys

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How 'Iron Man' bacteria could help protect the environment

       As other reviewers and the program manager didn't share this sentiment, NSF funded the proposal. And, now, Reguera's team has shown that microbes are capable of an incredible feat that could help reclaim a valuable natural resource and soak up toxic pollutants.

Source: Phys

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