Tid Bits


Killer paper for next-generation food packaging



Recently scientists have been exploring the use of silver nanoparticles, each 1/50,000 the width of a human hair as germ-fighting coatings for plastics, fabrics and metals.  Paper coated with silver nanoparticles could provide an alternative to common food preservation methods such as radiation, heat treatment, and low temperature storage. The coated paper showed potent antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, two causes of bacterial food poisoning, killing all of the bacteria in just three hours.




Source: www.sciencedaily.com



The Genius of Bacteria



A “smart community”of Paenibacillus vortex bacteria.


IQ scores are used to assess the intelligence of human beings. Now an international team of Tel Aviv University has developed a “Social - IQ score” for bacteria. The international team was first to sequence the genome of pattern-forming bacteria, the Paenibacillus vortex (Vortex). While sequencing the genome, the team developed the first “Bacteria Social - IQ Score” and found that Vortex and two other Paenibacillus strains have the world’s highest Social - IQ scores among all 500 sequenced bacteria. When compared to human IQ Score it is higher and this information can also be directly applied in “green” agriculture or biological control, where bacteria advanced offense strategies and toxic agents can be used to fight harmful bacteria, fungi and even higher organisms.


(Image Credit: Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob.)


Source: www.sciencedaily.com



New type of biological and chemical sensor



Diffraction based Sensor


Researchers introduced a new type of “diffraction - based” sensor made of thin stripes of a gelatinous material called a hydrogel, which expands and contracts depending on the acidity of its environment. The new type biological and chemical sensor has few moving parts and works by precisely determining pH and revealing the identity of substances in liquid environment such as water or blood. The microscopic images at the bottom show how the hydrogel stripes expand with decreasing acidity.


(Image Credit: Brick Nanotechnology Center, Purdue University.)


Source: www.sciencedaily.com



Bacteria can have a ‘Sense of Smell’



Petri dish with bacteria


Bacteria are well - known to be the cause of some of the most repugnant smells on Earth, but now a team of marine microbiologists at Newcastle University have discovered for the first time that bacteria have a molecular “nose” that is able to detect airborne, smell-producing chemicals such as ammonia in the environment. Bacteria respond to this smell by producing a biofilm or slime, the individual bacteria joining together to colonise an area in a bid to push out any potential competitor.


(Image Credit: iStockphoto/Alexander Raths)


Source: www.sciencedaily.com


‘Hot-Bunking’ bacterium recycles iron to boost Ocean metabolism



Iron is a scarce, but essential nutrient in the ocean. The marine bacterium, Crocosphaera watsonii that launches the ocean food web survives by using a remarkable biochemical trick. By day, it uses iron in enzymes for photosynthesis to make carbohydrates; then by night, it appears to reuse the same iron in different enzymes to produce organic nitrogen for proteins.


(Image Credit: Jack Cook, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


Source: www.sciencedaily.com



ENVIS CENTRE Newsletter Vol.9, Issue 1, Jan - Mar 2011
Copyright © 2005 ENVIS Centre ! All rights reserved This site is optimized for 1024 x 768 screen resolution Query Form | Feedback | Privacy