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Press release

December - 2016

Bacterium Found 1,000 Feet Underground Showed Resistance to 18 Different Antibiotics

       9. Bacterium Found 1,000 Feet Underground Showed Resistance to 18 Different Antibiotics A new bacterium found 1,000 feet underground in Lechuguilla Cave located at New Mexico has demonstrated resistance to multiple antibiotics, including the so-called "drugs of last resort" such as daptomycin. The bacterium, dubbed as Paenibacillus, showed resistance to 18 different types of antibiotics and appear to use the identical methods of defense as similar species found in soil. Like other microorganisms in the cave, Paenibacillus have been isolated from the outside world for more than four million years. These findings suggest that bacteria have been forced by evolution to conserve resistance genes even before the dawn of antibiotics.

Source: natureworldnews

 

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Predatory bacterium that kills to obtain bioplastic

       Spanish researchers have designed a method that uses a predatory bacterium to extract bioplastic materials from other bacteria. This system, already patented, will make it possible to obtain bioplastics at low cost and at industrial scale in bacterial cell factories.

Source: phys

 

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Prevention of RNA virus replication

       Researchers at Okayama University have successfully cleaved influenza viral RNA to prevent its replication using novel artificial RNA restriction enzymes in laboratory cell cultures. While further improvements are needed, the findings show great promise and could lead to anti-viral drug development in the future.

Source: phys

 

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Researchers develop novel wound-healing technology

       Washington State University researchers have successfully used a mild electric current to take on and beat drug-resistant bacterial infections, a technology that may eventually be used to treat chronic wound infections. Credit: Washington State University.

Source: phys

 

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Bacteria communicate to ramp up collective immune response to viral threats

       A surprising new research by a team led by Associate Prof. Peter Fineran of the Department of Microbiology and Immunologyfrom, University of Otago, New Zealand showed that bacteria can boost their own immune systems collectively against viral threats by communicating with each other.

Source: phys

 

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CRISPR gene-editing tested in a person for the first time

       A Chinese group has become the first to inject a person with cells that contain genes edited using the revolutionary CRISPR–Cas9 technique. On 28 October, a team led by oncologist Lu You at Sichuan University in Chengdu delivered the modified cells into a patient with aggressive lung cancer as part of a clinical trial at the West China Hospital, also in Chengdu.

Source: nature

 

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Legionnaires' strains adapt well

       Legionella pneumophila bacteria responsible for many cases of Legionnaires disease emerged only in recent decades and seem to be adapting to human environments. It is found in aquatic environments worldwide and can contaminate water supplies, causing outbreaks of pneumonia that can be fatal. A team led by Julian Parkhill at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, UK, and Carmen Buchrieser at the Pasteur Institute in Paris sequenced the genomes of 337 L. pneumophila isolates belonging to 5 types that cause almost half of all cases of Legionnaires' disease in northwest Europe. Sequence analysis suggested that the 5 types emerged independently during the past few decades and spread around the world.

Source: nature

 

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Gut bacteria linked to Parkinson's

       Bacteria living in the gut may contribute to movement problems seen in disorders such as Parkinson's disease. Timothy Sampson and Sarkis Mazmanian at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and their team generated mice that lacked their own bacteria and had been genetically engineered so that their brains overproduce α-synuclein, a protein that forms clumps in the brains of people with Parkinson's. They found that these germ-free mice moved more freely and accumulated less α-synuclein in their brains than animals with gut microbes. When the team transplanted microbes from the faeces of people with Parkinson's disease into the guts of the mice, the animals showed more movement dysfunction than those that received bacteria from healthy humans. The authors think that molecules made by gut microbes could activate certain immune cells and boost inflammation in general, which then enhances the clumping of α-synuclein in the brain.

Source: nature

 
 

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Quest to map Africa’s soil microbiome begins

       One thousand ziplocked bags of soil from ten countries will form the basis of the first large-scale survey of the microbial life hidden underground in sub-Saharan Africa. The leaders of the African soil microbiology project hope that the data will one day help to drive better agricultural practices and to protect ecosystems and crops in the face of climate change.

Source: nature

 

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November - 2016

அறிவியல் அறிவோம்: பாலிதீன் பையால் இவ்வளவு பிரச்சினையா?

       உணவகம் ஒன்றில் சாப்பிட்டுவிட்டு, வீட்டுக்கும் சிற்றுண்டியை பார்சல் வாங்கி வந்தேன். அந்தப் பையை நோட்டமிட்டபோது திடீரென்று ஓர் உற்சாகம் உண்டானது. அப்படி என்ன அதில் இருந்தது என்றுதானே கேட்கிறீர்கள்!.

 

Source: tamil thehindu

 

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Source: Dinamalar

 
 

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CRISPR deployed to combat sickle-cell anaemia

       A mutation in a single DNA letter causes a painful and debilitating disease known as sickle-cell anaemia. For more than 65 years many researches have been done to find a cure, and now CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing might provide hope to treat this disease. In a paper published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers reported some success in correcting the mutation in mice, though they concede that human applications are still years away and efficiency of the process is also slightly too low for practical use.

Source: nature

 
 

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Rio fights Zika with biggest release yet of bacteria-infected mosquitoes

       Two South American metropolises are enlisting bacteria-infected mosquitoes to fight Zika, in the world’s biggest test of an unconventional yet promising approach to quell mosquito-borne diseases. Mosquitoes that carry Wolbachia bacteria hinder the insect’s ability to transmit Zika, dengue and other viruses. These will be widely released in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Medellín, Colombia over the next two years, scientists announced on 26 October. The deployments will reach around 2.5 million people in each city. Small numbers of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes have already been released in both Rio de Janeiro and Medellín. But large biomedical funders have announced US$18 million for a massive scale-up of these efforts.

Source: nature

 

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Ebola adapted to better infect humans during 2013-2016 epidemic

       Researchers have identified mutations in Ebola virus that emerged during the 2013-2016 Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa that increased the ability of the virus to infect human cells. This figure depicts the finding that an Ebola glycoprotein mutant that arose early during the West African epidemic increases infectivity of human cells and may have contributed to increased mortality.

Source: sciencedaily

 

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Agar art competition in Nepal

       Budding artists in Nepal have taken part in an agar art competition – the first to have been organised between the Microbiology Society and local host partner organisation, Amazing Microbiology Nepal. The competition saw 51 entries from 12 different institutions across Nepal. Entries were judged on both their creative and microbiological content.

Source: microbiologysociety

 

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October - 2016

Microbe hunters discover long-sought-after iron-munching microbe

       A microbe that ‘eats’ both methane and iron: microbiologists have long suspected its existence, but were not able to find it - until now. Researchers have discovered a microorganism that couples the reduction of iron to methane oxidation, and could thus be relevant in controlling greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

Source: sciencedaily

 

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Understanding bacteria's slimy fortresses

       Princeton researchers have examined how individual cells act collectively to form structures called biofilms that often play a critical role in disease and other processes. Shown above is a simulation of the bacteria Vibrio cholerae forming a biofilm, with each slightly curved, rod-shaped unit indicating individual bacteria. The architecture shows vertically oriented bacteria at the biofilm's center and horizontally oriented bacteria at the bottom, adhered to the surface upon which the mass is growing.

Source: sciencedaily

 

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Research delivers ground-breaking insights into evolution by studying transcription termination in archaea

       Strong, recently discovered findings indicate that Eukarya could have developed out of the domain of Archaea. Researchers from the Institute of General Microbiology at Kiel University (CAU) now have been able to show that Archaea read /transcribe their genetic information to synthesize proteins in a very similar way to Eukarya. This supports the theory of the origin of Eukarya in the domain of Archaea. The new research results, from the team led by Professor Ruth Schmitz-Streit from Kiel University, together with Professor Rotem Sorek from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, have just been published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

Source: phys

 

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Algae discovery offers potential for sustainable biofuels

       Fluorescence micrograph of vip1-1 cells from the alga Chlamydomonas filled with oil droplets that are colored bright green. Credit: Inmaculada Couso, Ph.D., and James Umen, Ph.D., Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. James Umen, Ph.D., associate member at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and colleagues have discovered a way to make algae better oil producers without sacrificing growth. The findings were published September 6, in a paper titled, "Synergism between inositol polyphosphates and TOR kinase signaling in nutrient sensing, growth control and lipid metabolism in Chlamydomonas," in The Plant Cell. Umen and his team including lead author Inmaculada Couso, Ph.D., and collaborators Bradley Evans Ph.D., director, Proteomics & Mass Spectrometry and Doug Allen, Ph.D., USDA Research Scientist at the Danforth Center identified a mutation in the green alga Chlamydomonas which substantially removes a constraint that is widely observed in micro-algae where the highest yields of oil can only be obtained from starving cultures.

Source: phys

 

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September - 2016

New discovery may benefit farmers worldwide

       Plant scientists have shown for the first time how an ancient crop teams up with a beneficial microbe to protect against a devastating fungal infection, a discovery that may benefit millions of subsistence farmers and livestock in developing countries.

Source: sciencedaily

 

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Swarms of magnetic bacteria could be used to deliver drugs to tumors

       One of the biggest challenges in cancer therapy is being able to sufficiently deliver chemotherapy drugs to tumors without exposing healthy tissues to their toxic effects. Magnetic bacteria are a promising vehicle for more efficiently delivering tumor-fighting drugs, researchers have demonstrated.

Source: sciencedaily

 

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Gonorrhea antibiotics rendered ineffective by STI's 'high levels of resistance', WHO warns

       The sexually transmitted disease could become untreatable with 'serious sexual and reproductive health consequences', World Health Organisation says.

Source: independent

 

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Researchers to study how microbes become 'fungi in ant's clothing'

       A dead ant killed by a microbial parasite known as the "zombie ant" fungus clings to the underside of a twig, where the fungal fruiting body growing from the ant's head will shoot spores to infect more ants below.

Source: newspsu

 

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August - 2016

Three strains of fungi to help recycle rechargeable batteries

       Scientists have found a low-cost and environment-friendly method to recycle used rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, with the help of fungi. Old batteries often wind up in landfills or incinerators, potentially harming the environment. And valuable materials remain locked inside.

Source: Then Hindu, August 23, 2016

 
 

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Deadly Bacteria Spread across Oceans as Water Temperatures Rise

       Deadly bacteria spread across oceans as water temperatures rise. Cholera bacteria and others arise in more places and in greater abundance which are increasing infection risks, according to a new study.

Source: scientificamerican

 

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Scientists Discover a Vulnerability in HIV's Protective Shell

       Scientists Discover Vulnerability in HIV's Protective Shell. HIV is a retrovirus consisting of RNA as its genetic material and a protective protein coating called a capsid. During infection one process is producing DNA from RNA and integrating it into cells genome to take over the cell. The virus protective capsid consists of tiny pores which function similar to that of the iris in an eye allowing virus to take in nucleotides discretely without triggering the cells immune response. The compound hexacarboxybenzene competes for the same binding sites within the virus that the nucleotides do thereby interrupting the infection process.

Source: motherboard

 

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Newly Discovered Bacteria Could Worsen Climate Change

       The newly discovered bacteria belong to a highly prolific bacteria group known as SAR11 are found in the world's largest oxygen minimum zone (OMZ). OMZs are region in the ocean with no detectable O2. According to a paper published in the journal Nature, SAR11 living in regions without oxygen respire nitrate (NO3), instead of O2 and in the process the nitrogen is bubble out of the ocean, giving hard time to algae and other organisms to grow and eventually die. Algae are known to absorb carbon dioxide. If algae are to disappear, it can leave more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The potential of SAR11 to denitrify the water poses a potential threat in tipping the global balance of nitrogen, greenhouse gases and nutrients.

Source: natureworldnews

 

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Researchers design and partially assemble a synthetic Escherichia coli genome

       In this new effort, the researchers took a step into the future by eliminating redundant codons—triplets that represent four-letter DNA alphabet clusters—from the DNA of an E. coli bacterium, opening the door to the possibility of inserting new coding that would allow for the creation of new types of amino acids. To achieve this feat, they used machines to synthesize stretches of the genome (in its recoded form) and then inserted the chunks they had created into the genome of a living E. coli bacterium. The team managed to eliminate seven of the bacterium's 64 natural codons in the chunks they inserted and were able to test approximately 63 percent of them. They report that doing so resulted in very few interruptions to natural functions, which suggests the technique may prove a viable means for creating an entirely new genome for a given creature. Perhaps more impressive is the possibility of creating new types of codons to replace the redundancies that were removed, which could, for example, endow bacteria or other creatures with new capabilities, such as producing amino acids that could fight off new types of viruses.

Source: Phys

 

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Patented bioelectrodes have electrifying taste for waste

       New research at Michigan State University and published in the current issue of Nature Communications shows how Geobacter bacteria grow as films on electrodes and generate electricity - a process that's ready to be scaled up to industrial levels.

Source: Phys

 

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First chlamydia vaccine could be a jab in the nose

       A study in mice has found a promising candidate to prevent infection by the common but dangerous sexually transmitted disease.

 

Source: Phys

 

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Here's why the epidemic strain of C. difficile is so deadly—and a way to stop it

       A new, epidemic strain of C. difficile is proving alarmingly deadly, and new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine not only explains why but also suggests a way to stop it.

 

Source: Phys

 

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July - 2016

Researchers find molecular switch that triggers bacterial pathogenicity

       Scientists have revealed for the first time the molecular steps that turn on bacteria's pathogenic genes. Using an array of high-powered X-ray imaging techniques, the researchers at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) showed that histone-like proteins that bind to DNA are related to the physical twisting of the genetic strand, and that the supercoiling of the chromosome can trigger the expression of genes that make a microbe invasive.

Source: Phys

 

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Researchers 'solve' key Zika virus protein structure

       Researchers have revealed the molecular structure of a protein produced by the Zika virus that is thought to be involved in the virus's reproduction and its interaction with a host's immune system.

 

Source: Phys

 

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'Tree of life' for 2.3 million species released

       A first draft of the "tree of life" for the roughly 2.3 million named species of animals, plants, fungi and microbes—from platypuses to puffballs—has been released.

 

Source: Phys

 

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Bugs' flair for foraging inspires quest for new smart therapies

       Fresh insight into how ocean bacteria search for food could aid the development of a new generation of bacterial therapies programmed to treat disease.

 

Source: Phys

 

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Pathogenic bacteria hitchhiking on tiny plastic particles to North and Baltic Seas?

       With increasing water temperatures comes an increasing likelihood of potentially pathogenic bacteria appearing in the North and Baltic Seas. Scientists have now demonstrated that a group of such bacteria known as vibrios can survive on microplastic particles.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Progress towards protection from highly lethal Ebola, Marburg viruses

       Ebola and Marburg filovirus disease outbreaks have typically occurred as isolated events, confined to central Africa. However, the recent Ebola epidemic spread to several African countries, and caused 11,000 deaths. That epidemic underscored the need to develop vaccines and therapeutics that could be used to fight future disease outbreaks. Now new research suggests that antibodies to filoviruses from individuals who have survived these diseases may offer protection -- not only against the particular filovirus that infected an individual, but against other filoviruses, as well.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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A 'smart dress' for oil-degrading bacteria

       The modified polyelectrolyte-magnetite nanocoating was applied to functionalize the cell walls of oil decomposing bacteria Alcanivorax borkumensis.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Synthetic biology used to limit bacterial growth and coordinate drug release

       Researchers have engineered a clinically relevant bacterium to produce cancer drugs and then self-destruct and release the drugs at the site of tumors. The approach enables continual production and release of drugs at disease sites in mice while simultaneously limiting the size, over time, of the populations of bacteria engineered to produce the drugs. The strategy represents the use of synthetic biology in therapeutics.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Juicy news about cranberries: Blocking bacterial infections

       Illuminating traditional wisdom with chemistry and biophysics, a research team has characterized the role of compounds in cranberry juice that block the critical first step in bacterial infections, the ability of bacteria to adhere to surfaces and form biofilms. The results open a potential new area of focus for antibiotic drug development, particularly drugs to respond to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Fighting life-threatening bacteria without antibiotics

       Patients suffering from liver cirrhosis often die of life-threatening bacterial infections. In these patients the immune cells are unable to eliminate the bacterial infections. Scientist have now discovered that type I IFN released by immune cells due to increased migration of gut bacteria into the cirrhotic liver incapacitate the immune system. Based on their findings, such infections can be contained by strengthening the immune response -- without antibiotics.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Oceanographers grow, sequence genome of ocean microbe important to climate change

       New light has been shed on a common but poorly understood bacteria known to live in low-oxygen areas in the ocean. By culturing and sequencing the microbe's entire genome, the oceanographers found that it significantly contributes to the removal of life-supporting nitrogen from the water in new and surprising ways.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Genes found in H. pylori that influence biofilm formation

       Most bacteria cannot survive in the acidic environment of the human stomach, but Helicobacter pylori, a major cause of ulcers, thrives under such circumstances. Now research has shown that one of that bacterium's regulatory proteins that helps it adapt to these stressful conditions also regulates the formation of biofilms. Biofilms, a group of bacteria that adhere together on a surface, are often much harder to kill than bacteria in their normal, disaggregated state, and can cause major medical problems.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Malaria: A genetically attenuated parasite induces an immune response

       With nearly 3.2 billion people currently at risk of contracting malaria, scientists have experimentally developed a live, genetically attenuated vaccine for Plasmodium, the parasite responsible for the disease. By identifying and deleting one of the parasite's genes, the scientists enabled it to induce an effective, long-lasting immune response in a mouse model. These findings were published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine on July 18, 2016.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Gas sensors 'see' through soil to analyze microbial interactions

       Researchers use programmed bacteria as gas sensors that help them 'see' into soil to learn about the behavior of the microbial communities within.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Rare fungus product reduces resistance to antibiotics

       Microorganisms, among them fungi, are a natural and rich source of antibiotic compounds. Scientists have succeeded for the first time in extracting the rare compound cPM from a filamentous fungus, applying a special method. Using this substance leads to increased susceptibility of a resistant pathogen against standard antibiotics.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Deadly bacteria share weapons to outsmart antibiotics

       Researchers have identified a bacterial mechanism that stabilizes certain MBLs in cell membranes and enables their spread into the environment.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Progress towards protection from highly lethal Ebola, Marburg viruses

       Ebola and Marburg filovirus disease outbreaks have typically occurred as isolated events, confined to central Africa. However, the recent Ebola epidemic spread to several African countries, and caused 11,000 deaths. That epidemic underscored the need to develop vaccines and therapeutics that could be used to fight future disease outbreaks. Now new research suggests that antibodies to filoviruses from individuals who have survived these diseases may offer protection -- not only against the particular filovirus that infected an individual, but against other filoviruses, as well.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Ecological context of mosquito-borne infectious disease

       The resurgence of Zika virus has raised anxieties about the spread of infectious disease by mosquitoes; climate change and species invasions are strong themes on the minds of infectious disease experts.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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How fungi stage a deadly under-water attack on Aedes mosquito larvae

       Insect pathogenic fungi can grow in liquid suspensions and on solid substrates, and their spores can attack and kill mosquitoes in aquatic or terrestrial environments. A new study demonstrates that the fungal attack of aquatic Aedes larvae is a particular rapid and effective way of mosquito control.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Engineering E. coli for biofuel, bioproduct production

       Researchers developed an alternative fatty acid synthase (FAS) system in which enzymes from other organisms work with the native FAS in E. coli to improve the microbe’s capacity for chemical production..

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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June - 2016

Microbes, nitrogen and plant responses to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide

       Plants can grow faster as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase, but only if they have enough nitrogen or partner with fungi that help them get it, according to new research.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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A quick and easy new method to detect Wolbachia bacteria in intact Aedes mosquitoes

       Aedes aegypti mosquitoes transmit dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses. A study reports a new technique that could make one approach to mosquito control -- using Wolbachia bacteria that reduce the mosquitoes' ability to transmit viral pathogens -- a whole lot easier and cheaper to implement and evaluate.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Researchers develop effective strategy for disrupting bacterial biofilms

       A new discovery provides strong evidence that an innovative therapeutic approach may be effective in the resolution of bacterial biofilm diseases.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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This week in Zika: vaccine progress, infection insights

       A vaccine that’s safe and ready for use in humans could take years — potentially after the Zika epidemic has subsided.

Source: Sciencenews

 

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New preclinical study indicates vaccine to prevent Zika infection in humans is feasible

       The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and collaborators at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School have completed a promising preclinical study of two Zika vaccine candidates that suggests that an effective human vaccine will be achievable. Findings from the study were published today in the journal Nature.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Vaccine protection against Zika virus achieved

       The rapid development of a safe and effective vaccine to prevent the Zika virus (ZIKV) is a global priority, as infection in pregnant women has been shown to lead to fetal microcephaly and other major birth defects. The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus epidemic a global public health emergency on February 1, 2016.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Memory loss caused by West Nile virus explained

       Thousands of West Nile virus survivors live with neurological problems such as memory loss that last for years. New research shows that these long-term problems may be due to the patient's own immune system destroying parts of their neurons, which suggests that intervening in the immune response may help prevent brain damage or help patients recover.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Impact of antibiotic treatment on infant gut microbiome revealed

       A comprehensive analysis of changes in the intestinal microbial population during the first three years of life has revealed some of the impacts of factors such as mode of birth -- vaginal versus cesarean section -- and antibiotic exposure, including the effects of multiple antibiotic treatments.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Predicting disease outbreaks using environmental changes

       A model that predicts outbreaks of zoonotic diseases -- those originating in livestock or wildlife such as Ebola and Zika -- based on changes in climate, population growth and land use has been developed by a team of researchers.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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May - 2016

Teamwork enables bacterial survival

       Researchers have found that two strains of E. coli bacteria, each resistant to one antibiotic, can protect each other in an environment where both drugs are present.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Iron fertilization won't work in equatorial Pacific, study suggests

       Over the past half-million years, the equatorial Pacific Ocean has seen five spikes in the amount of iron-laden dust blown in from the continents. In theory, those bursts should have turbo-charged the growth of the ocean's carbon-capturing algae -- algae need iron to grow -- but a new study shows that the excess iron had little to no effect.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Polluted dust can impact ocean life thousands of miles away

       As climatologists closely monitor the impact of human activity on the world's oceans, researchers have found yet another worrying trend impacting the health of the Pacific Ocean.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Farms a major source of air pollution, study finds

       Emissions from farms outweigh all other human sources of fine-particulate air pollution in much of the United States, Europe, Russia and China, according to new research. The culprit: fumes from nitrogen-rich fertilizers and animal waste combine in the air with combustion emissions to form solid particles, which constitute a major source of disease and death, according to the new study.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Zika shown to penetrate the placenta, strengthening its link to birth defects

       The global emergency triggered with the rapid spread of Zika has caused countries around the world to join forces in order to improve the knowledge of the virus and its processes. Two studies recently published in Cell showed, in experiments conducted on female mice, how Zika is able to cross the placenta, infect the fetus and cause microcephaly—insufficient development of the skull—in their offspring.

Source: scientificamerican

 

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Team discovers new HIV vaccine target

       A team of scientists has reported a research trifecta. They discovered a new vulnerable site on HIV for a vaccine to target, a broadly neutralizing antibody that binds to that target site, and how the antibody stops the virus from infecting a cell.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Deep-water seaweed evolved into a multi-cellular plant more than 540 million years ago

       The discovery of a deep-water seaweed that evolved into a multi-cellular plant more than 540 million years ago has added a new branch to the tree of life, according to biologists.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Hijacked cell division helped fuel rise of fungi

       The more than 90,000 known species of fungi may owe their abilities to spread and even cause disease to an ancient virus that hijacked their cell division machinery, researchers report. Over a billion years ago, a viral protein invaded the fungal genome, generating a family of proteins that now play key roles in fungal growth. The research could point to new antifungals that inhibit cell division in fungi but not in their plant or animal hosts.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Agricultural ammonia emissions disrupt Earth's delicate nitrogen balance

      New research indicates that nitrogen cycle disturbance from emissions of agriculture-related ammonia now exceeds the effects of fossil fuel combustion emissions.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Leftover warm water in Pacific Ocean fueled massive El Niño

       A new study provides insight into how the current El Niño, one of the strongest on record, formed in the Pacific Ocean.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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How did birds get their wings? Bacteria may provide a clue, say scientists

       New research has used bacteria to show that acquiring duplicate copies of genes can provide a 'template' allowing organisms to evolve novel traits from redundant copies of existing genes.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Zika virus may cause microcephaly by hijacking human immune molecule

       For the first time, researchers have determined one way Zika virus infection can damage developing brain cells. The study also shows that inhibiting this mechanism reduces brain cell damage, hinting at a new therapeutic approach to mitigating the effects of prenatal Zika virus infection.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Quick test for Zika effectively detects virus in monkeys

       Scientists have developed a low-cost, rapid paper-based diagnostic system for strain-specific detection of the Zika virus, with the goal that it could soon be used in the field to screen blood, urine, or saliva samples.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Scientists watch bacterial sensor respond to light in real time

       Researchers have made a giant leap forward in taking snapshots of ultrafast reactions in a bacterial light sensor. Using the world's most powerful X-ray laser, they were able to see atomic motions as fast as 100 quadrillionths of a second -- 1,000 times faster than ever before.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Tsunami risk: World's shallowest slow-motion earthquakes detected offshore of New Zealand

       New research indicates that slow-motion earthquakes or 'slow-slip events' can rupture the shallow portion of a fault that also moves in large, tsunami-generating earthquakes. The finding has important implications for assessing tsunami hazards. The discovery was made by conducting the first-ever detailed investigation of centimeter-level seafloor movement at an offshore subduction zone.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Six new fossil species form 'snapshot' of primates stressed by ancient climate change

       Researchers have unearthed a "mother lode" of a half-dozen fossil primate species in southern China.These primates eked out an existence just after the Eocene-Oligocene transition, when drastic cooling slashed their populations, rendering discoveries of such fossils especially rare.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Breast milk hormones found to impact bacterial development in infants' guts

       A new study finds that hormones in breast milk may impact the development of healthy bacteria in infants' guts, potentially protecting them from intestinal inflammation, obesity and other diseases later in life.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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April - 2016

The gut microbiomes of infants have an impact on autoimmunity

       By looking at the gut microbiomes of infants from three different countries, the team uncovered evidence that not only supports the hygiene hypothesis, but also points to interactions among bacterial species that may account, at least in part, for the spike in immune disorders seen in western societies.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Deep-sea biodiversity impacted by climate change's triple threat

       A new study found that vulnerability of deep-sea biodiversity to climate change's triple threat -- rising water temperatures, and decreased oxygen, and pH levels -- is not uniform across the world's oceans.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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93 percent of advanced leukemia patients in remission after immunotherapy

       Twenty-seven of 29 patients with an advanced type of leukemia that had proved resistant to multiple other forms of therapy went into remission after their T cells (disease-fighting immune cells) were genetically engineered to fight their cancers. This study is the first CAR T-cell trial to infuse patients with an even mixture of two types of T cells (helper and killer cells, which work together to kill cancer).

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Model predicts how forests will respond to climate change

       Using a new model, researchers predict that many forests across the US are ill-suited to withstand drought conditions likely to face the country in the coming century. Furthermore, in the Pacific Northwest, and across much of the US southern border, conditions may well require the development of new forest types not currently seen in the US.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Carbon dioxide fertilization greening Earth, study finds

       From a quarter to half of Earth's vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Gut feeling: Research examines link between stomach bacteria, PTSD

       Could bacteria in your gut be used to cure or prevent neurological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety or even depression? Two researchers think that's a strong possibility.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Ancient marine sediments provide clues to future climate change

       Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration was the major driver behind the global climatic shifts that occurred between 53 and 34 million years ago, according to new research.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Sophisticated 'mini-brains' add to evidence of Zika's toll on fetal cortex

       Studying a new type of pinhead-size, lab-grown brain made with technology first suggested by three high school students, researchers have confirmed a key way in which Zika virus causes microcephaly and other damage in fetal brains: by infecting specialized stem cells that build its outer layer, the cortex.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Immune response to flu causes death in older people, not the virus, study suggests

       Death from influenza virus in older people may be primarily caused by a damaging immune response to flu and not by the virus itself, new research suggests. The insight could lead to novel strategies for combating flu in the most vulnerable patients, said the researchers.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Farming amoebae carry around detoxifying food

       The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum can farm symbiotic bacteria for food by carrying them from generation to generation. New research shows that these bacteria can also protect the amoeba from environmental toxins.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Do gut microbes shape our evolution?

       Our gut microbes are key to our health, but they may also shape our evolution, according to a new hypothesis. Expanding on the concept of the hologenome -- the host genome together with the genomes of its microbiota -- he argues that the host's microbiota participate in the host's evolution and at times may save a host faced with sudden environmental change by employing rarely used genes to help it adapt and survive.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Giant plankton gains long-due attention

       A team of marine biologists and oceanographers have revealed the importance in all the world's oceans of a group of large planktonic organisms called Rhizaria, which had previously been completely underestimated. According to their findings, these organisms make up 33% of the total abundance of large zooplankton in the world's oceans, and account for 5% of the overall marine biomass. The study was carried out on samples collected during eleven oceanographic campaigns (2008-2013) covering the world's main oceanic regions, and included the Tara Oceans expedition.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Cracking the Zika mystery

       An important breakthrough in understanding the Zika virus structure and its behavior has been highlighted in a new study. The findings reveal the Zika virus structure and identify potential sites on the virus to target with therapeutics. This knowledge will help worldwide efforts to fight the poorly understood virus, which is a currently a public health and research priority.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Transfer of gut bacteria affects brain function, nerve fiber insulation

       Specific combinations of gut bacteria produce substances that affect myelin content and cause social avoidance behaviors in mice, report scientists.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Ocean currents push phytoplankton, and pollution, around the globe faster than thought

       Ocean currents can carry objects to almost any place on the globe in less than a decade, faster than previously thought. While good for microorganisms such as phytoplankton that are essential to the marine food web, it also means that plastic debris, radioactive particles and virtually any kind of litter can quickly become a problem in areas far from where they originated.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Cities have individual microbial signatures

       Cities have their own distinct microbial communities but these communities don't vary much between offices located in the same city, according to a new study. The work offers insight into what drives the composition of microbes in built environments.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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The genetic evolution of Zika virus

       An analysis comparing the individual differences between over 40 strains of Zika virus has identified significant changes in both amino acid and nucleotide sequences during the past half-century. The data support a strong divergence between the Asian and African lineages as well as human and mosquito isolates of the virus, and will likely be helpful as researchers flush out how a relatively unknown pathogen led to the current outbreak.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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New scientific evidence of sexual transmission of the Zika virus

       The ZIKA virus can be transmitted sexually, a new study has confirmed. The ZIKA virus, a member of the Flavivirus family, is almost exclusively transmitted to humans by Aedes mosquitoes. Although Zika infection usually causes mild symptoms, it can be responsible for severe neurological complications, particularly in the infant of a woman infected while pregnant.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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In these microbes, iron works like oxygen

       New light has been shed on a curious group of bacteria that use iron in much the same way that animals use oxygen: to soak up electrons during biochemical reactions. When organisms -- whether bacteria or animal -- oxidize carbohydrates, electrons must go somewhere.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Mothers' milk and the infant gut microbiota: An ancient symbiosis

       Mothers' milk guides the development of neonates' gut microbiota, nourishing a very specific bacterial population that protects the child. Now a team of researchers has identified the compound in the milk that supplies this nourishment, and has shown that it can be obtained from cow's milk, which could result in using cow's milk as a prebiotic for infants.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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El Niño’s warm water devastates coral reefs in Pacific ocean

       Researchers visited Christmas Island, the world's largest coral atoll, to measure the effects of El Nino. Eighty percent of the coral is dead, they report. Corals are communities of animals that have tiny photosynthetic algae living inside them in a mutually beneficial relationship. Corals are very temperature-sensitive. A rise of just 1-1.5 degrees Celsius can stress coral enough to evict the algae until the heat stress subsides.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Plants force fungal partners to behave fairly

       Plants react intelligently to their environment: if they can choose between more cooperative and less cooperative fungal partners, they supply the latter with fewer nutrients and thus force them to cooperate more. Based on these findings, scientists believe that plants could also be used to test market and behavioral theories.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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New hope for malaria treatment as drug resistance found unable to spread for the first time

       Resistance to a key anti-malarial drug cannot be passed on by mosquitoes in a breakthrough scientists believe could drastically improve the way we battle the disease.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Worm infection counters inflammatory bowel disease by drastically changing gut microbiome

       Infection with worms counters inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) by triggering immune responses that change the mix of bacteria, or microbiome, in the gut.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Researchers uncover earliest events following HIV infection, before virus is detectable

       New research in monkeys exposed to SIV, the animal equivalent of HIV, reveals what happens in the very earliest stages of infection, before virus is even detectable in the blood, which is a critical but difficult period to study in humans. The findings have important implications for vaccine development and other strategies to prevent infection.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Zika causes microcephaly and other birth defects, CDC concludes

       Scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have concluded, after careful review of existing evidence, that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. In a new report, the CDC authors describe a rigorous weighing of evidence using established scientific criteria.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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How climate change dries up mountain streams

       The western United States relies on mountain snow for its water supply. Water stored as snow in the mountains during winter replenishes groundwater and drives river runoff in spring, filling reservoirs for use later in summer. But how could a warming globe and a changing climate interrupt this process?.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Consensus on consensus: Expertise matters in agreement over human-caused climate change

       A research team confirms that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is caused by humans.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Neanderthals may have been infected by diseases carried out of Africa by humans

       A review of latest genetic evidence suggests infectious diseases are tens of thousands of years older than previously thought, and that they could jump between species of 'hominin.' Researchers says that humans migrating out of Africa would have been 'reservoirs of tropical disease' -- disease that may have sped up Neanderthal extinction.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Wealth of unsuspected new microbes expands tree of life

       Scientists have dramatically expanded the tree of life, which depicts the variety and evolution of life on Earth, to account for thousands of new microscopic life forms discovered over the past 15 years. The expanded view finally gives bacteria and Archaea their due, showing that about two-thirds of all diversity on Earth is bacterial -- half bacteria that cannot be isolated and grown in the lab -- while nearly one-third is Archaeal.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Bacteria use their own pumps to collect magnesium

       The system used by bacteria to transport magnesium is so sensitive that it can detect a pinch of magnesium salt in a swimming pool, a team of researchers has discovered.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Facing Down the World's Deadliest Pathogens in a BSL4 Lab

       Ebola, smallpox, plague—the rogue’s gallery of highly infectious deadly pathogens is frighteningly long and their potential for havoc is great, which is why they can only be studied within the tightly controlled confines of a biosafety level 4 (BSL4) facility. The precautions make work in a BSL4 extremely demanding, slow and physically taxing, which is one reason such research lags behind studies of less-lethal organisms.

Source: Scientificamerican

 

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March - 2016

An up-close view of bacterial 'motors'

       Over millennia, bacteria have evolved a variety of specialized mechanisms to move themselves through their particular environments. In two recent studies researchers used a state-of-the-art imaging technique to capture, for the first time, three-dimensional views of this tiny complicated machinery in bacteria.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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New flu vaccine protects against multiple strains including H1N1

       Researchers have announced the development of a vaccine that protects against multiple strains of both seasonal and pandemic H1N1 influenza in mouse models.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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New findings in humans provide encouraging foundation for upcoming AIDS vaccine clinical trial

       Some people infected with HIV naturally produce antibodies that effectively neutralize many strains of the rapidly mutating virus, and scientists are working to develop a vaccine capable of inducing such "broadly neutralizing" antibodies that can prevent HIV infection.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Efficient methane C-H bond activation achieved for the first time

       Using a new hybrid breed of computational and experimental chemistry, an international team of chemists was able to solve a puzzle that has been dubbed a 'Holy Grail reaction' and devise a method for catalyzing reactions with methane.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Global spread of Zika linked to types of mosquitoes that transmit it

       More cities than previously assumed could soon grapple with the Zika virus if two species of mosquitos are found to be equally effective carriers of the disease, a disease ecologist and his colleagues argue.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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More ancient viruses lurk in our DNA than we thought

       Think your DNA is all human? Think again. And a new discovery suggests it's even less human than scientists previously thought. Nineteen new pieces of non-human DNA -- left by viruses that first infected our ancestors hundreds of thousands of years ago -- have just been found, lurking between our own genes.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Fungus that threatens chocolate forgoes sexual reproduction for cloning

       A fungal disease that poses a serious threat to cacao plants -- the source of chocolate -- reproduces clonally, researchers find. The fungus causes frosty pod rot, a disease that has decimated cacao plantations through much of the Americas. Because it belongs to a group of fungi that produces mushrooms -- the fruit of fungal sex -- many researchers and cacao breeders believed the fungus reproduced sexually.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Fertilizer applied to fields today will pollute water for decades

       Dangerous nitrate levels in drinking water could persist for decades, increasing the risk for blue baby syndrome and other serious health concerns, according to a new study.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Lighting up disease-carrying mosquitoes

       A simple technique for simultaneously detecting RNA from West Nile and chikungunya virus in samples from mosquitoes has been developed by a researcher who is now working to add the ability to screen for Zika virus.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Beyond Alzheimer's: Study reveals how mix of brain ailments drives dementia

       An analysis based on long-term studies of nuns and Japanese American men provides compelling new evidence that dementia often results from a mix of brain pathologies, rather than a single condition.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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China's forest recovery shows hope for mitigating global climate change

       China's sweeping program to restore forests across the country is working. The vast destruction of China's forests, leveled after decades of logging, floods and conversion to farmland, has become a story of recovery, according to the first independent verification.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Ocean acidification takes a toll on California's coastline at nighttime

       A new study, based on the most-extensive set of measurements ever made in tide pools, suggests that ocean acidification will increasingly put many marine organisms at risk by exacerbating normal changes in ocean chemistry that occur overnight. Conducted along California's rocky coastline, the study shows that the most-vulnerable organisms are likely to be those with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Breakthrough: Microbes protect plants with plant hormones

       Researchers have for the first time demonstrated that the production of a plant hormone by a beneficial microbe is protecting a plant from a pathogenic microbe by inducing plant resistance. The application potential within integrated plant protection strategies is significant.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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An implant to prevent Alzheimer's

       In a cutting-edge treatment for Alzheimer's disease, scientists have developed an implantable capsule that can turn the patient's immune system against the disease.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Mom's microbes influence her offspring's immune system, mice study shows

       During gestation, a mother's microbiome shapes the immune system of her offspring, a new study in mice suggests. While it's known that a newborn's gut microbiota can affect its own immune system, the impact of a mother's microbiota on her offspring has largely been unexplored.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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New technique for rapidly killing bacteria using tiny gold disks and light

       A new technique for killing bacteria in seconds using highly porous gold nanodisks and light has been developed by researchers. The method could one day help hospitals treat some common infections without using antibiotics, which could help reduce the risk of spreading antibiotics resistance.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Incredible images reveal bacteria motor parts in unprecedented detail

       Nanoscopic 3-D imaging has revealed how different bacteria have geared their tiny propeller motors for a wide range of swimming abilities.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Warming ocean water undercuts Antarctic ice shelves

       'Upside-down rivers' of warm ocean water threaten the stability of floating ice shelves in Antarctica, according to a new study. The study highlights how parts of Antarctica's ice sheet may be weakening due to contact with warm ocean water.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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New SARS-like virus is poised to infect humans

       A SARS-like virus found in Chinese horseshoe bats may be poised to infect humans without the need for adaptation, overcoming an initial barrier that could potentially set the stage for an outbreak according to a new study.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Bacteria-powered microrobots navigate with help from new algorithm

       Engineers have recently published research on a method for using electric fields to help tiny bio-robots propelled by flagellated bacteria navigate around obstacles in a fluid environment. These microrobots could one day be used for building microscopic devices or even delivering medication at the cellular level.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Bacterial biofilms in hospital water pipes may show pathogenic properties

       The human microbiome, a diverse collection of microorganisms living inside us and on our skin, has attracted considerable attention for its role in a broad range of human health issues. Now, researchers are discovering that the built environment also has a microbiome, which includes a community of potentially-pathogenic bacteria living inside water supply pipes.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Inside the mouth of a hydra: Hydra rips its own skin apart just to open its mouth

       Hydra is a genus of tiny freshwater animals that catch and sting prey using a ring of tentacles. But before a hydra can eat, it has to rip its own skin apart just to open its mouth. Scientists now illustrate the biomechanics of this process for the first time and find that a hydra's cells stretch to split apart in a dramatic deformation.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Slower evolution and climate change drove ichthyosaurs to extinction

       Ichthyosaurs -- shark-like marine reptiles from the time of dinosaurs -- were driven to extinction by intense climate change and their own failure to evolve quickly enough, according to new research by an international team of scientists.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Collective memory discovered in bacteria

       Individual bacterial cells have short memories. But groups of bacteria can develop a collective memory that can increase their tolerance to stress. This has been demonstrated experimentally for the first time.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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How Gut Microbiota Impacts HIV Disease

       HIV is a disease of the gut, a concept that’s easy to lose sight of with all the attention paid to sexual transmission and blood measurements of the virus and the CD4+ T cells it infects and kills. But the bottom line is that about two thirds of all T cells reside in the lymphoid tissue of the gut, where the virus spreads after exposure, even before it shows up in blood.

Source: Scientificamerican

 

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Likely biological link found between Zika virus, microcephaly

       Working with lab-grown human stem cells, a team of researchers suspect they have discovered how the Zika virus probably causes microcephaly in fetuses. The virus selectively infects cells that form the brain's cortex, or outer layer, making them more likely to die and less likely to divide normally and make new brain cells.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Ancient viral invaders in our DNA help fight today's infections

       Roughly eight percent of our DNA comes from viruses that infected our ancestors millions of years ago. New research by geneticists shows that more than an oddity, the viral DNA switches on genes responsible for initiating an immune response. When removed, the innate immune system -- a first-responder to infection by pathogens including viruses -- does not function properly. The study shows that viral DNA functions in our body by helping us fight infections.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Greenland's ice is getting darker, increasing risk of melting

       Greenland's snowy surface has been getting darker over the past two decades, absorbing more heat from the sun and increasing snow melt, a new study of satellite data shows. That trend is likely to continue, with the surface's reflectivity, or albedo, decreasing by as much as 10 percent by the end of the century, the study says.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Novel small-molecule antiviral compound protects monkeys from deadly Ebola virus

       Rhesus monkeys were completely protected from Ebola virus when treated three days after infection with a compound that blocks the virus's ability to replicate. These encouraging preclinical results suggest the compound, known as GS-5734, should be further developed as a potential treatment, according to research findings.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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U.S. Eyes Innovative Approaches to Tamp Down Zika

       The Zika virus is tenacious. In less than a year it has hopscotched to roughly 40 countries around the world, and more than 150 U.S. travelers have picked up the virus elsewhere and became sick at home, according to an exclusive Scientific American state-by-state count.

Source: Scientificamerican

 

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Overfishing increases fluctuations in aquatic ecosystems

       Overfishing reduces fish populations and promotes smaller sizes in fish. The fish also reach sexual maturity earlier than normal. However, the impact of overfishing is not restricted to fish: as the predators at the top of the food web dwindle, the stability of the entire aquatic ecosystem is at risk.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Impact of climate change on food production could cause over 500000 extra deaths in 2050

       Climate change could kill more than 500,000 adults in 2050 worldwide due to changes in diets and bodyweight from reduced crop productivity, according to new estimates. The research is the strongest evidence yet that climate change could have damaging consequences for food production and health worldwide.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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February - 2016

A new way to discover DNA modifications

       DNA is made from four nucleosides, each known by its own letter -- A, G, C, and T. However, since the structure of DNA was deciphered in 1953, scientists have discovered several other variants that are often added to the DNA sequences to replace one of the usual four letters.

Source: Sciencedaily

 

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Why Ebola Survivors Struggle with New Symptoms

       Josephine Karwah stepped out of the Ebola treatment unit and cradled her pregnant belly. She had hobbled into the white tent two weeks earlier, during August of 2014, her knees burning with pain and threatening to buckle every fourth step.

Source: Scientificamerican

 

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Climate-driven reduction in sea-level rise

       The rate of rise of sea level globally has lessened by 20 per cent during the last decade, according to a new study. This is because of 3.2 trillion tons of excess liquid water storage on land in aquifers, lakes and other water bodies. Though glaciers and ice bergs have been steadily melting, the earth has been behaving like a sponge and absorbing the water which should otherwise have flowed back to the oceans from the land, thus closing the hydrological cycle.

Source: The Hindu

 

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Zika Awakens Debate over Legal and Safe Abortion in Latin America

       The first case of Zika virus in Brazil was confirmed in May 2015. Since then the virus, which is mainly transmitted via the bite of Aedes mosquitoes (the same ones that transmit dengue and chikungunya), has spread and is already present in 26 countries in the continent.

Source: Scientificamerican

 

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CDC, Brazil start big study to test zika link to birth defects

       The study has been in the planning stages for several weeks. It will pair researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with Brazilian experts to examine babies already born with microcephaly and their mothers to determine whether Zika or some other infection caused their malady.

Source: Scientificamerican

 

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Redefining part of 300 year-old classification system for grouping members of the animal kingdom

       Fish, flies and bears, oh my! A new research breakthrough gives genetic proof of how differences in (very different) animals develop.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Scientists eliminate core symptom of schizophrenia in mice

       Researchers have successfully disrupted a genetic chain of events in a mouse model of schizophrenia and reversed memory deficits, one of the disorder's most difficult-to-treat symptoms. This discovery -- which builds upon decades of early-stage research -- could lead to more effective therapies for the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia, a psychiatric disorder that affects more than 21 million people worldwide.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Mapping the world for climate sensitivity

       By using satellites, biologists are now able to map which areas are most sensitive to climate variability on a global scale. A new metric, Vegetation Sensitivity Index (VSI), allows a more quantifiable response to climate change challenges and how sensitive different ecosystems are to short-term climate anomalies. Ecologically sensitive regions are the Arctic tundra, parts of the boreal forest belt, the tropical rainforests, alpine regions worldwide, steppe and prairie regions of central Asia and North and South America, forests in South America and eastern areas of Australia.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Zika virus can cross placental barrier, but link with microcephaly remains unclear, new evidence suggests

       Zika virus has been detected in the amniotic fluid of two pregnant women whose fetuses had been diagnosed with microcephaly, according to a study. The report suggests that Zika virus can cross the placental barrier, but does not prove that the virus causes microcephaly, as more research is needed to understand the link.

Source: Sciencedaily

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How climate change may lead to depletion of western US groundwater

       By 2050 climate change will increase the groundwater deficit even more for four economically important aquifers in the western US. The new report is the first to integrate scientists' knowledge about groundwater in the US West with scientific models that show how climate change will affect the region.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Oral bacteria linked to risk of stroke

       In a study of patients entering the hospital for acute stroke, researchers have increased their understanding of an association between certain types of stroke and the presence of the oral bacteria (cnm-positive Streptococcus mutans).

Source: Sciencedaily

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Scientists discover new microbes that thrive deep in the earth

       They live several kilometers under the surface of the earth, need no light or oxygen and can only be seen in a microscope. By sequencing genomes of a newly discovered group of microbes, the Hadesarchaea, an international team of researchers have found out how these microorganisms make a living in the deep subsurface biosphere of our planet.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Effectiveness of a herpesvirus CMV-based vaccine against Ebola

       As the latest in a series of studies, researchers have shown the ability of a vaccine vector based on a common herpesvirus called cytomegalovirus (CMV) expressing Ebola virus glycoprotein (GP), to provide protection against Ebola virus in the experimental rhesus macaque, non-human primate (NHP) model. Demonstration of protection in the NHP model is regarded as a critical step before translation of Ebola virus vaccines into humans and other great apes.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Zika virus discovered in infant brains bolsters link to microcephaly

       Researchers have found Zika virus in the brains of several infants with microcephaly, bolstering suspicions that the virus causes the birth defect. In a paper published yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers report on the case of a Slovenian woman who was living in Brazil when she became pregnant in February 2015 but returned to Slovenia late in the pregnancy. She had had symptoms of Zika in the 13th week of her pregnancy.

Source: Sciencemag

 

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U.N. Agency Proposes Greenhouse Gas Standard for Aircraft

       The draft rule, released by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on February 8, applies to most commercial and business aircraft, including designs already in production. It would require minimal changes to aviation design over the next 12 years, and many environmentalists say that the proposal is inadequate to combat climate change.

Source: Scientificamerican

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Why We Shouldn't Quarantine Travelers Because of Zika

       If GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie were to be believed one way to help tamp down the threat of Zika in the United States would be to quarantine individuals with symptoms of the mosquito-borne illness coming into the country from Brazil. The World Health Organization has already said that such measures would not be a good idea, however. The director-general of the WHO, Margaret Chan, specifically said earlier this month that there is “no public health justification for restrictions on travel or trade to prevent the spread of Zika virus.”

Source: Scientificamerican

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உலகையே அச்சுறுத்தி வரும் ஜிகா வைரசுக்கு தடுப்பு மருந்து இந்தியாவில் கண்டுபிடிப்பு சோதனைக்கு தயாராக இருப்பதாக மருந்து தயாரிப்பு நிறுவனம் அறிவிப்பு

       உலக நாடுகளை அச்சுறுத்தி வரும் ஜிகா வைரசை கட்டுப்படுத்தும் தடுப்பூசி தயாரிப்பில் முன்னேற்றம் ஏற்பட்டு உள்ளதாக இந்திய மருந்து தயாரிப்பு நிறுவனம் ஒன்று அறிவித்து உள்ளது.

Source: Daily Thanthi

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Small ponds produce an outsized share of greenhouse gases

       Tiny ponds play a disproportionately large role in global greenhouse gas emissions from inland waters, according to a new study. Although ponds less than a quarter of an acre in size make up only 8.6% of the surface area of the world's lakes and ponds, they account for 15.1% of carbon dioxide emissions and 40.6% of diffusive methane emissions.

Source: Sciencedaily

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உலகில் முதல்முறையாக ‘ஜிகா’ வைரஸ் தடுப்பு மருந்து இந்தியாவில் கண்டுபிடிப்பு, விஞ்ஞானிகள் சொல்கின்றனர்


உலகில் முதல்முறையாக ’ஜிகா’ வைரசுக்கு தடுப்பு மருந்து இந்தியாவில் கண்டுபிடிக்கப்பட்டு உள்ளது என்று விஞ்ஞானிகள் தெரிவித்து உள்ளனர். ’மேக் இன் இந்தியா’ திட்டத்தின் மிகவும் முக்கியம் வாய்ந்த நடவடிக்கையாக ஐதராபாத் ஆய்வு விஞ்ஞாஜிகள், உலகில் முதல் முறையாக ‘ஜிகா’ வைரசுக்கு தடுப்பு மருந்து கண்டு பிடித்து உள்ளனர். இரண்டு விதமான தடுப்பு மருந்து கண்டுபிடித்து உள்ளதாக குறிப்பிட்டு உள்ளனர்.

SourceDaily Thanthi

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WHO declares Zika a global emergency


SourceThe Times of India

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January - 2016

From GM bugs to DDT: It's an all-out war on mosquito


SourceThe Times of India

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Zika outbreak: Brazil's race to find a vaccine

       Founded right at the start of the 20th Century, the centre is these days equally famous as one of the world's leading producers of biopharmaceuticals and immunobiological products.

Source: bbc

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இந்தியாவில் சிகா வைரஸ் நோய் தாக்கும் ஆபத்து இருப்பதாக உலக சுகாதார துறை எச்சரிக்கை

       பெண்களின் கர்பத்தில் இருக்கும் குழந்தைகளை தாக்கும் கொடிய சிகா வைரஸ் அமெரிக்க நாடுகளில் வெகுவேகமாக பரவி வருவதாக உலக சுகாதார நிறுவனம் எச்சரிக்கை விடுத்துள்ளது. டெங்கு, சிக்கன்குனியா போன்ற கொசுக்களால் பரவும் நோய்களை போலவே சிகா கிருமிகளையும் கொசுக்கள் மூலமே பரவுவதாக உலக சுகாதார நிறுவனம் கூறியுள்ளது.

Source: Dailythanthi

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டெங்கு போலவே ‘ஏடிஸ்’ வகை கொசுக்களால் ஏற்படும் உலகம் முழுவதும் பரவி வரும் ‘ஜிகா’ வைரஸ் தடுப்பூசியே கிடையாது என்பதால் இந்தியாவில் பீதி

       உலகம் முழுவதும் ‘ஜிகா’ வைரஸ் என்ற புதிய கிருமி பரவி வருகிறது. இதுவும் டெங்கு காய்ச்சல் போலவே, ‘ஏடிஸ்’ வகை கொசுக்களால் ஏற்படும். இதற்கு தடுப்பூசி கிடையாது. இதுவரை யாரும் குணமானது இல்லை.

Source: Dailythanthi

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Highly organized structures discovered in microbial communities with new imaging approach

       For the first time, scientists describe distinct bacterial assemblages living in a mixed microbial community (dental plaque), which they discovered using a novel imaging approach newly developed.

Source: Science Daily

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In Gulf Of Mexico, microbes thrive above natural oil seeps

       In the water above natural oil seeps in the Gulf of Mexico, where oil and gas bubbles rise almost a mile to break at the surface, scientists have discovered something unusual: phytoplankton, tiny microbes at the base of the marine food chain, are thriving.

Source: Science Daily

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Global nitrogen footprint mapped for first time

       The first-ever global nitrogen footprint, encompassing 188 countries, has found the United States, China, India and Brazil are responsible for 46 percent of the world's nitrogen emissions. The economic modelling, which grouped the nitrogen footprint into top-ranking bilateral trade relationships, noted a trend for increased nitrogen production and found developed nations largely responsible for emissions abroad for their own consumption.

Source: Science Daily

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Microbial heat islands found in the desert

       Deserts are often thought of as barren places where not much is afoot. But that view is being altered as new research keeps revealing the intricate ecological dynamics of deserts as they change responding to the elements. New research now reveals how microbes can significantly warm the desert surface by darkening it, much in the same way that dark clothes will make you feel warmer in sunlight.

Source: Science Daily

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Global ocean warming has doubled in recent decades, scientists find

       Half of the global ocean heat content increase since 1865 has occurred over the past two decades, researchers have concluded. Changes in ocean heat storage are important because the ocean absorbs more than 90 percent of Earth's excess heat increase that is associated with global warming.

Source: Science Daily

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Gregarious chimps harbor richer gut microbiomes

       Spending time in close contact with others means risking catching germs and getting sick. But being sociable may also help transmit 'good' microbes, finds a new study. Researchers monitored changes in the gut microbiomes and social behavior of chimpanzees over eight years in Tanzania. The number of bacterial species in a chimp's GI tract increased when the chimps were more gregarious. The results help scientists understand the factors that maintain a healthy gut microbiome.

Source: Science Daily

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How blue and green clays kill bacteria

       Since prehistoric times, clays have been used by people for medicinal purposes. Whether by eating it, soaking in a mud bath, or using it to stop bleeding from wounds, clay has long been part of keeping humans healthy. Now scientists have discovered the two key ingredients that give some natural clays the power to kill even antibiotic-resistant microbes.

Source: Science Daily

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Giant icebergs play key role in removing carbon dioxide from atmosphere

       Giant icebergs are responsible for storing up to 20 percent of carbon in the Southern Ocean, a new study has found. The Southern Ocean plays a significant part in the global carbon cycle, and is responsible for approximately 10 per cent of the ocean's total carbon sequestration through a mixture of biologically driven and chemical processes, including phytoplankton growth.

Source: Science Daily

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After Ebola, 2 Other tropical diseases pose new threats

       A little-known bacterial disease may be killing as many people worldwide as measles, scientists said on Monday, while a mosquito-borne virus known as Zika is also raising global alarm.

Source: Scientificamerican

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Microbes Added to Seeds Could Boost Crop Production

       Communities of soil-dwelling bacteria and fungi are crucial to plants. They help plants take up nutrients and minerals from the dirt and can even extend root systems, providing more access to food and water. They also help plants grow, cope with stress, bolster immune responses and ward off pests and diseases.

Source: Scientificamerican

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What's Behind Brazil's Alarming Surge in Babies Born with Small Heads

       The trouble is they are not sure exactly what is causing the phenomenon or how to address it. They do have one strong suspect—a mosquito-borne disease called Zika that usually causes short-term rashes and joint aches, and is plaguing the same areas in Brazil. There is already evidence the virus can cross the placental barrier: Zika has been detected in the amniotic fluid of two pregnant women with microcephalic fetuses in the state of Paraiba. What’s more, viruses from the same genus have the ability to replicate once they reach the central nervous system, providing some indication of how the viruses could potentially cause microcephaly in the first place.

Source: Scientificamerican

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Deep-water ocean circulation, marine biodiversity and climate change

       A direct link has been shown between the greatest increase in Phanerozoic marine biodiversity and the onset of a sudden icehouse. The onset of sudden icehouse conditions during the Mid Ordovician was an abrupt change in climate. Prior to this, Earth was exposed to a prolonged super-greenhouse with sea surface temperatures estimated above 40 degree Celsius, thus, seriously affecting the ability of life to evolve and diversify. The researchers now speculate that the sudden emergence of icehouse conditions brought about fundamental changes in ocean circulation, instigating thermohaline circulation in the oceans.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Bacteria, electrons spin in similar patterns

       Scientists have identified an unexpected shared pattern in the collective movement of bacteria and electrons: As billions of bacteria stream through a microfluidic lattice, they synchronize and swim in patterns similar to those of electrons orbiting around atomic nuclei in a magnetic material.

Source: Sciencedaily

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Black hole affecting galactic climate identified

       Researchers used NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory, launched and deployed in 1999 by Space Shuttle Columbia, to identify a powerful galactic blast produced by a giant black hole about 26 million light years from Earth. The black hole is the nearest supermassive black hole to Earth that is currently undergoing such violent outbursts.

Source: Sciencedaily

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