New Berkeley Lab breakthroughs: engineering chemical-producing microbes; watching enzyme reactions in real time; capturing the first image of ‘electron ice’; revealing how skyrmions really move
The surface of implants, as well as other medical devices, plays a significant role in the adsorption of oral proteins and the colonization by unwanted microorganisms (a process known as biofouling), according to a new study led by the University at Buffalo and the University of Regensburg.
Microbes have played a key role in our food and drinks – from cheese to beer – for millennia but their impact on our nutrition may soon become even more important.
The hydrothermal vent fluids from the Gorda Ridge spreading center in the northeast Pacific Ocean create a biological hub of activity in the deep sea. There, in the dark ocean, a unique food web thrives not on photosynthesis but rather on chemical energy from the venting fluids. Among the creatures having a field day feasting at the Gorda Ridge vents is a diverse assortment of microbial eukaryotes, or protists, that graze on chemosynthetic bacteria and archaea.
Steve Techtmann has won the 2021 Future Insight Prize — awarded to innovative research in health, nutrition and energy — for his food generator concept.
A recent study shows bioreactors effectively remove nitrogen over time
Microbes “breathing in rust” plays an important role in soils
ORNL story tips: Stealthy air leak detection, carbon to chemicals and recycling goes large
The study, led by Ecoss director Bruce Hungate and co-authored by many other NAU researchers, found that these predatory bacteria, which eat other bacteria, play an outsized role in how elements are stored in or released from soil.
Exposure to soil microorganisms, human health closely related
ORNL story tips: Quantum building blocks, high-pressure diamonds, wildfire ecology, quick cooling tooling and printing on the fly
Human health and ecosystems could be affected by microbes including cyanobacteria and algae that hitch rides in clouds and enter soil, lakes, oceans and other environments when it rains, according to a Rutgers co-authored study.
Soil aeration and water infiltration among benefits ants provide
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have developed a new method for 3D printing living microbes in controlled patterns, expanding the potential for using engineered bacteria to recover rare-earth metals, clean wastewater, detect uranium and more.
These news briefs cover topics including gut microbes, tsetse flies in 3D, an energy use framework for heating and cooling, and new gravitational lensing candidates.
Sediments on the ocean floor contain large amounts of methane. Two groups of microbes work together in symbiosis to break down this methane in oxygen-deprived sediments. New research shows that both groups can fix nitrogen to satisfy their need for nutrients from methane. This helps the microbes hedge against changes in their environment.
ORNL story tips: Volcanic microbes, unbreakable bonds and flood mapping
Bacteria are likely triggering greater melting on the Greenland ice sheet, possibly increasing the island’s contribution to sea-level rise, according to Rutgers scientists. That’s because the microbes cause sunlight-absorbing sediment to clump together and accumulate in the meltwater streams, according to a Rutgers-led study – the first of its kind – in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The findings can be incorporated in climate models, leading to more accurate predictions of melting, scientists say.
Antibiotics for cesarean section births are just as effective when they’re given after the umbilical cord is clamped as before clamping – the current practice – and could benefit newborns’ developing microbiomes, according to Rutgers co-authored research. The study, by far the largest of its kind and published in the journal Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, challenges current recommendations for antibiotic use. Administering antibiotics after clamping does not increase the risk of infection at the site of C-section incisions, the study concludes.
Wildfire smoke contains microbes, infectious agents that might cause diseases. In a perspective piece published in Science, researchers at UC Davis Health and the University of Idaho proposed a multidisciplinary approach to study the health impacts of microbes carried by wildfire smokes.
By borrowing nature’s blueprints for photosynthesis, Cornell University bioengineers have found a way to efficiently absorb and store large-scale, low-cost renewable energy from the sun – while sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide to use later as a biofuel.
Two Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers, one a world-leading authority on microorganisms and their impact on soil and human health, and the other an expert on coastal ecosystem restoration, have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
New Brunswick, N.J. (Nov. 23, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Donald W. Schaffner, a food microbiologist who has also studied handwashing for more than 20 years, is available for interviews on the science and benefits of handwashing during the COVID-19 pandemic and overall.…
Scientists have discovered how a common virus in the human gut infects and takes over bacterial cells – a finding that could be used to control the composition of the gut microbiome, which is important for human health. The Rutgers co-authored research, which could aid efforts to engineer beneficial bacteria that produce medicines and fuels and clean up pollutants, is published in the journal Nature.
Berkeley Lab researchers have achieved unprecedented success in modifying a microbe to efficiently produce a compound of interest using a computational model and CRISPR-based gene editing. Their approach could dramatically speed up the research and development phase for new biomanufacturing processes, getting advanced bio-based products, such as sustainable fuels and plastic alternatives, on the shelves faster.
A study recently published in Animal Microbiome outlines important first steps in understanding epidermal microbial communities in beluga whales, as well as their role in beluga health.
Researchers from NUS Engineering have developed a novel conversion approach that marries chemical and biological processes to produce high-value amino acids such as L-DOPA and L-Proline from low-cost, abundant waste material like crustacean shells and sawdust.
Prescribed burning allows team to study soil biochemistry in sagebrush ecosystems
A tick species associated with bats has been reported for the first time in New Jersey and could pose health risks to people, pets and livestock, according to a Rutgers-led study in the Journal of Medical Entomology. This species (Carios kelleyi) is a “soft” tick. Deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease, are an example of “hard” ticks.
Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Ohio State University discovered a new microbial pathway that produces ethylene, providing a potential avenue for biomanufacturing a common component of plastics, adhesives, coolants and other everyday products.
Bacteria that can help defuse highly toxic dioxin in sediments in the Passaic River – a Superfund hazardous waste site – could eventually aid cleanup efforts at other dioxin-contaminated sites around the world, according to Rutgers scientists. Their research, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, needs further work to realize the full potential of the beneficial bottom-dwelling microbes.
Little is known about how ocean microbes affect climate. Now, scientists report that pollution can change molecules released to the atmosphere by ocean microbes. They present their results today at the American Chemical Society Fall 2020 Virtual Meeting & Expo.
Various types of microbes are key ingredients to healthy soil
The Simons Foundation has awarded Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) two grants totaling $2.7 million to study key processes that help fuel the health of our ocean and planet.
ORNL Story Tips: Predicting fire risk, solid state stability check and images in a flash
Can antibiotic-resistant bacteria escape from sewers into waterways and cause a disease outbreak? A new Rutgers study, published in the journal Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, examined the microbe-laden “biofilms” that cling to sewer walls, and even built a simulated sewer to study the germs that survive within.
Berkeley Lab Science Snapshots July 2020
Testing microbial activity in soil columns helps researchers understand how carbon is stored in soils that are periodically waterlogged.
Compounds that plants, fungi, bacteria, and animals produce can sometimes help people as well. In fact, many medicines, molecules used in research, and other useful compounds originated in nature. Learn more about recent discoveries in the fascinating field of natural products research.
New findings share how prescribed fire and no-till management impact soil microbes
Nutrients are responsible for more than just plant growth.
A study conducted by a team of national lab and NASA researchers has found that the environment of the International Space Station (ISS) is affected by the microbial composition of the astronauts themselves.
New Brunswick, N.J. (April 15, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Nicole Fahrenfeld and John Reinfelder are available for interviews on environmental protection issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fahrenfeld can discuss issues including microbial water quality, sewer issues (including what…
The test being used to diagnose the novel coronavirus—and other pandemics like AIDS and SARS—was developed with the help of an enzyme isolated from a microbe found in marine hydrothermal vents as well as freshwater hot springs. Biomedical breakthroughs sometimes…
Rutgers student Julia Van Etten, whose @Couch_Microscopy Instagram page garnered more than 25,000 followers by showcasing microorganisms as art, is now working with NASA on research into how red algae can help explain the origins of life on Earth.
But different microbes have distinct roles to play, and environmental factors influence activity.
Microbes in groundwater release arsenic from sediments, and organic matter helps fuel this reaction. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology have discovered that the type of natural organic matter (NOM) influences the rate and level of arsenic release.
Scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reveal how microorganisms could survive in rocks nestled thousands of feet beneath the ocean floor in the lower oceanic crust.
Researchers developed open-source software that can classify viruses in ways that previous tools could not.
Imagine a device that could swiftly analyze microbes in oceans and other aquatic environments, revealing the health of these organisms – too tiny to be seen by the naked eye – and their response to threats to their ecosystems. Rutgers researchers have created just such a tool, a portable device that could be used to assess microbes, screen for antibiotic-resistant bacteria and analyze algae that live in coral reefs. Their work is published in the journal Scientific Reports.