Microbial Sciences

Explorations of the microbial sciences and a look at the many ways microbiology touches the world around us.
Articles are written by a volunteer team of ASM members.

These days, we can use social media to find just about anything we’d want—apartments, jobs, the latest viral videos…or even a virus-based treatment for bacterial infections.
Tuesday, 20 February 2018 13:52

Wells and Wellness Part I: The History of Cholera

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Cholera has long been a fatal disease, but it took the ingenuity of some truly remarkable scientists, Snow, Pacini, and Koch, to figure out the causes were dirty water, intestinal disease, and a microscopic curved bacterium called Vibrio.
Bacteria will do anything to survive, including poisoning themselves.
Written by Katherine J. Wozniak | Tn-seq allowed researchers in two recent mBio publications to screen entire bacterial genomes to identify genes involved in surviving during nutrient deprivation.
How do fungi interact with our gut microbiome? Advances in detection and characterization techniques are now allowing researchers to uncover the importance of the fungal members of the intestinal community
Interweaving human history and microbial science to examine an unusual resurgence of the Black Plague in Madagascar.
Why did a giant fungus inspire Stephen Jay Gould to quote Walt Whitman’s “I contain multitudes” way back in 1992?
Support your commensal and symbiotic gut bacteria while celebrating with family and friends this holiday season.
Monday, 13 November 2017 12:27

A promiscuous phage and its illiterate transcriptase

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Some bacteria have multiple copies of a single gene to rapidly adapt to its environment. How can life with limited genomes compete?
Saturday, 04 November 2017 23:45

Bacterial Dyes in Fashion

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Will there be a day not long in the future, when our clothing is colored by bacteria?  
The zombie fungus, Ophicordyceps unilateralis, hides deep within tropical rainforests and parasitizes upon ants from the Camponotini tribe. They turn ants into fungus-producing machines by manipulating gene expression that alter the ant’s sensory response, musculature, and nervous system.
Friday, 06 October 2017 16:54

Microbes for Minis

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Books that teach microbiology concepts to kids in an engaging and age appropriate way can be hard to come by. Here, I’ve compiled a list of educational and entertaining books about microbes for toddlers, elementary, and middle schoolers.
ASM is reintroducing its “Meet the Microbiologist” podcast--host Julie Wolf explains why she loves podcasts and describes the first two MtM episodes.
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 20:37

The Leaf-cutter Ant’s 50 Million Years of Farming

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Ants have learned to farm 50 million years ago, way before humans did. Their crop of choice? Fungus.
Friday, 15 September 2017 14:01

Autophagy, Colorectal Cancer, and Chemotherapy

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Scientists at U of Michigan discover how microbes may lower the effectiveness of chemotherapy for colorectal cancer.
Monday, 11 September 2017 15:08

Microbial Reefs of New York

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Exotic microbial structures are probably growing closer to home than you think. The microbial reefs of New York are one such example – what can you find near you?
Monday, 28 August 2017 15:55

Siderophores: A treatment target?

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Siderophores are essential for bacterial pathogenesis—does that make them a weakness for researchers to exploit?
Written by: Juliana Ansari | What microbes live in your probiotic drinks? We take a closer look at the microbes found inside common probiotic drinks such as kombucha, including Saccharomyces boulardii, Bacillus coagulans, and Lactobacillus plantarum cultured from probiotic beverages.
Written by: Lori R. Shapiro | Few of us harvest our own crops, milk our own cows, or ferment our own beverages. Our foods and drinks arrive at stores or farmers markets in an array of colorful shapes and sizes already neatly packaged, or served to us beautifully and fragrantly prepared at a restaurant. But, where did these fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and beverages come from?
What you should know about the microbes you interact with on the beach: some are good, and some downright terrifying.
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