The superbug that experts have been dreading has just reached the US
This is very bad.
By Jacinta Bowler

A type of bacteria that’s resistant to the last antibiotic we have left against superbugs has made it to the US, and it signals something doctors have been dreading for years - the end for antibiotics.

The bacterium, a strain of Escherichia coli, was found in the urine of a Pennsylvania woman. The strain is resistant to the antibiotic colistin, which doctors have been using as an absolute last-resort for bacteria that are extensively drug-resistant.

We’ve talked a lot about the problem with antibiotic resistance before, but in a nutshell, the reason why antibiotics are so important is because the easiest way to destroy bacteria is to douse them in alcohol or high heat, but that’s not exactly something you really want to be doing when the bacteria are inside you.

Enter the gentler Plan B: antibiotics.


Dr Warhol’s Periodic Table of Microbes

51. Sb. Salinibacter

If you put so much salt on your food that your friends and family think you’re trying to kill yourself, you just may want to hang out with Salinibacter.

The organism was isolated from salt crystallization ponds in Spain. It cannot live below 15% salinity and prefers between 20% and 30% salt concentration. Remember those osmolarity labs with human red blood cells? We are at around 0.9%, these microbes enjoy 20X that amount!

Some people feel that it is important that Salinibacter is a halophilic bacterium rather than a halophilic Archaean. You may also. This is a relatively new genus of microbes, first described in 2002.

At a molecular level, these microbes have adaptations to cope and thrive with high salt levels. There are three recognized Salinibacter species: iranicus, luteus, and ruber. You can probably guess that ruber produces red pigmented colonies, luteus grows up orange, and iranicus was isolated in Iran.

If you like travelling to salt lakes, you could also find these in Tuz Lake in Turkey, the Wadi an Natrun depression in Egypt, and in the Peruvian Andes.

Salinibacter is a Gram negative very long rod, measuring around 0.5 microns wide by 15 to 60 microns long!

Cover your walls in Periodic Table of Microbes posters! You can’t do the Microbiome thing without one! https://www.etsy.com/no-en/shop/WarholScience.

Copyright 2016 Warhol.

thatguyoverthere312 asked:

Do you think it's possible to get degrees in quantum/theoretical physics, microbiology, engineering, and chemistry within 8 years? I'm split between that or neurology

you could do an undergrad in physics then a postgrad in an area of chemical engineering within 6 years possibly I guess but you’ll figure out your path when you’re started on it c:

A cattle farm in the Amazon, taken during documentation of man made forest fires to clear land for farming and cattle.

The meat industry has become a holocaust and poetic justice demands a cost for humans.

MAY 26, 2016

Antibiotic Resistant Superbug Just Hit the U.S. and Meat is a Culprit

We’ve hit the “end of the road” for antibiotics. A new study published Thursday in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology released it’s findings that there are now in the U.S. strains of bacteria that our last resort antibiotics can’t kill.

While over-prescribed antibiotics is an issue – this problem is the direct result of animal agriculture. 80% of all antibiotics in the US are fed to farm animals, not humans. These constant and low doses allow bacteria like E. coli, to evolve and become resistant to the same antibiotics we expect to treat humans with.

anonymous asked:

Do you believe in ghosts??? If so, what made you believe? If not, why don't you?

Hey Anon friend.  Ghosts, hmmmm.  Intellectually I say no.  I don’t believe in them and I don’t BUT when home alone and things go bump in the night or something falls off a shelf with no one around or you hear what sounds like footsteps coming towards you…………at those times, probably.

I don’t believe for the same reason I believe in evolution.  Too much schooling and understanding of Biology (I have a degree in MicroBiology) I believe that science can explain just about anything.

However, the side of me that believes in fantasy and magic wants ghosts to be real because then other things are believable like dragons.

Have a peaceful day/night  

First eukaryotes found without a normal cellular power supply
Microbe living in chinchilla guts jettisoned its mitochondria

You can’t survive without mitochondria, the organelles that power most human cells. Nor, researchers thought, can any other eukaryotes—the group of organisms we belong to along with other animals, plants, fungi, and various microscopic creatures. But a new study has identified the first eukaryote that has ditched its mitochondria, suggesting that our branch on the tree of life may be more versatile than researchers thought.

“This is a discovery of fundamental importance,” says evolutionary biologist Eugene Koonin of the National Center for Biotechnology Information in Bethesda, Maryland, who wasn’t connected to the study. “We now know that eukaryotes can live happily without any remnant of the mitochondria.”

Continue Reading.

Microbiology Final [051616]

It’s the morning of the final and I’m in the library for one last review. 

Happy Finals! 

Stuff in my Office

Dr Warhol’s Periodic Table of Microbes

1923 color lithograph. Not a lot of genus and species names, but you can recognize the microbes by the disease. Except for #10, which  is probably Haemophilus influenzae. Way back then, they cultured a lot of B (or H) influenzae from patients with the flu, and the Great Influenzae Pandemic was only about 5 years prior.


My lab group got the opportunity to take some scanning electron microscopy (SEM) photos of the termite gut protists we are studying!

Here are some comparisons of DIC microscopy and SEM. Click on the photos for the description! 

SEM involves shooting electrons at a sample fixed with osmium tetroxide and covered in a layer of thin metal. Since the wavelength of electrons is smaller than that of light, SEM can pick up on finer details than light microscopy. Check out all those flagella- some of which are symbiotic bacteria! 

White House stumps up millions to probe world’s microbiomes
A huge initiative aims to get to the bottom of the role bacteria and other microbes play in your body and on our planet, hoping to improve the health of all
By Sally Adee

The White House is taking an interest in your gut. Today it has announced its National Microbiome Initiative, a half-billion dollar effort to understand microbiomes – the complex communities of bacteria, fungi and other microbes that live on or in everything from soil and the oceans, to our faces and intestines.

Disruptions to our own microbial communities have been implicated in a host of diseases, including obesity, autism, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel disease and mental health.

But the microbiome affects the environment too. Imbalances in microbial communities can lead to zones of low oxygen in our oceans – killing off fish – while agricultural depletion of bacteria can lead to barren soils.

“We need the means to change dysfunctional microbiomes and make them functional – whether it’s the human gut or the ocean,” says Jo Handelsman, the associate director for science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Continue Reading.

H5N1 | h.arderwiek

H5N1 avian influenza virus particles, coloured transmission electron micrograph (TEM). Each virus particle consists of ribonucleic acid (RNA), surrounded by a nucleocapsid and a lipid envelope (green). The natural hosts of this virus are wild birds, which show few symptoms. However, infected domestic birds suffer a 90-100% mortality rate. Humans that have contact with infected birds can become infected. The first such infection was identified in South-East Asia in 1997, and the virus has steadily spread across the world, with an outbreak in a poultry farm in the UK in 2007. There are fears that the virus may mutate into a human-transmissible form, which could lead to millions of deaths worldwide. Magnification: x670,000 when printed 10cm wide.

Made with Flickr
Six facts you didn’t know about yeast

Yeasts are single-celled microscopic eukaryotic organisms. They share many of thecellular processes and central biological pathways with higher eukaryotes, including humans. Studies on yeasts have provided insights into the function of specific genes and proteins, cell biology, central metabolism and basic biological processes and so are important model organisms. We decided to delve deeper into the fascinating world of yeast biology and discovered six essential facts about yeast.

  1. Yeasts were first domesticated by humans over 10,000 years ago harnessing its ability to ferment sugars into alcohol.
  2. Yeasts are essential for generation of some of our favourite consumer products: bread, beer, wine, and whisky.
  3. Yeastsare invaluable in industrial biotechnology; microbial factories synthesising important, commercially valuable pharmaceuticals and chemicals.
  4. Yeasts have evolved to live on and in other living species contributing to global microbiome diversity.
  5. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae was the first eukaryotic genome to be sequenced and is an important model organism for studying cell biology and diseases of higher eukaryotes, including cancer.
  6. Some yeasts have evolved as pathogens and on a global scale cause devastating diseases in humans, animals, birds, fish, amphibians and plants.

Image credit: Dry yeast by Ranveig. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Exciting news microbe nerds! From the Atlantic: “Today, the White House is announcing the launch of the National Microbiome Initiative (NMI)—an ambitious plan to better understand the microbes that live in humans, other animals, crops, soils, oceans, and more…Essentially, America has decided to point half a billion microscopes at the planet, and look through them.”

Way to go President Obama! I can’t wait to see the awesome research that comes out of this initiative!

Read more at the Atlantic: White House Launches the National Microbiome Initiative

Image credit: whitehouse.gov