Microbiology

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Cutting risk of death

Machine learning rapidly detects sepsis

Researchers used artificial intelligence to identify sets of genes that predict whether a patient will acquire severe sepsis.

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Pathogen analysis

Unlocking epidemic prevention with affordable genome sequencing

A worldwide consortium aims to equip researchers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) with cheap and accessible methods for sequencing large collections of bacterial pathogens.

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Sponsored • Mass spectrometry

Shedding light on the mysteries of rare microbial infections with MALDI-TOF MS

The Zybio EXS2600 mass spectrometry system enables rapid microbial identification, including bacteria and fungi. With an advanced pre-filled sample kit, user-friendly software and a comprehensive…

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Microbiology

Using 3D printing technique to create biofilms

Researchers at the University of Rochester, and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands recently developed a 3D printing technique to engineer and study biofilms—three-dimensional…

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Sharper than ever

High-res image of bacterial bumps gives clues to antibiotic resistance

The sharpest images ever of living bacteria have been recorded by researchers at University College London, revealing the complex architecture of the protective layer that surrounds many bacteria and…

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Resistance mechanism discovered

How staphylococci protect themselves against antibiotics

The skin bacterium Staphylococcus aureus often develops antibiotic resistance. It can then cause infections that are difficult to treat. Researchers at the University of Bonn have uncovered an…

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Altered bacterial function

Accumulation of drugs in the gut may reduce their effectiveness

Common medications can accumulate in gut bacteria, a new study has found, altering bacterial function and potentially reducing the medications’ effectiveness. These interactions - seen for many drugs including those used to treat depression, diabetes, and asthma - could help researchers to better understand how drug effectiveness and side-effects differ between individuals. The study is…

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Population bottlenecks

Random effects make it difficult to optimise antibiotic therapy

Antibiotic-resistant pathogens have become one of the greatest threats to public health. The basic mechanisms of resistance evolution have been well studied experimentally and are an important research field at Kiel University. An important factor in this context, but one that has received little attention so far, is the population size of the respective pathogen. Over the course of an infection…

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M.O. of Darobactin unveiled

Novel antibiotic deceives bacteria through mimicry

An increasing number of bacterial pathogens are resistant to antibiotics. And the most dangerous pathogens share a common feature: a double membrane that is difficult to penetrate. Even when antibiotic agents are able to break into this shell, the bacteria just pump them right out again. But a recently discovered compound called Darobactin manages to circumvent these protective measures and kill…

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Bioorganic chemistry

Why M. tuberculosis is so resistant to drugs and immune defenses

A consortium of researchers from Russia, Belarus, Japan, Germany and France led by the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology have uncovered the way in which Mycobacterium tuberculosis survives in iron-deficient conditions by utilizing rubredoxin B, a protein from a rubredoxin family that play an important role in adaptation to changing environmental conditions.

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Protection from bacteria, fungi, viruses

Antimicrobial technologies – how do they work?

Antimicrobial technologies such as coatings and textiles containing silver and copper are helping people during the Covid-19 pandemic by ensuring that whatever they touch, whether that is a door handle or their own mask, is free from live SARS-CoV-2 particles. But how exactly do these antimicrobial technologies work? How can a silver, copper or even polymeric coating kill microorganisms such as…

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SARS-CoV-2 vs the proteome

Researchers explore coronavirus interactions with cells

Scientists from Würzburg and the US have charted the first global atlas of direct interactions between SARS-CoV-2 RNA and human host cells. This may provide a starting point for novel treatments. SARS-CoV-2 infections pose a global threat to human health and a formidable research challenge. One of the most urgent tasks is to gain a detailed understanding of the molecular interactions between the…

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Mass spectrometry-based metabolomics

A new technique to understand metabolic pathways

Mass spectrometry-based metabolomics has emerged as a powerful tool to help study chemical ecology. Recent advances in the technique make it possible to study microbial interactions from complex communities. Laia Castaño-Espriu outlined the role and benefits of MS in this context in her presentation ‘Analysis of microbial ecology by mass spectrometry-based metabolomics techniques’, at the…

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Helpful housemates

Our gut microbiome could unlock the secret to healthy ageing

Bacteria and other microorganisms in the digestive tract are linked with dozens of health conditions including high blood pressure, high blood lipids, and body mass index (BMI) according to research presented at ESC Congress 2020. “Our study indicates that microbiota might have an important role in maintaining health and could help us develop novel treatments,” said study author Dr. Hilde…

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Microbiome study

Do microscope eyepieces pose an infection risk?

Light microscope for viewing microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi are commonly found in scientific laboratories. A research team from Furtwangen University, the University of Tübingen and Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH, Aalen, examined more closely their role as potential vectors of infectious pathogens. „Very little was known about this until now," explains the head of the…

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Microbiological big data analysis

Building a 'Microbiome Search Engine'

Big data makes big promises when it comes to providing insights into human behavior and health. The problem is how to harness the information it provides in an efficient manner. An international team of researchers has proposed a microbiome search-based method, via Microbiome Search Engine (MSE), to analyze the wealth of available health data to detect and diagnose human diseases. They published…

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Dutch experts discuss

On the implications of the coronavirus

The coronavirus last week reached the Netherlands and began to spread around the country. How has the Dutch population reacted? What is a useful frame of reference for this situation? And what are the legal guidelines for dealing with the outbreak? Four researchers from the University of Amsterdam – a clinical microbiologist, an anthropologist, a social scientist and a health lawyer – explain…

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Rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance

How P. aeruginosa becomes resistant during CF treatment

Antibiotic-resistant pathogens pose one of the greatest threats to public health worldwide. In the near future, harmless bacterial infections may no longer be treatable and may again become the most common non-natural cause of death. At the same time, the available repertoire of antibacterial agents is becoming increasingly smaller as resistance rates rise.

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Sponsored • Minimising infection risk

Drying in endoscope reprocessing: Essential to patient safety

In practice, the drying of the endoscope is often underestimated and therefore a possible pitfall for hygiene and reprocessing steps. As the importance of endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP) procedures and their impact on patients’ lives remains unwavering, the medical community is continuously looking for ways to improve this field of expertise. What better way to learn more…

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Breakthrough against C. diff

New Clostridioides difficile vaccine on the horizon

Researchers at the University of Exeter first identified a gene in the 'hospital bug' Clostridioides difficile responsible for producing a protein that aids in binding the bacteria to the gut of its victims. In collaboration with researchers at Paris-SUD University, they then showed that mice vaccinated with this protein generated specific antibodies to the protein – and that C. diff that did…

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Influential genes

Our microbiome is shaped by genetic differences in the immune system

Genetic differences in the immune system shape the collections of bacteria that colonize the digestive system, according to new research by scientists at the University of Chicago. In carefully controlled experiments using germ-free mice populated with microbes from conventionally raised mice, the researchers showed that while the makeup of the microbial input largely determined the resulting…

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