This episode: A microbe that boosts plant growth needs to make storage polymers for both itself and the plant’s sake!
This episode: Light increases the growth even of some bacteria that don’t harvest its energy!
This episode: Newly discovered giant virus from a hot spring turns its amoeba hosts to stone!
This episode: Newly discovered CRISPR-inhibiting genes are found in many different bacterial groups!
This episode: Supercritical carbon dioxide and bacteria that can grow in it make a great combination for biofuel production!
This episode: A cancer-killing virus could help increase success of treatment of a form of eye cancer in children!
This episode: Mouse gut microbes, from mice or from human donors, can protect mice against arsenic toxicity!
This episode: Beneficial fungi found inside wild grain plants help wheat plants grow better with less water!
This episode: Bacteria that help nematodes prey on insects also help keep fungi from stealing their kills!
This episode: Phages eavesdrop on bacterial communications to attack at the perfect moment!
This episode: Enhancing a virus with magnetic nanoparticles and CRISPR-Cas gene editing abilities makes it a good vector for genetic therapies!
This episode: Purple phototrophic bacteria could use certain kinds of wastewater, along with electric current, to produce valuable products like hydrogen without much waste!
This episode: Fruit fly gut microbes can mediate non-genetic traits passed from parents to offspring!
This episode: Women who immigrated to the US from southeast Asia lost much of their gut microbiota diversity, resulting in a microbe community similar to the typical American!
This episode: Bacteria rid themselves of burdensome waste by ejecting it inside little pieces of their own cell, called minicells!
This episode: Dr. Klara Junker joins me to discuss her work on the predatory yeast Saccharomycopsis schoenii that can kill the serious pathogenic yeast Candida auris!
This episode: Engineering other organisms to fix nitrogen by combining the required enzyme components into giant proteins that then get cut into the regular-sized subunit components!
This episode: Intricate networks of tunnels in garnet gemstones seem to have come from tunneling microorganisms!
This episode: Combining all 16 of yeast’s chromosomes into one or two only impairs their growth slightly in the lab, but it prevents them from successful mating with wild yeasts!
This episode: Bringing a fungus that makes zombie flies into the lab makes a good model for studying microbial mind-control!
This episode: Bacteriophages with defenses against bacterial CRISPR defenses have to work together to succeed!
This episode: Some bacteria produce DNA-targeting toxins, which provokes a similar retaliation from other strains. Sometimes this hurts the provoker, but sometimes it is very helpful to them!
This episode: Roundworms and not-too-irritating bacteria quickly evolve a beneficial relationship when under threat from other bacterial pathogens! Download Episode (8 MB,8 minutes) Microbe of the episode: Siegesbeckia yellow vein betasatellite News item Show Notes Journal…
This episode: A new giant virus infecting marine algae brings its own genes related to fermentation, generating energy in the absence of oxygen!
This episode: Combining cells with light-absorbing nanomaterials can help tumor-targeting bacteria produce more anticancer compound!
This episode: Engineering yeast to control their metabolism using light and dark for the production of advanced biofuels and chemicals!
This episode: The bacterial immune system, CRISPR-Cas, can enhance gene transfer via transduction (phages carrying bacteria DNA) despite preventing it via conjugation!
This episode: Some bacteria that can cause pneumonia can prevent other bacteria from doing the same!
This episode: A harmless strain of bacteria on the skin produces a compound that can prevent tumors from forming!
This episode: A new giant virus has genes for a surprisingly complete system of protein synthesis!
This episode: A version of the microbial enzyme that fixes nitrogen can also convert carbon dioxide to methane!
This episode: Bacteria that contain tiny magnets can generate an electric current!
This episode: Giant viruses produce DNA-packing proteins that seem to have branched off from eukaryotes far back in evolutionary history!
This episode: Adding adapters to anti-cancer virus helps it avoid destruction by the body so it can target the tumors!
This episode: Very small ocean algae consume bacterial prey of a similar size to themselves by engulfing them only partially!
This episode: Protein bags of gas in bacteria could help make ultrasound imaging more versatile!
This episode: Phages may be passing through the barriers in our body all the time!
This episode: Very radiation-resistant bacteria can protect other, less-resistant microbes from some of the effects of chronic radiation!
This episode: Some bacteria can defend themselves from bacterial predators by producing cyanide!
This episode: A virus designed to target cancer could also help eliminate hidden HIV infections!
This episode: Some bacteria living around plants can become pathogenic just by gaining a few genes!
This episode: Fecal microbiota transplants work just as well when taken in pill form as when delivered through a tube!
This episode: Gut microbe transplants from wild mice protect lab mice from disease!
This episode: A simplified bacterial community in mouse guts doesn’t have much community structure, relative to other body areas!
This episode: Phage therapy can work very well when combined with an effective immune response from the host!
This episode: Paraprobiotics, or killed probiotic bacteria, are studied for health effects, but results and study design are questionable!
This episode: Figuring out the best way to study the spread of a fungus that kills an invasive tree-eating caterpillar pest!
This episode: Certain transposons, genetic elements that move around the genome on their own, have co-opted the bacterial immune system, CRISPR, to use for jumping to new hosts!
This episode: Unlike most animals, caterpillars don’t seem to have a resident gut microbe to help them in various ways!
This episode: How social bacteria societies function: by sharing enzyme packages with each other that can contain toxins that are deadly for rivals but not for friends!
This episode: A plasmid discovered in Antarctic archaea can create virus-like particles, membrane vesicles, and transfer itself to new hosts!
This episode: New type of secretion system discovered that bacteria use to stab amoeba predators to escape their digestion!
This episode: Phages bound to magnetic nanoparticles can be guided and pulled toward their target, penetrating biofilms to kill harmful microbes!
This episode: Gut microbes in mice break down plant foods and produce molecules that stimulate the immune system to resist influenza!
This episode: Learning about endosymbionts by comparing bacteria living inside eukaryotes to their free-living cousins!
This episode: Figuring out how mushrooms launch their spores out using a trick of water surface tension!
This episode: Hot spring archaea prefer to use elements that give them less energy even when more energetic options are available!
This episode: I talk with Dr. Walter Sandoval-Espinola, a researcher from Paraguay, now a postdoc at Harvard, about his discovery that biofuel-producing bacteria Clostridium beijerinckii can also transform CO2 and carbon monoxide into biofuels!
Happy New Year! This episode: Fungal endophytes transferred from healthy adult plant leaf litter help baby cacao plants resist disease!
This episode: Bacteria with various gene knockouts help roundworms live longer and with less disease!
This episode: Fungi modified to produce spider and scorpion toxins kill malaria-transmitting mosquitoes extra fast!
This episode: Filament network-forming organisms like fungi can transfer nutrients and moisture to bacteria in harsher conditions!
This episode: Bacteria that prey on other bacteria could help keep corals healthy! Thanks to Rory Welsh for his contribution.
This episode: Studying how Wolbachia bacteria spread through a mosquito population helps efforts to use them to prevent the spread of Dengue! Thanks to Tom Schmidt for his contribution.
This episode: Scientists study how fungi make interesting peptides using large proteins instead of ribosomes.
This episode: In mice genetically modified to have Alzheimer’s-like disease, giving probiotics reduced their degeneration!
This episode: Separate groups of bacteria can each thrive better when they take turns growing instead of competing!
This episode: Newly discovered giant viruses almost build their own replication machinery instead of using their host’s!
This episode: Fungi living in plants could protect them from ants that cut up their leaves to feed their own fungal gardens!
This episode: A stable community of only 7 bacteria around corn roots take on similar functions to the much more diverse soil community!
This episode: A stable community of only 7 bacteria around corn roots take on similar functions to the much more diverse soil community!
This episode: Microbes from obese mice seemed helpful in protecting other mice somewhat from an unhealthy lifestyle.
This episode: Tardigrades have an interesting way of surviving complete drying out: by producing proteins lacking a stable structure!
This episode: Viruses infecting cyanobacteria can produce proteins that actually help their host capture light better!
This episode: Roundworms in soil can carry with them bacteria they eat to grow new food, like farmers!
This episode: Even organisms as simple as viruses can communicate with each other!
This episode: Ancient microbes built underwater structures that look like sunken, ancient cities!
This episode: Filament-forming organisms help bacteria swim through soil and exchange genes with each other! Also, new feature: microbe of the episode!
This episode: Using predatory bacteria to extract valuable bioplastics from other bacteria!
This episode: Gut microbes can even affect formation/remodeling of bones!
This episode: Beneficial microbes defend roundworms against a pathogen and pressure it to evolve to cause less disease!
This episode: Tiny crustaceans eat paramecia, allowing viruses to infect algae inside them!
This episode: Fungus-eating flies transfer viruses that help make fungi less harmful to plants!
This episode: Probiotic bacteria prevent deadly infections in mice with serious burns!
This episode: Bacteria in finger millet roots create special killing traps for damaging fungi!
This episode: Tiny super-resistant animals, tardigrades, make proteins that can directly shield DNA from radiation!
This episode: Cyanide-producing bacteria help plants grow, not by harming pathogens but by freeing up nutrients!
This episode: Lichens, long known to be a partnership between fungi and algae, now discovered to have an important third member!
This episode: An interview with Dr. Nathan Cude, team leader at Novozymes BioAg Alliance, working on finding and bringing to market soil microbes that can help crops grow!
This episode: Great apes’ specific gut microbe communities have been with us for millions of years!
This episode: Some bacterial species use multiple strategies within a single population to deal with environmental challenges!
This episode: Polymer-coated bacteria make really good vaccines!
This episode: Bacteria in mosquito cells can block transmission of Zika virus!
This episode: Algae growing in Arctic snow make red pigments that heat up their surroundings!
This episode: Modifying mice’s microbial communities increased mouse survival before a transplantation was rejected by their immune system!
This episode: Viruses infecting photosynthetic bacteria could transfer immunity to other viruses between their hosts!
This episode: Vaccinating mice with heat-killed soil bacteria reduced their stressed behavior and inflammation!
This episode: Microbes with complementary abilities help each other grow and produce useful stuff from the air!
Microbes in tight spaces grow so much they can build up pressure and burst out!
Fungi control their cell’s growth and division with a protein from a virus, unlike all other kinds of eukaryote!
Some fungi change from making plants sick to being helpful to plants! How do plants react to them?
Bacteria with their own magnetic compass can also clean up and recover toxic but valuable elements!
This episode: Individual slime molds show the ability to learn about their environment!
Scientists build a battery out of microbes and electrodes that can store and release electricity repeatedly!
Bacteria in the gills of fish help break down their metabolic wastes before they reach toxic levels!
This episode: Newly discovered bacteria can break down especially long-lived type of plastic!
This episode: Worm parasites infecting brine shrimp help them survive better in arsenic-polluted environments!
Slime molds have special cells that capture and kill bacteria using traps made of DNA!
Insect gut microbes can be engineered to act as birth control, population control, or disease control for bugs!
This episode: Killing pathogens by attaching magnetotactic bacteria to them and then raising the heat with magnetic fields!
Spherical cyanobacterium Synechocystisacts like a tiny eyeball in sensing light, allowing cells to move closer to light sources!
Cyanobacteria in biocrusts produce pigments that heat their surroundings up to 10 degrees hotter!
Adding exotic elements to convert spore-forming bacteria into light-capturing cyborgs that convert carbon dioxide into useful chemicals!
This episode: Predatory bacteria have a particular protein that protects them from their own prey-damaging enzymes!
Proteins from gut bacteria seems to affect hunger and satiety in their (rodent) hosts!
Microscopic parasites of fish and worms actually came from jellyfish-like animals, after losing most of their genome!
This episode: Clostridium bacteria that infect potatoes can both kill competitors and tolerate oxygen, thanks to the pink compounds they produce!
Viruses domesticated by parasitoid wasps have transferred wasp genes to caterpillar victims, allowing them to survive deadly infections from other viruses! This means that Monarch butterflies are effectively naturally Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).