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antibiotic resistance

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    How We Can Finally Start Outsmarting Single-Cell Attackers

    Imagine you are a bacterium, roughly 1/1,700,000 of your current size, residing in your own human body’s gut. You live in a diverse community, the “microbiome,” teeming with other bacteria: friendly neighbors who live next door, some ne’erdowells who occasionally vandalize the town, and your neighborhood cops who try to keep everything in check. The […]

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    Using Sharks’ Tricks to Prevent Lethal and Costly Infections

    Staph bacteria (red) forming a biofilmNational Science Foundation A common enemy befouls surgeons, plumbers, and sailors alike: slime. In each of their professions, they wage ceaseless war against biofouling—layers of living organisms that stick around exactly where we don’t want them.  Removing these various scum layers is a billion-dollar endeavor. Boats were among the first […]

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    The Great Bioterror Threat Is Modern Society

    E. coli that tested positive for NMD-1 growing in a petri dish. The sample came from a 67-year-old man in India. Nathan Reading via Flickr After the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent anthrax mailings, the United States government started taking the possibility of biological terrorism very seriously. It spent billions of dollars […]

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    The Curious Case of the Exploding Pig Farms

    This pig farm was devastated by an explosion due to foaming. Ross Muhlbauer, Iowa State University At first, the manure was just harmlessly foaming. Only later on did things get lethal.  Hog farms in the Midwest are great big barns sitting on top of great big pits filled with a great deal of awful-smelling manure. […]

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    Be Careful With the Powerful Medicine That Is Poop

    It has recently become clear that each one of us is more microbe than human—at least when it comes to the number of cells in our bodies. The bacteria that swarm through our guts, across our skin, and in every orifice you have outnumber our human cells by at least 10 to 1, though their […]