bacteria

Reprogramming bacteria instead of killing them could be the answer to antibiotic resistance

Reprogramming bacteria instead of killing them could be the answer to antibiotic resistance

Changing someone’s genetic programming is easier than you might think. While techniques for altering DNA at the molecular level are becoming more widely used, it’s also possible to simply turn genes on or off without permanently changing the underlying genetic material. That means we can affect the genetic instructions that get sent to an organism’s body by changing its environment or with drugs.

Bacteria’s secret weapons in defeating antibiotics discovered

Bacteria’s secret weapons in defeating antibiotics discovered

Bacteria possess even more tools to protect themselves from antibiotics than previously thought, according to our latest research. The ability of microbes to avoid death at the hands of antibiotics is a worldwide concern. Our study illustrates how bacteria directly combat the presence of antibiotics using newly identified defence systems.

How we can use light to fight bacteria

How we can use light to fight bacteria

During the early part of the last century, dyes were frequently used to disinfect wounds. During the first world war, thousands of lives were saved by “flavine therapy” which used dyes such as Brilliant Green and Acriflavine. The dyes were applied to bullet or shrapnel wounds to kill the bacteria at the site of the injury – for example, bacteria which causes gas gangrene. But now these dyes are being resurrected to treat bacterial infections, but with a new twist: light.

How the brain helps the body fight bacteria

How the brain helps the body fight bacteria

The brain may not only control our thoughts and basic physical functions. Recent studies indicate that it also controls the way our body responds to the threat of bacterial infections. It does this by boosting the production of a protective molecule called PCTR1 that helps white blood cells kill the invading bacteria.

Can we harness bacteria to help clean up future oil spills?

Can we harness bacteria to help clean up future oil spills?

In 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil spill released an estimated 4.2 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico – the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. The spill caused widespread damage to marine species, fisheries and ecosystems stretching from tidal marshes to the deep ocean floor.

Explainer: is it really OK to eat food that’s fallen on the floor?

Explainer: is it really OK to eat food that’s fallen on the floor?

When you drop a piece of food on the floor, is it really OK to eat if you pick up within five seconds? This urban food myth contends that if food spends just a few seconds on the floor, dirt and germs won’t have much of a chance to contaminate it. Research in my lab has focused on how food and food contact surfaces become contaminated, and we’ve done some work on this particular piece of wisdom.

Is double-dipping a food safety problem or just a nasty habit?

Is double-dipping a food safety problem or just a nasty habit?

What do you do when you are left with half a chip in your hand after dipping? Admit it, you’ve wondered whether it’s OK to double dip the chip. Maybe you’re the sort who dips their chip only once. Maybe you look around the room before loading your half-eaten chip with a bit more dip, hoping that no one will notice.