Like every other surface of your body, your mouth is teeming with a panoply of bacteria. It’s a thought most of us try to keep buried in the backs of our minds, but a new study shows that the tiny communities flourishing between your molars can be quite pretty. In a kaleidoscopic nightmare-fuel sort of way.
The 5,300-year-old natural mummy dubbed Ötzi the Iceman, discovered in 1991, is still teaching us things. A multidisciplinary team of scientists at European Academy of Bozen have studied Ötzi’s gut bacteria to learn more about early human migration patterns.
The winners of the 2015 FASEB BioArt Image and Video Competition have been announced, and they’re amazing. Chosen from a diverse cross-section of biology, they feature everything from the proteins that make up the Ebola virus through to roundworms feasting on bacteria. Here’s the best, most beautful science photos the…
I know breast milk is good and all, but when I became a mom I was kinda shocked at how much it was cited as a cure-all for anything that ailed my newborn. It turns out it’s not just because of the nutritional value. My baby’s immune system is communicating with mine THROUGH MY NIPPLES. And now that I understand how it…
One risk of sexual behavior is catching a disease from a partner. But sex partners trade a lot of other microorganisms as well, and some of them might actually have beneficial effects.
It’s a feeling I hope you never experience: You crack open an ice cold beer after a long day, take a sip expecting the familiar hoppy, bubbly goodness to hit your taste buds, and instead, you get a mouthful of flat, acrid sludge.
At Blood Falls, deep red iron-rich water oozes out of a glacier. It’s dramatic and unmissable on its own, but Blood Falls has always hinted at some greater hidden thing—that would be a vast subterranean network of briny waters, which scientists have just started to map.
Three years ago, I gently brushed fiber-tipped swabs against the surfaces of my tiny New York apartment. Microbes live everywhere, and I was gathering samples for genetic analysis — I wanted to identify my microscopic housemates.
Scientists have known for a while that gut bacteria can play a profound role in the weight of mice. Now we have a case report in humans that is not entirely surprising: A woman gained 36 pounds and became obese in the 16 months after a fecal transplant.
The results of a massive new DNA sequencing project on the New York City subway have just been published. And yup, there's a lot of bacteria on the subway—though we know most of it is harmless. What's really important, though, is what we don't know about it.
It's easy to forget how horrifying the effects of a vitamin deficiency can be. Each year, up to 500,000 children in the developing world go blind from lack of vitamin A, half of whom will then die within 12 months. The molecule that could save their lives is so well-studied and abundant, yet we haven't figured out how…
In the extreme world of bacteria, stunts such as living in hot springs or without oxygen are, like, totally unimpressive. But then there are bacteria that live off electricity, feeding directly on naked electrons. Even more surprisingly, scientists are finding that these bacteria are not even that rare.
Beer may be as old as civilization itself, but modern molecular biology could teach craft brewers some new tricks. Troels Prahl, a brewer and microbiologist with White Labs, is currently analyzing the full DNA sequences of yeast from 2500 batches of beer in hopes of finding the yeast genes that explain why a lager…
The SpaceX Dragon capsule that just left Earth for the International Space Station is carrying many an important item: a new laser communication system, coffee (which they just ran out of!), a planter for fresh produce, and billions and billions of microbes swabbed from dinosaur bones, sneakers, and spacecraft clean…
In the otherwise barren space 220 miles above Earth's surface, a capsule of life-sustaining oxygen and water orbits at 17,000 miles per hour. You might know this capsule as the International Space Station (ISS), currently home to six humans—and untold billions of bacteria. Microbes have always followed us to the…
This is the microbes' world—we just live in it. Throughout the history of Earth, microbes have radically reshaped life on the planet, from creating the very air we breath to wiping out almost all life on Earth. Don't underestimate the power of tiny, tiny microbes populating the Earth trillions of times over.
A week of calamity in landscapes reads! Did microbes cause the largest mass extinction in earth's history? Why is California sinking? What did we learn from the biggest earthquake in America fifty years ago? And, closer to home, how dangerous should a playground be?
Underground in places nobody likes to look, bacteria are doing terrible things to our sewage pipes. The concrete pipes that carry our waste are literally dissolving away, forcing engineers into a messy, expensive battle against tiny microbes.
Believe it or not, making ice is more complicated than just making water really cold. One thing that helps is bacteria. Yes, bacteria! In this captivatingly magic video, it takes just a second for Pseudomonas syringae to turn a whole jar of water into ice.
Energy-efficient buildings can be wonderful at keeping out drafts and keeping down heating bills. But the same air-tightness, unfortunately, is also perfect for trapping humid air where toxic mold can go to party.