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Friday, October 19, 2018

Understanding bacteria’s slimy fortresses

For the first time, scientists have revealed the mechanics of how bacteria build up slimy masses, called biofilms, cell by cell. When encased in biofilms in the human body, bacteria are a thousand times less susceptible to antibiotics, making certain infections, such as pneumonia, difficult to treat and potentially lethal. In a new study, engineers and biologists tracked a single bacterial cell as it grew into a mature biofilm of 10,000 cells with an ordered architecture. The findings should help scientists learn more about bacterial behavior and open up new ways of attacking biofilms with drugs.

The fight against deforestation: Why are congolese farmers clearing forest?

Only a small share of Congolese villagers is the driving force behind most of the deforestation. They're not felling trees to feed their families, but to increase their quality of life. These findings indicate that international programs aiming to slow down tropical deforestation are not sufficiently taking local farmers into account.

New way to attack gastro bug

Researchers have discovered a potential way to create an antimicrobial drug that would stop one of the world’s most prevalent foodborne bugs causing gastroenteritis in humans.

From ancient fossils to future cars

Engineers are developing cheap, energy-efficient lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles from silicon in diatomaceous earth. The research could lead to the development of ultra-high capacity lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and portable electronics.

Archaeologists reveal new findings on the history of the early-Islamic caliphate palace Khirbat al-Minya

New excavations are underway to investigate the use of the palace Khirbat Al-Minya following the severe earthquake of 749 AD. New findings show that the building lost its palatial function as a result of the earthquake and was subsequently only used by craftsmen, traders, and sugar cane farmers.

Lonely ‘lefty’ snail seeks mate for love, and genetic study

Scientists are hoping to study the genetics of an ultra-rare garden snail are asking the public for its help in finding the lonely mollusc a mate. The snail’s unique qualities make it a one in a million find - but also impossible for it to mate with its more common counterparts. At first glance, the brown garden snail may look like any other but closer inspection of the snail’s shell reveals exactly why this creature is so special. While the shells of this common species spiral in a right-handed, clockwise direction – known as dextral – this snail is a sinistral, with a left-handed anti-clockwise spiralling shell. In essence, the ‘lefty’ snail is a mirror image of its other shell-dwelling friends.

Nanosciences: Genes on the rack

A novel nanotool has been developed that provides an easy means of characterizing the mechanical properties of biomolecules.

Paving the road to drug discovery

There are many disadvantages to using human cells in the initial stages of creating a new therapy. Scientists often have to test a large number of compounds in order to find one that is effective against a particular target. Human cells are costly to take care of and require a lot of time and specific conditions in order to grow. Now researchers say that fission yeast may be used to find the next cancer cure.

Windsurfing swans: An overlooked phenomenon

It is well-known that birds can fly, swim and walk, but now there is scientific evidence that birds also can windsurf. Researchers report that the Mute swan occasionally uses the wings as sails when moving quickly on water surfaces.

Turning biofuel waste into wealth in a single step

Lignin is a bulky chain of molecules found in wood and is usually discarded during biofuel production. But in a new method to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, the simple addition of formaldehyde could turn it into the main focus.

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