Tag Archives: bacteria

Eat (y)our plastics!

Can plastic-degrading bacteria help us to get rid of all that plastic waste?

The world has a pretty heavy plastic problem. Since the invention of plastic in the late 19th century, more than 6.3 billion metric tons of plastic waste have been globally generated—almost one ton per person currently living on Earth. Even more shockingly, 80 percent of it has ended up in landfills, or worse, in the environment as litter,
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Bacteria in your frosted (snow) flakes!

If you’re from the Northeast or the Midwest (like I am) then you probably know that children enjoy playing in the snow. Snowball fights, snow angels, snow forts, and catching snowflakes on their tongues, children revel in the soft, downy, cold crystals. As scientists, our idea of fun has changed—following a loss of innocence, there
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Quorum sensing, microbes, and squids

Bobtail SquidAll microbes communicate with members of their own species and between species. This type of communication, called quorum sensing, allows bacteria to form rich social networks with their neighbors. Bacteria use quorum sensing to keep tabs on the density of members of their species in relation to the density of other species in order to perform fantastically synchronous events that they could never accomplish working in isolation–like the successful invasion of a host. And while pathogen-host interactions are incredibly intricate, beautifully structured, and close to my heart (figuratively) I’ll be focusing on a wonderfully evolved symbiotic relationship between a microbe and a squid: Vibrio fischeri and its life partner, the Hawaiian bobtail squid.
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