by Mechas — The cold and dark northern winter days evoke nostalgia for the comfort and warmth of sunshine. We may take the sun for granted or even shun its scorching rays in hot weather, but we seldom think about the complex process of building life from solar energy, the foundation of our existence.
by Roberto – Towards the end of last century, I read a short but provocative note entitled "Do bacteria sing?" With a title like that, who's not going to read it? As is usually the case, that reading led to more reading. I discovered several papers describing how some bacteria could be stimulated to form colonies more efficiently following sound stimulation.
by Roberto – In the early years of STC, Elio wrote two posts on multicellularity. Why? Because "we lovers of microbes delight in the complexity of multicellular bacteria such as the actinomycetes, the myxobacteria, and some cyanobacteria," said he. Why do I write about this again? I'll argue that those three bacterial types are only the tip of the iceberg, bacterial multicellularity is the norm.
by Roberto – How many living cells in my culture? There are times when optical densities will not suffice, when you will want to have an accurate assay that determines viable cell counts. It's no wonder one of the first things a student of microbiology learns is the age-old concept of using "colony forming units" (aka as CFU) as a viability assay.
by Roberto — Read the following two phrases: In the presence of lactose, E. coli induces beta–galactosidase in order to use the sugar. In the presence of lactose, E. coli induces beta–galactosidase and thereby uses the sugar. Which one would you use? Do you see the fundamental difference between them?
by John Collins — In the early 1960s, Werner Arber in Switzerland discovered that foreign DNA entering a bacterial cell could be cleaved on both strands by restriction endonucleases (restriction enzymes). This was part of the host's defense against viral attack. For this discovery he shared the 1978 Nobel Prize with Hamilton Smith and Daniel Nathans.
by Roberto — I could not help myself. As I begin another year of blogging at STC, I had to start with this recurring theme of elephants. It does have the feeling of a blogger's equivalent to a composer's ostinato (think obstinate) – a motif that persistently repeats. Oh, but what wonderfully alluring motif, E. coli and Elephants!
by Jéssica Gil Serna — The world of predatory bacteria is a true reflection of the David versus Goliath story. A small cell needs to kill its large prey to ensure its own survival. This is the case of bacteria of the genus Bdellovibrio whose importance has been highlighted in recent years as a possible alternative to defeat antibiotic-resistant superbugs.