Posts Tagged 'E. coli'

Horseshoe Crabs And Their Blue Blood

From PopularMechanics –

Meghan Owings plucks a horseshoe crab out of a tank and bends its helmet-shaped shell in half to reveal a soft white membrane. Owings inserts a needle and draws a bit of blood. “See how blue it is,” she says, holding the syringe up to the light. It really is. The liquid shines cerulean in the tube. Their distinctive blue blood is used to detect dangerous Gram-negative bacteria such as E. coli in injectable drugs such as insulin, implantable medical devices such as knee replacements, and hospital instruments such as scalpels and IVs. Components of this crab blood have a unique and invaluable talent for finding infection, and that has driven up an insatiable demand. Every year the medical testing industry catches a half-million horseshoe crabs to sample their blood.

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Genetically Modified Bacteria Produce Gasoline

According to WSJ –

Escherichia coli can cause serious food poisoning but Korean scientists have come up with a more helpful use for the sometimes-deadly bacteria: producing gasoline. Using genetically modified E. coli to generate biofuel isn’t new.

GasPump-sU.K. scientists said in April they have developed a process under which the bacterium turns biomass into an oil that is almost identical to conventional diesel–a development that followed similar research by U.S. biotechnology firm LS9 in 2010. But the breakthrough this time is important because the reprogrammed E. coli can produce gasoline, a high-premium oil product that’s more expensive than diesel if the biofuel becomes commercially viable, according to Prof. Lee Sang-yup at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology. His team’s study was published in the international science journal Nature on Monday. “The significance of this breakthrough is that you don’t have to go through another process to crack the oil created by E. coli to produce gasoline. We have succeeded in converting glucose or waste biomass directly into gasoline,” Mr. Lee told The Wall Street Journal.

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Scientists May Have Found A Use For Cockroaches

Wired reports –

Cockroaches may be nasty bugs, but they could help fight even nastier ones. New research finds that the rudimentary brains of cockroaches and locusts teem with antimicrobial compounds that slay harmful E. coli and MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant staph bacterium. The work could lead to new compounds for fighting infectious diseases in humans. Extracts of ground-up brain and other nerve tissue from the American cockroach, Periplaneta americana, and desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria, killed more than 90 percent of a type of E. coli that causes meningitis, and also killed methicillin-resistant staph, microbiologist Simon Lee reported September 7 at the Society for General Microbiology meeting at the University of Nottingham in England.
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