Kenny introduces Microbial Highlights, a new FTDM series exploring microbial diversity featuring unique artwork by Steffen Poltak. Notorious for ruining alcoholic beverages made from apples since Roman times, Zymomonas mobilis is now gaining momentum in the Biotch industry as an alternative to yeast for biofuel production. Read on to learn more about "cider sickness" and how may just be the solution biofuel needs.Read More
An international team led by researchers at Berkeley published the first detailed photos of ultra-small bacteria that push the boundaries of membrane-bound life and change our view of the microbial world. How did the researchers accomplish such a feat and just how small is ultra-small? Read on to learn more!Read More
Bacterial cells outnumber your own humans cells ten to one. Thanks to advances in sequencing technology reducing costs, you can finally get to know these silent co-inhabitants. In the first installment of the let's experiment series, Kenny lays out his experiment to get to know his microbiota and examine how his inhabitants respond to a drastic change in diet and probiotic use.Read More
Does size matter? Evolution says yes.
Despite the importance, observing evolution is difficult. Working with microbes makes it easier but people cannot easily relate to microbes. However, we can all relate to sex. In the spirit of Father’s day, let’s talk about the evolution of male genitalia and how we can thank society for shaping the male member into what it is today.Read More
What is life like in a microbial pig-pile? In a word, crowded. In fact, life in nature is typically crowded and this fact is something scientists and biologists wrestle with all the time even in medical science. For example, if microbes that cause disease or live in and on our bodies predominantly live in crowded communities called biofilms, are these microbes primarily adapting to us or each other? Perhaps we can learn something new with a unique perspective.Read More
Would you eat human feces for a hundred dollars? How about if it could treat your chronic diarrhea?
Much to our dismay, our dogs sometimes eat poop but is this always a bad thing? Here, I discuss the possibility that this practice could be an innovative treatment similar to a fecal transplant used to treat chronic diarrhea in humans rather than just a gross habit.
Crazy or possible? You be the judge.
Would you share your ice cream cone with your favorite furry friend? Do you know where that mouth has been? Many pet-owners believe that their dog's mouth is cleaner than their own. Using my knowledge of microbiology and human microbiome research, I break down the reasons why people believe this myth and determine if we should be sharing our ice creams with our pet's.Read More
FOX’s “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson premiered this past Sunday. During the show, pioneering microbes were credited with the invention of sex. Here, I cover some of the theory behind this statement and explain why the evolution of sex is pretty remarkable.Read More
The adaptive immune response in humans depends on a complex network of organs, tissues, cells, and different genes that work together to protect us from current and future infections. Could microbes with only a single cell develop an adaptive immune response system? They have with the help of CRISPRs.Read More
As someone interested in studying adaptation, why would sugar water be one of my most useful tools of the trade? This simple nutrient source enables me to study how populations of bacteria change over time.Read More